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The Planets written by science reporter and astronomy columnist Dava Sobel was the topic of July’s Narrative Non-fiction book Club of the Falmouth Public Library. As the title suggests, The Planets is a book about the planets of our solar system. The book gives its readers a tour of the solar system, including the planet the book was written and published on - Earth, and Pluto, which has since lost its planetary status. What makes The Planets unique in comparison to other astronomy books is the author’s approach.  She gives the reader a concept of the planets by comparing each one to a different theme.  Some of the themes include music, poetry, mythology, and science fiction.

The group met the morning of Friday July 6th (as always, the first Friday of the month for those of you interested in joining us), an exceptionally beautiful morning (thanks to the position and location of the Earth in relationship to the star at the center of the solar system).  Being an exceptionally beautiful day, it was an exceptionally small book group.  However; we had a great discussion. Many of the group members (and I feel silly saying “many” since the group was so small) expressed feelings of being back in school while reading the book, however, the group members did not feel that we were reading a text book. Some of us felt we were reading a book of short stories relating to the planets and astronomy. One group member had trouble finishing the book because of the difficulty (possibly unfamiliarity) of the subject but still enjoyed it. This member felt that even though The Planets is located in the library stacks in non-fiction in the 500’s (Dewey call number) science including astronomy, the book could also be placed in the 800’s, literature. The book and discussion lead us off the pages of the book and into realms not even covered in the book! We discussed philosophy, cosmology (the origins of the universe), and life itself to name a few.

In conclusion the group felt the book is great read by a talented and gifted writer. The Planets is recommended to any reader who is unfamiliar with astronomy and is curious to learn more.  It is also recommended to those of us who love astronomy and are much more familiar with the subject. For those of you who would like to know what theme goes with what planet, you will have to read the book (or at very least the table of contents).

Please join us on August 3rd as Falmouth Public Libraries very own Faith Lee will be leading a discussion on Norman Maclean’s Young Men and Fire: A True Story of the Mann Gulch Fire. For those of you who enjoy American history, Young Men and Fire is the story of the 1949 Montana Mann Gulch fire as told by eyewitnesses. As always, new members to the non-fiction book group are not only welcome to join, but indeed are encouraged to join! Stop by the reference desk to pick up a copy of the next book.  We will see you in August!

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