When the Earth Shakes


“When the Earth Shakes” is an educational book written by Simon Winchester who is a geologist that became a writer. In this particular book he writes about earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis.

I typically do not tend to pick scientific books to read. So for me this book starts out a bit slow. However by page 10 I was totally intrigued and found myself excited to read what he was going to explain next. Even though the subject can be intense the author has a good sense of humor that at times made me laugh out loud. For example, when he was telling stories of his personal experiences like the time he encountered a water monitor and threw his sandwich at it.

My favorite part was the section about tsunamis because he went in to intense detail. He described some of the biggest tsunamis including what caused them, how they formed, how wide and tall they were, how fast they travelled, and how much damage they caused. He also shared legends and stories of those who have lived through tsunamis. He went in to similar details for volcanos and earthquakes but in my opinion, the tsunami section was the best because I love the ocean.

This book can bring out strong emotions. The details and the pictures that show what everything looked like as they were happening and after the fact makes you feel like it is real and happening right now. At times I was like “this is so cool” or “wow, how interesting!” then at other times I was like “how awful, so many people died” and felt sad.

I highly recommend this book. Especially for people who are fascinated with science in general and with natural disasters. This book provides great examples and diagrams that explains the science, provides fun facts and stories, and shares how a single disaster can impact the entire world.