Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud, a review

Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud is a non-fiction on Geology that discusses how the Earth’s temporal rhythms are critical to humanities survival. This was gifted to me by the lovely Kari who is always here to encourage me to read more non-fiction and geological reads.

Timefulness: How thinking like a geologist can help save the world, by Marcia Bjornerud

I will start with something bad for this book, unfortunately. And frustratingly it comes from the third page from the end of the damn book. So annoying! The final paragraph for this section contains ableism directed towards autistic people. I’m going to include the quote beneath so you can see it.

As members of a technological society that can keep Nature at arm’s length most of the time, we have an almost autistic relationship with the Earth. We are rigid in our ways, savants when it comes to certain narrow obsession, but dysfunctional in other regards, because we wrongly view ourselves as separate from the rest of the natural world. Convinced that Nature is something outside us, a mute and immutable thing external to us, we are unable to empathise or communicate with it.

Timefulness by Marcia Bjornerud, end of Chapter 6, p179 in my paperback edition.

Thank you to Veronica and Bekka, two autistic bookish creators, who looked at this paragraph for me to confirm that it is icky from an own voices POV. Of course they are only two individuals out of a collective, but their voice is more meaningful than mine. Please check out their links and follow them as they’re wonderful people with great channels!

So. There’s that. Which immediately negated all the positives I had gained from this book. Personally? I can no longer recommend the book. But if you’d like to know my thoughts on the rest of the book, then the review continues below.

If you’re coming into this with minimal geological knowledge then don’t be concerned, as Bjornerud explains everything in the depth required to understand her points. However, it does use some more scientific terminology than I would expect from a base level book (not even geological, electrocariograms anyone?).

It does discuss the benefits of geology as a more mainstream discipline, along with mentioning the time timeline of geology itself. Something that seems to be common in quite a few geological non fictions but doesn’t seem to be all that pertinent to the authors intended thoughts here. However, if you’re wanting to know more about geology as a whole but don’t want to dive into a textbook? This could be a good shout!

This is very much a plead to humanity to recognise the speed at which alterations are happening to this planet. Faster than we’ve measured in prior geological timescales. And whilst the planet will endure long after we are gone, human bodies, and other living creatures on this floating rock, aren’t able to adapt to these conditions quickly enough and our lives with be snuffed out.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Research: 7, Uniqueness: 6, Readability: 5, Personal Impact: 5, Intrigue: 6, Informativeness: 6, and Enjoyment: 5, which gives an average of 5.71 and a 3* rating. But of course this is not inclusive of that very end section.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: ableism.

Unfortunately this is not a book I will be recommending. I think I’ll keep it on my shelves for a while, as it did have good points that I’d like to return to. But that ableism? Please, if you want a book like this yourself, look at picking a different one up.


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