Friday, January 21, 2011

Thrilling Science Reading

Bibliophilia has become a bit of a misnomer for this blog over the past few years as book arts have taken a back seat to textiles as my favoured form of creative expression. But my love of reading books has not diminished. This year I intend to start sharing more of my reading with my blog readers, not least because books are by far still the most influential media I consume.

My summer reading so far has been mostly guided by what catches my eye on the Public Library's science shelves. These casual choices have kept my brain bubbling with unexpected connections, new insights and revived enthusiams. As a result I'm getting more purposeful in my book choices. Here is one strand of thrilling reading, I will share others soon.

The first frisson came near the end of the Kathleen Crane's riveting memoir of life as a woman oceanographer, Sea Legs. She underwent some incredible challenges to break into the all male world of oceanography, and had some incredible adventures on the high sea. Her passion for the deep sea floor ignited a spark in my imagination: can I use bathymetric data to make emboidered blanket representations of the bottom of the sea? This riveting idea led me to seek out an Philips Atlas of the Oceans so I could look at bathymetric maps, and the contour lines. Suffice to say I have started buying up blue and green blankets and I expect I will be blogging more about the sea floor.

My newfound passion for the deep drew me to Deep Blue Home by Julia Whitty. Julia Whitty writes nonfiction prose like a poet and savouring a few chapters before sleep each night is one of my great pleasures at the moment. Here is her describing a close encounter with an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland:

Its skin is wind-polished to the luster of diamond, water -sculpted to sapphire, its form purely feminine, purely voluptuous, curves hewn hard in the foundry of the far north. Although the air termperature is cold enough to make us shiver, it is not cold enough for this relic of snowfalls past to survive, and a silver cascade of meltwaterpours from its summit down a chute of polished translucent turquoise. Crystal by crystal, its ice diminishes, collecting in a pool on the iceberg's saddle, where Arctic terns dip and splash, unfurling freshwater rainbows.Deep blue veins and track marks of gravel scar the ice, records of good years and bad years in the glacier world.

Can you see why I am in love with this book? I will be chasing up her other books as well, not only for their sea content, but for the delicious writing.

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