'Heat' By Bill Streever: The Book We're Talking About

01/14/2013 03:55 pm ET

Heat: Adventures in the World's Fiery Places
by Bill Streever
Little, Brown, $26.99
Published on January 15th

What is it about?
The history and future of mankind’s relationship with heat – be it firewalking, Death Valley, heat stroke, oil, volcanoes or climate change, Streever travels around the world to meet experts, explain complex ideas and attempt stunts of his own, all in the name of entertainingly written pop science.

Why are we talking about it?
The author’s previous book, Cold: Adventures in the world’s coldest places was a national bestseller. This book, equally engaging and filled with fascinating facts, will appeal to old and young, and likely sell like superheatedcakes.

Who wrote it?
Dr. Bill Streever is a biologist and experienced researcher, based in Alaska.

Who will read it?
Fans of Bill Bryson, NPR show Radiolab and consumer science junkies. Kids who love facts. Adults who love telling kids facts.

What do the reviewers say?
Kirkus: "From the author of Cold (2009), another engaging, easy-to-read, free-ranging exploration of a natural phenomenon."

Publishers Weekly: "a fun and informative commentary on a subject that few people think about despite its inherent life and death implications."

Impress your friends:
The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth is 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius) recorded in Death Valley exactly a hundred years ago, in 1913.

Opening line:
On a table in my suburban Anchorage home: a stubby red candle, matches, an electronic thermometer, a bowl of snow, and my ungloved left hand.

Typical passage:
We move in. From ten feet away, I point my thermometer at flowing lava and read a temperature of 1,560 degrees. In fact, it is probably hotter. My thermometer does not provide accurate readings at temperature this high. From here, I feel as if I am standing next to an open furnace. And, in fact, that is exactly what I am doing.

We move closer.

Related on HuffPost:

Best Books of 2013?

Suggest a correction