Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is one of those books that’s been on my TBR for more years than I care to mention. I’ve had the book that accompanied the original TV series since I was ten or eleven, so it’s not like I haven’t had plenty of opportunity to read it. I’ve even read his The Demon Haunted World, which I loved and felt was so, so important, but somehow I just never quite got to Cosmos.
But then, eventually, I did. Science books always take me a long time to read, because it’s not my natural area. I have to think about things quite a lot, and often re-read to try and make it go in, all of which means that my usual choice of reading time (in bed) is not ideal for science-y reading. It took me a while to get through Cosmos, and I stopped and started quite a lot. It spent an awfully long time languishing on my bedside table.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that I loved it.
I tend to love science books in general, because they fill me with such wonder about the world around us, whether we’re talking the minutiae of particles that make up everything, or the grand sweep of the universe and the breathtaking possibilities beyond it. But what sets Carl Sagan apart for me is not only the fact that he wrote beautifully and passionately, but that he wrote with such incredible optimism. He wrote with hope. He wrote with the belief that if we, the non-science-y public, could just grasp the immense and wonderful beauty of our world and our universe, that we’d take steps to preserve, protect, and explore it.
I’d like to think that one day we could live up to such optimism. But until then it’s a beautiful and glorious thing to read about.
How about you, lovely people? Have you read Cosmos or other Carl Sagan books? Did you enjoy them? What are your favourite types of non-fiction books, science or otherwise? Let me know below!