What We’re Reading: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

The rise and fall of the dinosaurs: A new history of a lost world by steve brusatte

This book was read by Meredith Lewis, the [mostly] Orange County Campus Librarian, and is available for checkout at the Orange County Campus Library.

Title: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World
Author: Steve Brusatte

Genre: Popular Science, General Dinosaur Awesomeness

#ReadGreatThings2018 Category: A popular science book; A book that takes place during or is about a historical event 50 years or more in the past [this historical event took place a few million years ago]

Find out more about the Read Great Things Challenge here.


Why did you choose to read this book?

Because dinosaurs are awesome?

Seriously though, I have a four-year-old friend who was telling me about all these dinosaurs that I never heard of. When I saw this book was coming out, I thought, “Self, if this isn’t a dragging and dull science-y book, you should pick that up because you’re not interested in watching Dinosaur Train (the PBS Kids TV show), but you do want to learn more about dinosaurs.” It was AWESOME, although I listened to the audiobook, so I missed out on the pictures. [The OCC copy is in print and full of pictures. I’d recommend this format over the audiobook for even more enjoyment.]

What did you like about it?

I’m going to make a list here:

  1. It’s an engaging history book–in this case, the history of the Earth through its prehistoric times and then after the extinction of the dinosaurs, which I knew very little about.¬†

  2. It goes into all the newer discoveries about dinosaurs that additional fossils have brought to light, especially regarding how dinosaurs differently evolved after the splitting apart of Pangaea. There are even vignettes where the author goes into, based on fossil evidence, that show how the dinosaurs likely interacted with each other.

  3. It has stuff about the fossil record and how paleontologists use it to draw conclusions and also how fossils are/were discovered and used.

  4. It has an international perspective of dinosaurs, which is cool because while T-Rex’s arms actually were used for something (though, yes, very short), a Brazilian big guy actually did have pretty much non-functional arms. Evolution is fascinating!

  5. It highlights a field in science I wasn’t that familiar with and name drops all these cool paleontologists that I’d never heard of before, but I’m super glad I know of them now.

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?

Am I allowed to say Jurassic Park here? Because of course. [Yes, I am allowed to say Jurassic Park.]

What feeling did the book leave you with?

Well, I’m really excited about dinosaurs.

Who would you recommend the book to?

Anyone who likes science or scientists and delving deeper into what people who “do” science actually do to gather their research. Anyone looking for a grown-up book about dinosaurs. Seriously. It was great. I’m going to buy it for several people for the holidays (and upcoming birthdays… and all occasions I can think of).

What would you pair this book with?

A continued appreciation of those awesome inflatable T-Rex costumes and how so many layers of knowledge and expertise go into scientific discovery. In honor of the East Coast (not us) getting some of our first snow, I’d like to share the following awesome video of an inflatable T-Rex ice skating in case you haven’t seen it.

[No transcript available, but to summarize: A person in an inflatable t-rex costume and white ice skates performs surprisingly well on an ice rink. Occasionally, the t-rex trips on its own tail. Hilarity insues.]

About Meredith Lewis

Meredith is a reference librarian at Durham Tech on both the Main and Orange County Campuses. She likes fantasy, science-fiction, and historical fiction and is trying to be a better reader of non-fiction (just after she finishes that stack of novels on her bedside table...)