Notes from Deep Time : A Journey Through Our Past and Future Worlds
Review from Book Depository:
The story of the Earth is written into our landscape: it's there in the curves of hills, the colours of stone, surprising eruptions of vegetation. Wanting a fresh perspective on her own life, the writer Helen Gordon set out to read that epic narrative.
Her odyssey takes her from the secret fossils of London to the 3-billion-year-old rocks of the Scottish Highlands, and from a state-of-the-art earthquake monitoring system in California to one of the world's most dangerous volcanic complexes, hidden beneath the green hills of Naples. At every step, she finds that the apparently solid ground beneath our feet isn't quite as it seems.
Join her to meet the unusual characters who are piecing this vast story together. Grapple with the theory that explains how it all works - plate tectonics, a break - through as significant as evolution or quantum physics but much younger than either, with many secrets still to reveal. And look ahead to the worlds to come, when only our traces will remain, enigmas for those who follow us. 'In deep time,' Gordon finds, 'everything is provisional. Bones become rock. Sands become mountains. Oceans become cities.' And life goes on.
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Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
I’m always inspired – both as a writer and an observer – by Kathleen Jamie’s essay collection, Findings. Whether writing about Highland salmon, the mid-summer solstice or the Surgeon’s Hall in Edinburgh, she makes the familiar strange, and the strange comprehensible – and does so with kindness, wit and beauty. She teaches us to look more carefully and distils that looking into lines of prose that resonate long after the book has been closed.
Review From Book Depository:
It's surprising what you can find by simply stepping out to look. Award-winning poet Kathleen Jamie has an eye and an ease with the nature and landscapes of Scotland as well as an incisive sense of our domestic realities. In Findings she draws together these themes to describe travels like no other contemporary writer.
Whether she is following the call of a peregrine in the hills above her home in Fife, sailing into a dark winter solstice on the Orkney islands, or pacing around the carcass of a whale on a rain-swept Hebridean beach, she creates a subtle and modern narrative, peculiarly alive to her connections and surroundings.
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Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
How Babies Think by Alison Gopnick, Andew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl. As the parent of a one-year-old I spend a lot of time wondering what goes on inside babies’ minds and I wanted to see how scientists have tried to answer that question. Partly an introduction to the field of developmental psychology, partly a summary of the psychologists’ findings, the book explores not only what might be going on inside a baby’s head but what that can tell us about being human. Thought-provoking, lively and surprisingly funny, some of the computer analogies are now a little outdated but it’s definitely one that I’m recommending.
Review from Book Depository:
A cutting-edge exploration of what evolutionary psychology is teaching us of the development and learning of children, in the tradition of Matt Ridley's The Red Queen and Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct.
Learning begins in the first days of life. Scientists are now discovering how young children develop emotionally and intellectually, and are beginning to realize that from birth babies already know a staggering amount about the world around them. In the first book of its kind for a popular audience, three leading US scientists draw on twenty-five years of research in philosophy, psychology, computer science, linguistics and neuroscience to reveal what babies know and how they learn it.
Review From Book Depository:
Discovering that he has nine lives and is destined to be the next 'Chrestomanci' is not part of Christopher's plans for the future: he'd much rather play cricket and wander around his secret dream worlds. But he soon finds that destiny is difficult to avoid, and that having more than the usual number of lives is pretty inconvenient - especially when you lose them as easily as he does!
Then an evil smuggler, known only as The Wraith, threatens the ways of the worlds and forces Christopher to take action...
The story begins in May 1875 when Maria runs away from school, and takes refuge with her uncle, the respected Warden of Canterbury College at Oxford. Her welcome there, and the three brothers she shares lessons with, are the beginning of an adventurous summer.
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Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
Paper, always. I like to have a physical sense of where I am in the book, to be able to read at my own pace and to underline things.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
I have very fond memories of living across the road from Pages of Hackney – that felt like such a luxury. These days I have a little further to travel to get to an independent, though Kirkdale Books in Sydenham and the brilliantly named Bookseller Crow on the Hill in Crystal Palace are always worth the trip.
Image Copyrights: Profile Books Ltd (Notes from Deep Time), Sort of Books (Surfacing), Orion Publishing Co (How Babies Think), HarperCollins Publishers (The Lives of Christopher Chant), Penguin Random House Children's UK (The Warden's Niece).
Smart Thinking Books was born to shine a spotlight on books that can fuel your mind! Many smart thinking books have changed the way I look at the world for the better, so I started this site to help spread the word. - Daryl Feehely
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