Imagine a book detailing the most horrific natural disasters conceivable by the human mind. Now imagine it detailing disasters not even conceivable by the human mind, on a scale so large and terrifying that the most devastating cataclysms known to date are like a candle to a firestorm. Even more aptly, like an ember to the end of the WORLD!
Spare a thought for how much more terrifying this is for a tiny monkey*.
This is Death from the Skies!, another book by Philip Plait, PhD. In his book, Phil Plait delights in explaining the various threats the earth faces on a constant basis from outer space. Asteroids, gamma ray bursts (or GRBs) and gluttonous black holes. Still Phil Plait eases the fear by telling us exactly how likely these events are and what, if anything, we can do about them.
I won't lie, the book makes you feel very very small and puts all petty concerns firmly and brutally into perspective. At the same time though, it makes you take another look at the staggering, truly breath-taking beauty of the universe we live in.
This is absolutely recommended reading for anyone, regardless of educational background.
*5 cm tall, or thereabouts.