Flatiron Books: The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

Eating the Sun: Small Musings on a Vast Universe

From the author of Lost in Translation, a captivating compendium of words untranslatable into English, comes another wondrous read: Eating the Sun: Small Musings on a Vast Universe. This slim but remarkable volume by Ella Frances Sanders explores the marvels of the universe, from the very tiny (atoms and cells) to the very large (supercluster galaxies).

Comprised of short chapters no more than a couple pages each, the book eschews hard science for more elementary facts that read like poetry. "You are made from the remnants of stars," Sanders writes. "Strung up like fairy lights... the stars are to thank for your singular fragile body." She goes on to explain in equally lyrical prose how every living thing on Earth contains carbon from the cosmos. In the standout chapter "I'll be Where the Blue Is," Sanders explains that "blue as a color in nature is actually incredibly elusive," because it's produced by a trick of light. The natural magic trick is responsible for the color of the North American blue jay as well as the sky on a summer day.

Like its predecessor, Eating the Sun is full of word appreciation. In Sanders's chapter about the orbits of planets, she writes that "we should be glad that orbits are not perfectly circular" because it allows us to describe the phenomenon as "perihelion," a word that's "enough to make a person weak at the knees." Between the chapters are colorful drawings that, like her writing, encourage a childlike awe. --Amy Brady, freelance writer and editor