Tag: Kai Kupferschmidt

Review – Blue

Posted February 3, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 1 Comment

Review – Blue

Blue: The Science and Secrets of Nature's Rarest Colour

by Kai Kupferschmidt

Genres: History, Non-fiction, Science
Pages: 224
Rating: four-stars

Blue is the most widely beloved color—but in nature, it’s the rarest hue of all. True, physics paints the sea and sky blue, but we can’t bottle this trick of the light. And blue pigment requires such complex chemistry that blue creatures, plants, and minerals are few indeed. Artists and kings have treasured blue dye like precious gold since the time of the pharoahs—and who today can help but marvel at a morpho butterfly in the rain forest or a blue jay at the window?

Science journalist Kai Kupferschmidt has been enraptured by blue since childhood. In his quest to understand the mysteries of his favorite color, he takes readers on a vivid journey—from a biotech lab in Japan and a volcanic lake in Oregon to his native Germany, home of the last blue-feathered Spix’s macaws. Deep underground where blue crystals grow, and miles overhead where astronauts gaze at our “blue marble” planet—wherever he finds this alluring color, it always has a story to tell.

Kai Kupferschmidt’s Blue is a book-length meditation on all things, well, you guessed it. It discuss blue as a pigment, blue as a historical and cultural thing, blue in linguistics, blue in plants, blue dye… you name it, it discusses it. Kupferschmidt is fascinated, and he’s sharing the journey, and along the way he explains some complex things very succinctly and clearly.

The book is also beautifully illustrated, all in colour, and has a section with further reading and sources, including image sources. All-in-all, beautifully presented and a joy to read — exactly the kind of curiosity I enjoy, zooming in on one subject and unravelling the things that touch it.

It’s shorter than it looks, given the illustrations and the full pages printed blue; I’d say it’s meant to be an object you enjoy looking at as much as anything else. I sped through it!

Rating: 4/5

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WWW Wednesday

Posted January 3, 2024 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Somehow it’s Wednesday again already, so here are my threes Ws for this week:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What are you reading next?

Linking up with Taking on a World of Words. I hope there’ll be a bit more commenting this week; last week was pretty quiet, perhaps because of the Christmas/New Year period.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been a bit fidgety and not settling down very well, so I’ve ended up starting two new books, which are both quite short. Yesterday during my breaks at work I started reading The Fireborne Blade (Charlotte Bond), which has a neat cover and is so far intriguing enough. I’m wondering if my sister might like it, since it stars a female knight… but we’ll have to see how things go.

I’m also reading Ice Cream: A Global History (Laura B. Weiss), from the Edible series. Predictably, it made me really want ice cream; maybe something from Ruby Violet… their malted milk ice cream was amazing.

What have you recently finished reading?

My first finished read of 2024 was Kai Kupferschmidt’s Blue, which was a pretty quick read and beautifully illustrated. It had a few facts I didn’t know, and explained things very clearly, where it dug into stuff like chemical structures or how vision works.

I actually read most of it in 2023, but saved the epilogue for 2024, so it’d count for this year and not spoil the lovely round number I had for books finished in 2023, heh.

What will you be reading next?

Cover of The Book of Perilous Dishes by Doina RustiLast week I talked about finishing Rose Lerner’s Sailor’s Delight, and I’d still like to do that. I also want to read Tobi Ogundiran’s In the Shadow of the Fall, which is a book I received to review, because I’d like to try and be on top of those in 2024. (Pigs might fly, too, but let’s try to keep our optimism!)

Other than those, I’m eyeing up The Book of Perilous Dishes (Doina Ruști), because I’m very curious about it.

How about you? What’re you reading?

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