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Air: The Restless Shaper of the World

Air: The Restless Shaper of the World - William Bryant Logan This is a lovely, easy, dreamy read. It's far more a meditation on things having to do with air than a science book. The chapters form a hodge-podge that eventually becomes a picture, but it's part memoir, part poem, and part science.

This use of pictures is strange. There are a few pictures, but that are largely not helpful to the author to make his point. And then when he really needs a picture, there isn't one, and his language gets tangled trying to make up for it. The most obvious example is that his chapter on the perception and portrayal of the air in the history of art. He describes paintings but doesn't reprint any of them, and the chapter really withers without them. But there are multiple others points that could have used a picture if he really wanted to make his point clear.

But in the end, being perfectly clear may not have been his goal. Just getting us to reflect on the importance and busy-ness of air, the indelible essence that surrounds us every day, is probably the aim of a book like this. And in that, it is successful.