Nonfiction Book Review: What Shape Is Space?

What Shape Is Space? coverWhat Shape Is Space? by Giles Sparrow. Thames & Hudson, 2018. 9780500293669. 142pp including an index and list for further reading.

I read this in a hotel bar full of screaming and moaning football fans while waiting for my daughter, who was attending a Brockhampton concert, and it still managed to hold my interest! There is no greater praise I can offer a nonfiction book.

This serves as a great primer/review of the history of human views of space and the way we calculate the size of the universe. It also offers a math-free overview of string theory and the definition of a universe, discusses why scientists think dark matter and dark energy are out there, plus explains black holes and the possible ends of all things.

I love that the text is different sizes. (see the image that’s part of this review) I easily skimmed the big text for topics I was interested in, skipped the smaller text when I didn’t give a damn about the details (or already knew them) (or when my eyes hurt), and read the captions when I was curious (needed my reading glasses, aka magnifiers, for this). The book flowed like good graphic novels do (all the images helped) — I rarely fall into nonfiction this easily, even when I’m interested in the topic.

Based on this, I’m going to keep reading Thames & Hudson’s The Big Idea series. Next on my list: Is Capitalism Working? (I can’t tell you about the next concert on my daughter’s list, because it’s a surprise and I know she stalks me on Instagram occasionally.) (Hi BB!)

What Shape Is Space inside cover What Shape Is Space interior


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