The Planets

The Planets

by Dava Sobel

Paperback(Reprint Edition)

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Overview

Dava Sobel's The Glass Universe will be available from Viking in December 2016

With her bestsellers Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Dava Sobel introduced readers to her rare gift for weaving complex scientific concepts into a compelling narrative. Now Sobel brings her full talents to bear on what is perhaps her most ambitious topic to date-the planets of our solar system. Sobel explores the origins and oddities of the planets through the lens of popular culture, from astrology, mythology, and science fiction to art, music, poetry, biography, and history. Written in her characteristically graceful prose, The Planets is a stunningly original celebration of our solar system and offers a distinctive view of our place in the universe.

* A New York Times extended bestseller
* A Featured Alternate of the Book-of-the-Month Club, History Book Club, Scientific American Book Club, and Natural Science Book Club
* Includes 11 full-color illustrations by artist Lynette R. Cook

"[The Planets] lets us fall in love with the heavens all over again."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Playful . . . lyrical . . . a guided tour so imaginative that we forget we're being educated as we're being entertained."
-Newsweek

" [Sobel] has outdone her extraordinary talent for keeping readers enthralled. . . . Longitude and Galileo's Daughter were exciting enough, but The Planets has a charm of its own . . . . A splendid and enticing book."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"A sublime journey. [Sobel's] writing . . . is as bright as the sun and its thinking as star-studded as the cosmos."
-The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"An incantatory serenade to the Solar System. Grade A-"
-Entertainment Weekly

"Like Sobel's [Longitude and Galileo's Daughter] . . . [The Planets] combines masterful storytelling with clear, engaging explanations of the essential scientific facts."
-Physics World

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142001165
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/31/2006
Edition description: Reprint Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 324,859
Product dimensions: 5.09(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

Dava Sobel is an award-winning former science writer for The New York Times. The author of the bestselling LongitudeGalileo’s Daughter, and The Glass Universe, Sobel’s work has also appeared in Audubon, Discover, Life, and The New Yorker.

Table of Contents

Model Worlds
(Overview)

Genesis
(The Sun)

Mythology
(Mercury)

Beauty
(Venus)

Geography
(Earth)

Lunacy
(The Moon)

Sci-Fi
(Mars)

Astrology
(Jupiter)

Music of the Spheres
(Saturn)

Night Air
(Uranus and Neptune)

UFO
(Pluto)

Planeteers
(Coda)

Acknowledgments
Glossary
Details
Bibliography
Index

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Playful . . . lyrical . . . a guided tour so imaginative that we forget we’re being educated as we’re being entertained.” —Newsweek

“[Sobel] has outdone her extraordinary talent for keeping readers enthralled. . . . Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter were exciting enough, but The Planets has a charm of its own . . . . A splendid and enticing book.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A sublime journey. [Sobel’s] writing . . . is as bright as the sun and its thinking as star-studded as the cosmos.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“An incantatory serenade to the Solar System. Grade A-” —Entertainment Weekly

“Like Sobel’s [Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter] . . . [The Planets] combines masterful storytelling with clear, engaging explanations of the essential scientific facts.” —Physics World

