The Disappearing Spoon

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean

DNF @ page 81.

 

Dear fellow Flatbookers,

 

I am so sorry.

I really thought I had turned a corner. 

I really thought I had found a book that could keep my interest and that would not lead me to yet another DNF of a pop science book. 

 

But here's the thing, after making it through Part 1 of Kean's books I have serious issues with The Disappearing Spoon:

 

1. Kean comes across as a condescending twit. This is a major turn off for me.

2. Kean can't write in a way that conveys a clear train of thought. Also not great for a book that tries to explain science to non-scientists.

3. Kean's ramblings from one topic to the next give me neither pleasure nor information, both of which are essential from a pop science book.

4. Kean's research is abysmal. Seriously, 81 pages and I am frustrated by the glaring lack of attention to historical fact (see below*) ... so have to imagine that his scientific facts are not trustworthy either.

5. I simply cannot bear to read Kean's dismissive comments about the achievements or discoveries of scientist in the past, while Kean himself has nothing to show for it, nor does he make any attempts to show up any other personalities who may have been more worthy of praise and recognition. 

 

So, in the words of a great classic character (fabulously portrayed by Greg Wise) ... I will not torment myself. 

 

I'm out. 

 

Sorry. Again. 

 

I just can't.

 

Love,

BT

 

 

Seriously, tho, I was really irked by the portrayal of Bunsen's character, by the dismissal of Mendeleev as a fluke, by the portrayal of J. F. Boettger's biography (which is riddled with "inaccuracies" ... like describing him as a trickster in the same line as a slide of hand magician... He was an apothecary's apprentice. And the king - there were two kings actually but that is a longer story - really didn't force him to make porcelain in the first instance, he wanted gold. Porcelain just happened to be worked on at the same time...with more success.) - And I don't even have a clue why the section about Boettger was included in the first place. It served no purpose.

 

I was sorely miffed by the time I got the end of Part 1. 

 

Then I skipped ahead a bit as I by chance came across a page where he mentions Alvarez and the iridium layer that lead to the KT impact theory. It really was then when I came across the things that broke the camel's back: Kean dismisses Alvarez' findings without much of an explanation why and glosses over supporting evidence, then he cites the Indian volcanoes (which were a coinciding factor as discussed in Alvarez' book), and then completely wanders off: first to a still disputed Nemesis theory and then to Sagan quoting "We are all star stuff." 

There is no logical argument to follow here nor is there any underlying evidence for what Kean presents.

Tho, to be fair he didn't actually make any point, so his ramblings don't exactly *need* backing up with facts.

 

Seriously, this book can go ... add itself to the charity pile right away.

 

Previous Reading Updates:

 

Reading progress update: I've read 56 out of 400 pages.

Reading progress update: I've read 33 out of 400 pages.