Title: Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking (check it out on Goodreads)
Genre: science, physics, informative
My rating: 5/5
The holiday season is upon us in the States. There’s Thanksgiving to plan (the bird is in the freezer), Christmas gifts to buy for my daughter, and coquito to be drunk. Unrelated in most ways to this post, I highly recommend you try coquito sometime in your life, preferably homemade and during the winter months.
I love spending time with my daughter through the holidays; there’s something precious about experiencing traditional activities through the eyes of a child. Of course, this season also chips away at my time for reading, writing, reflecting, and basically everything but cooking and money-making.
But less time doesn’t mean no time, and I still have quite a few posts planned for y’all, even though they’ll appear more sparsely than they did in the golden month of October.
This week I read Stephen Hawking’s posthumously published Brief Answers to the Big Questions. I would have gone with his classic, but alas, the latter wasn’t in stock at my local library and I already have enough books to fill a fifth bookshelf once I get around to buying one.
I didn’t miss a good read, though, with Brief Answers to the Big Questions. Hawking provides intriguing answers to questions ranging from “Is there a god?” to “Is time travel possible?” to “Are we alone in the universe?”
One of my favorite aspects of Hawking’s work is that he makes science and theoretical physics accessible to non-scientifics–all us in the back. Of course, this is self-mockery; Hawking approaches each question with fervor and humility, and he never condescends toward the reader.
Instead, he gives both the base, superficial answer coupled with more in-depth theory, all written in such a way as to grab our attention and excite our sense of curiosity and adventure.
At the end of the book, man oh man I was ready to face the stars and explore the outer reaches of the cosmos and beyond. And that feeling is precisely what Hawking wanted to establish or renew for his reader. Brilliant.
I’d recommend this book for anyone who can understand the language. Ok, I get that might sound a bit silly. Duh. What I mean is, while not saying this is YA, which to me sometimes indicates a childish feel, I would happily encourage my daughter to read this book when she’s reached that point in her teens where everyone and their grandmother asks her what she plans to do after high school. Who knows, Hawking might replace the dread of uncertainty with a burning excitement of a thousand possibilities.
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