Friday, December 18, 2015

Curiouser and Curiouser

The Thing Explainer – Complicated Stuff In Simple Words – Randall Munroe – (Houghton Mifflin)

A few words of advice upfront: as much as you may love your Kindle or Nook, or e-reader device, DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK IN THE ELECTRONIC FORMAT! Yes, I feel better now. This book clearly deserves to be viewed in all of its big, bold, hardcover glory.

I love these kinds of books and have spent hours hunched over the how things are made or how things work style books and Pete Frame’s rock music family trees still hold a fascination for the music fan in me. So it’s only natural that I would be attracted to Randall Munroe’s The Thing Explainer – Complicated Stuff In Simple Words.

Picking up where his wildly popular web comic xkcd leaves off, Munroe, the former NASA roboticist churns out explanations for things ranging from “boxes that make clothes smell better” to the bags of stuff inside you…you’ll have to read to see exactly what he’s talking about, Munroe utilizes his blueprint style drawing, doodles and do-dads combined with the “ten hundred” words people most commonly use to explain…well…things!

Deep, impenetrable science? Not hardly. I think Munroe’s goal here and in his other vehicles, or should I say methods of information delivery…is to take the often complex and make it understandable and even throw in a dash of fun/humor. While some deep thinkers may be put off by Munroe’s simplicity and decidedly non-serious approach, I think he truly achieves what he set out to accomplish. This one is perfect for the budding scientist on your list or those whose curiosity you want to inspire.

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