My definition of good popular science writing is that which even the reader who eschewed high school chemistry and physics can understand. Outstanding popular science writing will captivate the same reader from the first page on. “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren falls into the second category.
Growing up in southern Minnesota, Jahren knew from as far back as she can remember that she wanted to be a scientist. She may not have predicted she would also be a gifted writer and yet her prose makes the most tedious laboratory procedures sound positively fascinating. She is able to describe the sound corn makes as it’s growing in a way that is almost poetic.
“Lab Girl” is also a very personal memoir that conveys the author’s passion for science and her obsession with her work as well as describing the interesting life she has led in honest detail. — Sally Wisdom
‘Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)’
Known for his humorous, dry, weird and wonderful essays pulled from his own life, David Sedaris has gone above and beyond for his millions of fans. In the first of a two-volume set, he has published snippets and entries from his personal diaries. Everything from a few words on the homeless man down the street during his first years in New York, to the gut-wrenching, hollowly calm entries surrounding the death of his mother. This glimpse into the source code of Sedaris’ humor is enlightening, entertaining and a perfect summer read. Full of wry heart, “Theft by Finding” is both familiar and entirely new. It is quirky, sharp and unexpected — pure, unpasteurized Sedaris magic.
Kept for decades, these jokes, observations, bits of snarky delight, and strangely moving notes form a colossally human work. I can’t wait for the next volume. It’s perfect for reading in between meetings, while cooking dinner or on a lazy Sunday morning. — Review by Julie Goodrich