Publication Date: July 9, 2013
The author, Marc Read, gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
In his introduction to New Stars for Old, Read pitches the human element of science to the reader. The people who make the discoveries are people who live their lives and take a place of importance in our history for their work, that they do as they worry about bills, family and the foibles of life. He also makes the point that science evolves at pace with the human story.
As vignettes in history, New Stars for Old is a success. The author presents 20 very readable stories for a modern audience. Savvy readers will take away the “themes” as they read each story. Each story has a specific purpose and aim that is clearly laid out within the narrative. Read has possibly found the perfect way to convey principles and ideas to a less than the scientific audience (like this reader). All of the stories are unique in style and perspective. As a reader who has read much of the scope of fiction, this sort of novel is something not seen before. Read includes notes after each chapter with pertinent historical facts regarding the figure highlighted as well as ancillary figures in the story.
Read’s writing style is very clean. He uses modern euphemisms and endearments in his dialogue but keeps the action and setting in keeping with the time period in which the characters live. One of the more unique and interesting stories illustrates ambition and stars Christopher Columbus appealing to the government for grant funding. This snippet in imagined history is interesting, educational and fun to read.
Read’s goal seems to be to educate the masses and as such this novel will be a fantastic success. While I wouldn’t label New Stars for Old a must-read it is certainly interesting and well worth the time. These are quick and easy stories that will make a good break while waiting in line at the bank or a doctor’s office. New Stars for Old is a very adaptable read and one that is ideal for readers on the go. If you pick this one up, let me know what you think. I would be especially interested to hear what my followers in scientific fields think.
Marc Read lives in England where he teaches philosophy and physics. New Stars for Old is his first book and no doubt a valuable resource to his students.
If New Stars for Old: Stories from the History of Astronomy by Marc Read sounds like a book for you, read an excerpt and buy on