Saturday, January 14, 2012

2011 Top 10: Radioactive

Eighth in a series of reviews of my 10 favorite books read in 2011, presented in alphabetical order.

Radioactive by Lauren Redniss, ©2011

In Radioactive, Lauren Redniss uses art (primarily illustrations created through a process of “cyanotype printing” that evokes negative images and glowing radiation) to present a biography of Marie Curie ... and of radiation itself, from Roentgen to Hiroshima to Spider-man.

Even the words are art, in a font (developed by the author) that looks like delicate hand printing, arranged interestingly on the pages. I enjoyed seeing the personal side of Marie Curie, loved learning that Roentgen “dubbed the invisible light an ‘X’ ray, X for unknown,” and can understand how, at the turn of the century, the piling-up of discoveries of so many invisible forces (electricity, radio, telegraph, x-ray, radioactivity) “blurred the boundary between science and magic.”

It’s a part-linear, part segue-filled slideshow. Lovely.

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