The Secret Life of Stars by Lisa Harvey-Smith & Eirian Chapman

I usually prefer fiction and was delighted by how much I loved Lisa Harvey-Smith’s Under the Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime and looked forward to her next book, The Secret Life of Stars: Astrophysics for Everyone. To be honest, The Secret Life of Stars left me starstruck; not just overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it all, but by how much more there is to discover. Thanks to the author’s chatty, breezy style, I now understand concepts that had previously eluded me; she talks about stars like old friends and now they’re mine, too. The universe (while still above me) no longer feels beyond me.

It takes all types to make a cosmos – blue giants, red hypergiants and white dwarfs, pulsars, neutron stars and black holes that live, breathe, grow and (even) die. Most stars live in pairs: some born as identical twins, others star-crossed lovers thrown together by fate, or odd couples that just somehow fell into each other’s orbits. And there are binaries within binaries within binaries, making me appreciate our solitary yellow dwarf star, The Sun.

There are runaway stars careening across the galaxy and stars that burn like 10 million suns, and stars that bend space, time, light and (frankly) my mind with the darkest mystery of them all: black holes.

If you’re interested in astronomy, this book’s for you. If you’re not, read it and you will be! But be warned: your worldview will never be the same.

Highly recommended for anyone with an open mind who reads at a secondary school level.

Athina Clarke is the children’s book buyer at Readings Malvern.

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Cover image for The Secret Life of Stars

The Secret Life of Stars

Lisa Harvey-Smith

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