The Planets

This is one of three titles under consideration for this year's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, which will focus on the theme The Universe: Yours To Discover. What did you think of this book? Tell us!

With her blockbuster New York Times bestsellers Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter, Dava Sobel used her rare and luminous gift for weaving difficult scientific concepts into a compelling story to garner rave reviews and attract readers from across the literary spectrum. Now, in The Planets, Sobel brings her full talents to bear on what is perhaps her most ambitious subject to date—the planets of our solar system.

The sun’s family of planets becomes a familiar place in this personal account of the lives of other worlds. Sobel explores the planets’ origins and oddities through the lens of popular culture, from astrology, mythology, and science fiction to art, music, poetry, biography, and history. A perfect gift and a captivating journey, The Planets is a gorgeously illustrated study of our place in the universe that will mesmerize everyone who has ever gazed with awe at our night sky.

Dava Sobel, a former New York Times science reporter, is also the author of Longitude (1995) - which won several literary prizes, including the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and "Book of the Year" in England and Galileo's Daughter (1999) - which won the 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for science and technology, a 2000 Christopher Award, and was a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in biography.

In her thirty years as a science journalist she has written for many magazines, including Audubon, Discover, Life and The New Yorker, served as a contributing editor to Harvard Magazine and Omni, and co-authored five books, including Is Anyone Out There? with astronomer Frank Drake.

A 1964 graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Ms. Sobel attended Antioch College and the City College of New York before receiving her bachelor of arts degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1969. She holds honorary doctor of letters degrees from the University of Bath, in England, and Middlebury College, Vermont, both awarded in 2002.

Ms. Sobel received the 2001 Individual Public Service Award from the National Science Board as well as the prestigious Bradford Washburn Award from the Boston Museum of Science. From January through March 2006, Ms. Sobel served as the Robert Vare Nonfiction Writer in Residence at the University of Chicago, where she taught a seminar in science writing while pursuing research on her new project—a stage play about sixteenth-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, called And the Sun Stood Still..

The PBS science program “NOVA” produced a television documentary called Lost At Sea — The Search for Longitude which was based on Ms. Sobel's Longitude. Granada Films of England created a dramatic version of the story, Longitude, aired on A&E as a four-hour made-for-TV movie. A two-hour “NOVA” documentary based on Galileo's Daughter, called “Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens,” first aired on public television in October 2002, and won an Emmy in the category of historical programming. A “NOVA” adaptation of The Planets is currently being planned.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!