Strange Frequencies by Peter Bebergal

Strange Frequencies by Peter Bebergal

I picked up Strange Frequencies for RIP's Peril of the Real. When it comes to fiction, I stay in the mystery aisles most of the time. Nonfiction, however, can be about anything. I can't say that I was really interested in the intersection of technology and the supernatural, but I can find most topics interesting and learn fascinating bits and pieces, especially when the writer/speaker presents it well. Bebergal covers a wide variety of topics, from golems to seances to electronic voice phenomena and he does it from the view of maybe a hopeful skeptic. He researches, but he also experiments. He talks about the history around certain devices or myths and contacts, when possible, experts. He also goes to the seance, tags along with the photographer, builds a Tesla radio, uses his dad's old tape recorder. My one complaint is that it jumps from topic to topic. I would have liked there to be more to it, not just...
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Coronavirus: A Book for Children by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson, and Nia Roberts

Coronavirus: A Book for Children by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson, and Nia Roberts

Coronavirus: A Book for Children is free from Nosy Crow publishing to download or read-online. The book answers key questions in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds: • What is the coronavirus?• How do you catch the coronavirus?• What happens if you catch the coronavirus?• Why are people worried about catching the coronavirus?• Is there a cure for the coronavirus?• Why are some places we normally go to closed?• What can I do to help?• What’s going to happen next? The facts are presented in a clear, easy to understand way, even while admitting that we don't know everything about the new illness yet. It's calm and concise. It talks about how we can catch the virus and what happens if we do, but isn't scary about it. The illustrations are colorful and inclusive. We learn why it's best to stay home right now, but acknowledges we, children and adults, can be worried and bored and angry and that's...
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Accessory to War by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang

Accessory to War by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang

My non-fiction reading really has little rhyme or reason to it. I pick up books that grab my attention or that I've seen other people love. I have to admit I don't really have a huge interest in space exploration or military history, but Neil deGrasse Tyson is a big name and I've seen a show or two on tv and at a planetarium that he's hosted, which is why I picked up Accessory to War. At times Accessory to War is just fascinating. For me, that was mostly when it was discussing the history of astrophysics and how its beginnings affected armies and explorers and merchants. I also found the parts about how current countries approach space interesting. It's well-written. It doesn't talk down to those of us who don't know much, but it also wasn't over my head. It was conversational and easy to follow. Unfortunately, there were other parts that were dry and boring. Lists of treaties...
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American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson

I have to thank Katie at Doing Dewey and her Nonfiction Reading Challenge for encouraging me to read more non-fiction this year. This is the 9th non-fiction book I've read this year, which is the most since Amber was little and I'd read aloud to her. We used to read a lot of animal, science, and history books but, in general, I don't tend to pick them up on my own, so it's been nice to do a bit of learning with my reading lately. American Eden is the story of David Hosack (August 31, 1769 – December 22, 1835), a botanist and doctor in New York City in the late 18th - early 19th centuries. I admit, I was drawn to the book at first because he was the doctor at the duel between Hamilton and Burr. (I have not seen Hamilton the musical yet, but it's coming to Pittsburgh in January if anyone wants to buy me tickets.) Turns out he...
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The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan

I was actually at Lakeside Chautauqua on Lake Erie for a week earlier this summer. I've lived in Ohio most of my life and even if we don't go up to Lake Erie often, it's still part of our state identity, if that makes sense, which is why The Death and Life of the Great Lakes caught my attention. It's an interesting book and an easy read, even for a non-history, non-science girl like me. We all know that humans affect the environment, but found it really interesting how a lot of the problems the lakes experience now can really be traced back to the 1800s when the lakes were first opened to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chicago River and onto the Mississippi. Egan does a wonderful job of combining history and science in relating all the lakes have been through and why. He also includes individual's stories, about what the lake was like when they were young versus today,...
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I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

In general, microbes are not something I spend much time thinking about. I wash my hands to hopefully keep away germs, take my probiotic pill, and that's about it. I'm not one of those people who carry around a can of Lysol, which apparently can be a good thing. "So, here’s the irony: toilets that are cleaned too often are more likely to be covered in faecal bacteria." I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong made me think about the vast array of microbes in our world - helpful, harmful, and ones that can be both or neither. Yong touches on the evolution of microbes; the history of microbiology; symbiotic relationships among microbes; symbiosis between microbes and higher organisms; dysbiosis (unbalanced microbiomes that harm their hosts); how scientists study and identify microbiomes; research studies aimed at seeding hospitals and buildings with 'good microbes'; and much more. He writes in an entertaining, easy to understand way. He makes microbes fun. My family is probably...
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