Saturday, March 19, 2011
I just finished an absolute gem of a book called Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. I'm not especially interested in science and knew nothing about the Curies before reading this book, but nevertheless I highly recommend it. Part work of art, part picture book for adults, every page was a joy to linger over. If you're looking for a hard hitting biography with loads of intimate details or a truly scientific primer, this is not the book for you. If, however, you appreciate creative expression, want to read something completely unlike other biographies out there, and treasure the books in your personal library - then I urge you to pick up this book.
Through it's picture book format, you'll learn a lot about the Curie's research on radiation, their discoveries of radium and polonium, and the effects of radiation on the human body (given the heartbreaking recent events in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami that cut power to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant causing increased radiation levels in the area - it is an interesting time to have read this book). You'll also learn much about the Curie's personal lives and the tabloid-worthy affairs of Marie - it's juicy! Even the typeface used throughout the book was created by the author an has a very interesting history (explained at the very end of the book), and the book itself glows in the dark (an homage to radium)! This is one piece of literary work that really has it all. Just check out some of these pages: