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  1. "It doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." Reading this book made me think of that famous line uttered by Rick in "Casablanca." What a beautiful, wild and wondrous world this is. And what a tiny little speck am I in it. A friend loaned me this book, and he raved about it. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it or not. I didn't study much science in college, taking "Understanding the Weather" for an easy A, only to find the cushy professor who always taught the class was replaced that year by someone who cared about cumulus clouds I loved this book, perhaps because of my lack of knowledge about the topic. Reading it on an airplane beside my college-aged kids, they rolled their eyes at me as I shared tidbits. "Everyone knows that, mom. We learned that in fourth grade." My educational shortcomings aside, this is a book that scientists and the less scientifically inclined can enjoy. Richard Fortey, a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London, writes extensively about life on earth, in all of its stages. I enjoyed his writing style, and I never felt like I was reading a biology textbook. His tone is conversational, and he even throws in pieces of poetry, here and there, for people whose brains work like mine. I learned a great deal reading this book, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
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