X is for X-Ray

Xs are frustrating letters, aren’t they? Still, they are handy when you’re playing Scrabble. There are a number of items that start with x, but quite a few of them are rather obscure: xylology (which is the study of wood), xanthism (yellow coloration of skin), or even xylocarp (fruit with a hard shell). As you can imagine, it might be pretty difficult to find books in a few of those subjects, so we’re going to stick with the good old x-ray. The following are all titles that have to do with radiation. This week, stay out of the sun and get a few rays in a completely different way.


Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima – Diana Preston

  • Describes the history of discoveries that led up to the dropping of the atomic bomb in 1945. (NF)

Evidence of Things Unseen – Marianne Wiggins

  • Falling in love during the Second World War, a soldier and a glassblower’s daughter eventually have a son, who in adulthood finds his own love affair impacted by the fallout of the atomic age. (F)

A Force of Nature: The Frontier Genius of Ernest Rutherford – Richard Reeves

  • A scholarly profile of a leading twentieth-century experimental physicist covers such topics as his discovery of the atom’s orbital structure and contributions to splitting the atom to his receipt of the Nobel Prize and other honors. (NF)

On the Beach – Nevil Shute

  • Following a nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere, the inhabitants of a small Australian community await the inevitable after-effects of the bombs to reach them. (F)

Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know – Robert Peter Gale and Eric Lax

  • Demystifying society’s trigger words for anxiety–Uranium, Plutonium, Iodine-131, X-ray, CT scan, radiation of food–the authors explore the science, benefits, and risks of radiation exposure, drawing on the most up-to-date research and on Gale’s extensive experience treating victims of radiation accidents around the globe. (NF)

Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, a Tale of Love and Fallout – Lauren Redniss

  • Presents the professional and private lives of Marie and Pierre Curie, examining their personal struggles, the advancements they made in the world of science, and the issue of radiation in the modern world. (NF)

Radioactivity: A History of a Mysterious Science – Marjorie Caroline Malley

  • Science and mathematics educator Malley presents a timely tale about the discovery of radioactivity, the development of our knowledge of the physical universe, and the way radioactivity has changed our world. (NF)

Voices from Chernobyl – Svetlana Alekssievich

  • The people of Chernobyl talk about their lives before, during, and after the worst nuclear reactor accident in history which occurred on April 26, 1986 in Chernobyl.

Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed – Judy Pasternak

  • Describes how the Navajo worked for the U.S. government unprotected in the uranium mines that fueled the Cold War, and how the abandoned mines remained on the Navajo reservation, causing cancer rates and birth defects to soar. (NF)


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