Thursday, July 19, 2007


Currently reading: 'Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded'.

A wee tale of geological phenomena, with undertones of fire and brimstone.

WEST of Java.
Krakatoa ~ a cataclysmic volcanic eruption, producing an equally deadly tsunami. The implosion-explosion ultimately killed 36,000, triggered worldwide atmospheric changes and influenced a multitude of existing and future global developments.

Earth power.

This book is engaging.
But then historical/sociological non-fiction accounts appeal to me. Not for everyone, I realize. A few pages here and there are snoozers, and that's because a geology geek I am not. Geek-nerd in selected areas, but not this.

'Krakatoa' ...
* History, politics, geology, geography, literature, art, poetry, technology, meteorology and a slew of other science lessons.
*World commerce (and colonization!), fauna and flora, continental drift (aka plate tectonics), human foibles (my personal fave!).
*Coffee, pepper, clove and mace spice up the mix.

All this and more - based on a single event of 125 years ago. A fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second in the Big Picture View (love the Cirque-type music accompanying this video).

Author Simon Wincester happily veers off on seemingly unrelated tangents within any given chapter. No worries, for he then artfully corrals all these digressions back to the topic at hand.
Wincester's droll humor makes the fact-upon-conjecture-upon-fact-upon-empirical evidence an easier read. A good thing, as science-tech-talk can get a bit dry.

'Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded' may render you feeling a bit insignificant in relation to the greater scheme of things. At the same time, the realization that your 15-minutes of fame existence on this earth is actually part of something VERY HUGE, and QUITE WONDROUS.
That alone is plenty exciting and worth the read.

Bonus trivia discovered whilst researching online: One theory linking Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' to the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa.


justducky said...

I want to read that one!
But I LOVE audio books...
I wonder...
And I wonder who would be reading it?


baffle said...

Check the next blog post.
Perhaps a certain Pear-shaped Man could read 'Krakatoa' aloud to you.