Explosive reading

I spend the weekend reading Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon.

bomb

The book’s been on all sorts of awards lists lately and I’ve seen it highly recommended for reluctant readers. I had to check it out. And my first thought, upon picking it up, was What the heck? How can this be good for reluctant readers?

It’s text. Only text. In multi-page passages. Basically, it’s the exact opposite of the non-fiction books that I write for reluctant readers.

And yet…

Once you start reading Bomb, you can’t put it down. It’s a captivating page-turner of a story. Which is shocking, when you consider the following:

a. It has approximately six billion characters.
b. Many of those characters are rather nerdy physicists.
c. It’s about history.
d. It contains a lot of scientific detail.

And yet, the book reads like a spy thriller.

I can only come up with one explanation for this phenomenon: the skill of the writer. If I were wearing a hat right now, I would take it off to Steve Sheinkin. Bomb is an amazing book.

(And if I were running Roaring Brook Press right now, I’d be publishing a cross-over edition in trade paperback, pronto. Ideally before my Dad’s birthday in June.)