If you read Katie C.’s review, you already know that I gave her a heads up that I found this hard to read. And it was. Despite being brief, the lessons were still lessons on physics, and physics was never really my subject.
HOWEVER. I still very much appreciated Rovelli’s “brief” book of essays. I highlighted more passages in this book than I expected to and than I have in most other books. And I highlighted for a lot of reasons. In some places I highlighted words, like “phantasmagorical,” because I simply can’t think of a better word, or phrases, like “Genius hesitates,” because they were awesome. Sometimes I highlighted because the prose is simply beautiful. For example:
A reality that seems to be made of the same stuff that our dreams are made of, but that is nevertheless more real than our clouded, quotidian dreaming.
I highlighted because I felt gobsmacked by what I read, because I certainly had no idea that “If a person who has lived at sea level meets up with his twin who has lived in the mountains, he will find that his sibling is slightly older than he.” WHAT?! But I also highlighted because I found myself laughing at how little I understood of what I read, and I wanted to return to it later and see if I could make more sense of it.
And lastly I highlighted SO. MUCH. in Rovelli’s closing chapter “Ourselves.” And most of this I highlighted because it scared me. It made me think. It made me wonder. And it made me really hope that what we have triggered can be undone or reversed or slowed.
What’s more, we do damage. The brutal climate and environmental changes that we have triggered are unlikely to spare us.
So I’m going to echo what Katie said in my own words: Read it for the beauty of Rovelli’s writing. Let yourself be in awe of the fact that someone can write so gorgeously about science. And if throughout the book, you find yourself understanding a little bit of something or learning something new, give yourself a pat on the back.