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Soul of the Night by Chet Raymo

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#1 Michael Rapp

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 11:34 AM

Hi all,

Has anyone read this book? I really had a hard time with this book and never could finish it. Perhaps I was hoping/looking for something for which it is not. I was hoping for a book that guided the reader through the sublime wonder of the universe.

In my view, there was a certain randomness to the book that just didn't work for me. The transitions between presenting astronomical fact, the author's recollections, and the poetic nature of astronomy seemed abrupt, even forced at times.

After every chapter I felt as if I had been down a bumpy road in an otherwise beautiful landscape. Pretty, but uncomfortable and not satisfying.

#2 bobhen

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 01:27 PM


I've had that book for many many years. One of my favorites. Sorry you didn't like it. It is more poetry/philosophy than hard-core astronomy. Don't pick it up expecting a pure astro experience.

Chet Raymo is also one of my (many) favorite authors. He has a very interesting background. But he does inject a sense of personal poetic wonder into his books. I also liked Walking Zero, walking the Prime Meridian and the deeper When God is Gone.

Bob

#3 Michael Rapp

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 04:35 PM

I'm definitely going to give it another chance. I think my preconceptions colored my experience of the book.

#4 bumm

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:05 PM

Like Bob, I read it years ago and enjoyed it. In my view, it's not a book to learn about astronomy, but more "night and astronomy appreciation."
Marty

#5 amicus sidera

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:24 PM

After every chapter I felt as if I had been down a bumpy road in an otherwise beautiful landscape. Pretty, but uncomfortable and not satisfying.


Agreed. Another "Oh, The Wonder Of It All!" book that comes across as stilted and inauthentic, in my opinion.

#6 davidpitre

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:21 PM

Michael,
My experience of the book was very similar to yours.
I think your description was actually very good.
I found it disjointed and sort of forced.






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