Julia Baird “Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark”

“The sea was black and the sky was black and I felt a little nervous: sharks feed in the dark. But just a few meters out from the shore, the sparkles appeared. I was transfixed. My fingers threw out fistfuls of sequins with every stroke. A galaxy of stars flew past my goggles. It was as though I was flying through space, like the opening scenes of the Star Wars movies, gliding rapidly through a universe only I could see.”

Phosphorescence is a natural phenomenon that seafarers through centuries have described as “welding torch”, “a luminous serpent” or “a mass of boiling turquoise foam”. The above quote is the author’s own experience with phosphorescence, which is also a common theme in the book – finding light in life’s dark situations.

Part science writing, part memoir, author and journalist Julia Baird’s book is a collection of essays on subjects like why we need silence, modern forest therapy movement in Japan, storm chasing and predicting the weather, lessons from cuttlefish and many other thoughts and observations embedded with interesting facts from science, biology, theology etc.

Not only does this book have a gorgeous cover, but it also contains beauty throughout, even in its darkest chapters. She writes very personal stories about surviving cancer, heartbreak, being a parent, failures and many more.

The book is an inspiring read. Sometimes the adult world takes over and we forget to experience awe and wonder. This book is perfect for reminding us to find beauty in nature and in the everyday mundane, to nurture friendships and accept imperfection in our lives.

London: William Collins, 2021

Check from e-catalogue ESTER.

Elo Pruss

Department of Literature in Foreign Languages

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *