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Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries
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Book Club - What We're Reading > Death By Black Hole: 22nd July - 5th August. Discussion Thread

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message 1: by Georgia (last edited Jul 22, 2014 04:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Georgia | 19 comments Mod
The people have spoken!

For the next two weeks we'll be reading Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson. To get you in the mood before you go off to the library/shop/amazon, here's a video of deGrasse Tyson talking about the experience of falling into a black hole.

Death by Black Hole And Other Cosmic Quandaries is a collection of essays deGrasse Tyson wrote for the magazine Natural History, and is divided into seven sections: The Nature of Knowledge, The Knowledge of Nature, Ways and Means of Nature, The Meaning of Life, When the Universe Turns Bad, Science and Culture, and Science and God.


message 2: by Charles Rene (new)

Charles Rene Are we starting the two weeks now or are we going to give some time for people to get their books in the mail if they ordered them online?


Georgia | 19 comments Mod
How much time would you suggest? The deadlines aren't that rigid, anyway, it's just there to give us some sort of time line.

Discussion threads won't close, so anyone can join in anytime. We can always extend the reading time if two weeks is impractical for many people.


message 4: by Charles Rene (new)

Charles Rene Oh okay, well if it's kind of indefinite then I guess it doesn't matter. I was just wondering.


Georgia | 19 comments Mod
Sure thing :)


message 6: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth O'hara | 2 comments Yay! Thanks for the video link; I am excited to start reading! (Must try not to skip to Chapter 33... :P)
You're doing a great job with all the set-up stuff, thanks again!


Georgia | 19 comments Mod
Oh, thank you! I'm just as excited, can't wait to see some discussions going in the next few weeks :)


John (jgibson16) | 2 comments I read this book a while ago, and I would just like to point out that this really is a collection of essays. Most have little to do with each other. Moreover, there aren't that many, so if you read two or three essays a night you should finish with plenty of time.


Georgia | 19 comments Mod
John wrote: "I read this book a while ago, and I would just like to point out that this really is a collection of essays. Most have little to do with each other. Moreover, there aren't that many, so if you read..."

I'm actually enjoying the essay format, it makes dipping in and out of the book on public transport a lot more convenient! It does break up the flow of the book a bit, though. It gets slightly repetitive.


I'm also thoroughly enjoying how deGrasse Tyson manages to always tie everyday, relatable experiences as metaphors into his explanations of some complicated cosmic phenomenon. As someone whose field of study is firmly biology, physics fascinates me but completely boggles my mind.

I keep having to put the book down for a few seconds after reading a particularly breathtaking paragraph and just try absorb the almost unimaginable.


message 10: by John (new) - rated it 3 stars

John (jgibson16) | 2 comments Georgia wrote: "John wrote: "I read this book a while ago, and I would just like to point out that this really is a collection of essays. Most have little to do with each other. Moreover, there aren't that many, s..."

I, personally, loved all the physics discussion present in the book, but I thought that Tyson talked about himself a little bit too much. For example, the whole section about the stars in the movie Titanic was a bit boring to read about. Yes, I know that the general public is generally ignorant about advanced scientific topics and that most people don't care about scientific accuracy; I came here for astrophysics, not a rant about Hollywood portrayals of science. However, all in all, I thought these were fantastic essays (for the most part), even if their order and grouping isn't the best it could be.


message 11: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg (Airlinn93) I really appreciated the bits of humor and the metaphors that Tyson includes; for someone like me whose strong point happens to lie in areas other than astrophysics, I think it made this book especially fun to read.

As others had mentioned, I did notice some parts were a bit repetitive. However, I don't think it detracted from the overall experience very much.


Georgia | 19 comments Mod
Greg wrote: "I really appreciated the bits of humor and the metaphors that Tyson includes...."

So did I, it really made the book very enjoyable to read.

John wrote: "...the whole section about the stars in the movie Titanic was a bit boring to read about..."

I suppose you can really see there that it was an essay in a magazine, and that topic wold appeal to a broader range of people that might be reading the magazine than might buy a book about astrophysics.


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