Customer Reviews

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The Planets 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I had to read a book for my Nature of Science class and the book I initially picked out wasn't cutting it so in a panic I picked up The Planets. I wasn't really expecting much - in fact I thought it was going to be pretty boring. I was pleasently suprised. It was a great book and anyone who has the slighest interest in the solar system will love this book. Dava employs several different writing styles to captiveate her audience. A martain rocks story, the discover of Uranus and Neptune, the search for planet X and Vulcan...
grahamedmonds on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the laziest pieces of writing I've read in years...and some critics actually liked it. If you have a working knowledge of the planets don't bother with it, if you know nothing then give it a try. If you're expecting something along the lines of Longitude then you'll be disappointed.
Niecierpek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sobel takes a concoction of scientific facts, myth, poetry, and personal experience and makes it into a tale about each planet of the solar system, the Earth and the Moon, and she does it well.Be patient through the introduction, in which Sobel talks about how she herself became interested in the plantes, and which is boring, and read on. The rest is good. The style is nice, and there was enough science and good solid facts to keep me happy. In the end, a pleasant read.
NielsenGW on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dava Sobel offers interesting takes on the familiar objects in the night sky. Each planets occupies a cultural niche in society and she explores them all. From the allusions to Venus's beauty to the discovery of Neptune, she develops very apt portraits of each of the planets. There is also a fair amount of science and geology in each chapter, but she tries very hard not to make the planets as cold as they seem to be. If you don't want to go out and buy a telescope after reading this book, stick with Grisham and Koontz.
edwardlally on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very nice book, with a chapter about the sun, moon, and each of the planets. Well written, clever, and informative. Additionally, one of the most beautifully designed books I've read - typeface, cover art, colors, etc.
RamiFaour on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Planets is an interesting take on scientific writings, unlike the familiar popular science books, which(in most cases) give a somewhat tedious and sketchy outline of a certain topic, this book, although following the popular science books in being untechnical is, on the other hand, of an uncommon style and format, where Sobel introduces a fictional letter in one place, to an account of the autobiography of a martian sample. Each chapter stands for the 'story' of a certain body in the solar system(the planets, the moon, the sun), touching on the history, music, astrology, shakespeare and, of course, science. And by that, this book provides a worthwhile read even for those whose grasp of the science is beyond the scope of this book, or rather, as is evident from this book, a true appreciation of the heavenly bodies compels one to admire how humans have viewed and interacted with objects whose distance, sheer size and beauty are truely astronomical!
moonimal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read and loved Sobel's 'Latitude', so it made sense to pick this book up during a recent visit to the library's astronomy section. I was there to pick up some books for the kids to read during a trip to our cabin. A friend had lent me his 8" telescope, and we were all set for some cool astronomy. Unfortunately, it was cloudy during the whole weekend. Ack.This is a short book, with one chapter devoted to each of the planets - kind of short stories of the science and mythology and other interesting facts about the discovery of each planet.in short, I like Sobel's writing, but this book didn't do it for me. The chapters were interesting, but not compelling and I really had to work to get through this.
Atomicmutant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a delightful little book. Pure, simple, sweet; elegant, poetic, and full of wonder. It's not a science book, though it's full of science. It's also full of poetry, pop culture, history, and personality. Call it "Ode to a Planetary System". It's a love story in a way, a romance with the wonder of our celestial neighborhood, and the journey to discover it.Very, very enjoyable. This isn't heavy stuff, it's an appetizer. Light and tantalizing.
JBD1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one was disappointing. I expected something along the lines of Sobel's other books, but this was much more whimsical, tossing in personal stories and quips with some interesting planetary factoids. Interesting, sure - but not great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A slight-framed elf steped in slowly. Her hair was the purest white and her eyes were a striking, vibrant silver. Her skin was moon pale and she wore a gothlolli style dress, her feet bare. She was nervous as he glanced around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Welcome to the home ground! You adventure will begin. Please enjoy!
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
In this series of essays, Sobel weaves together popular culture,discovery and scientific study, and the personalities involved. Her essay span the history of science and world cultures to give a captivating account of our solar system. She truly captures the awe of astronomy. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
I've read and been delighted by Longitude and Galileo's Daughter so when I came across "The Planets." I was intrigued and wanted to read it. I knew even before I bought the book that it would be nothing like the other two by Dava Sobel, but by now she has established herself as a great writer and I trusted her and her instincts. If she wanted to take an unorthodox trip across the Solar System, I was all too willing to buy a ticket for the journey. And it was a refreshingly new look at the landscape that I thought I had already known all too well and have become a bit jaded with. Part informative, part imaginative this book both entertains and educates. It is well suited for both young and old readers. Each planet gets its own "voice" and is approached and dealt with from a unique point of view. The two works of art - one in fiction one in music - which this book reminds me of are Italo Calvino's "Cosmicomics" and Gustav Holst's "The Planets." Like Calvino and Holst, Dava Sobel possesses a rare gift of imagination and skill to bring a potentially dry subject and weave it into something that entices us and enthralls us. That's why I decided to recommend this book to my college Astronomy class that I teach this year.
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