Currently reading

Paul Hanley
A Month in the Country
Michael Holroyd, J.L. Carr
A Tale of the Dispossessed: A Novel
Laura Restrepo, Dolores M. Koch
Mesabi Pioneers
Jeffrey Smith, Russell Hill
The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
Jon Rothschild, Amin Maalouf
Island of a Thousand Mirrors
Nayomi Munaweera

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light - Paul Bogard When I first saw this book, I thought it would be another doomed attempt by an amateur astronomer to convince people that light pollution is bad because the night sky is pretty. And oh, I agree the night sky is beautiful -- I have a lot of star gazing under my belt and I care. But I had pretty much given up on trying to convince mainstream folks of this, and figured this book would be enjoyable for me but never have its intended effect.

But the book was more substantial than I thought it would be, and the author isn't who I thought he would be. There was research on how lack of darkness affect individuals and cultures, city budgets and maybe cancer rates. He traveled. The chapters are organized by destination from the brightest cities on the globe to the darkest locations. And he shares what can be done and what has been done to lessen light pollution in some locations. It's a call to light pollution activism.

This book tries to be many things, then. And I was impressed with how ambitious it is. With most books that try to multitask, though, there are some things it does better than others. The parts that really rang true were the pleas for aesthetics of a dark sky, which really only work on the minority of us who have truly experienced a dark sky. But he tried to do more, and he got a bunch of publicity, so I truly hope this has some effect on light pollution. At least it got more people talking about it. But in the mean time, he's written a truly good book that I'd recommend to anyone, but especially travelers.