Redniss – Radioactive

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love & Fallout, 1st ed. by Lauren Redniss

Date read: 28-29 January 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Redniss' Radioactive

Hardback, 205 pages

Published 2010 by It Books

Source: Deschutes Public Library

This was an excellent book! It is a work of art from the tactile cover to the paper used to the (mostly) cyanotype prints to the custom-designed typeface, which was created by the author.

This is the story of Marie Curie and her work, of the men in her life and their work, of her family and their work, of the times, and of science. It does not focus entirely on the Curie’s and spins off into other issues such as the bombing of Hiroshima,  Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, The Manhattan Project and Irving Lowen’s FBI file, radium-based face cream, famous Poles, and so forth.

The use of color is generally excellent but, while I understand the intent, the medium-dark gray on black does not work (p. 106). It is appropriate as it is Marie’s description of being faced with Pierre’s lifeless body after he was run down by a horse-drawn carriage but it almost impossible to read.

There are some endnotes, which mostly provide citations to the various quotes used throughout.

Highly recommended! Excellent and beautiful. Although it did leave me wanting far more details of some things. I may have to read a “proper” biography of this remarkable woman.

This is the 33rd book in my GN2015

It also counts for my Nonfiction Reading Challenge.

Update (30 January 2015): This also meets the A book based on a true story criterion for the 2015 Reading Challenge.

Joining the 2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge

Thanks to Joining the 2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge, a post by my friend, Angel aka The Itinerant Librarian, I learned about the 2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge.

I believe I will join.

Traditional Chesterfield armchair

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at

Rules: The Challenge: Read any non-fiction book(s), adult or young adult. That’s it. You can choose anything. Memoirs? Yes. History? Yes. Travel? Yes. You get the idea? Absolutely anything that is classified as non-fiction counts for this challenge.

This challenge will last from January 1 to December 31, 2015. You can sign up anytime throughout the year.

I am not limiting the challenge to bloggers. You can also link to a review you wrote on another site, such as GoodReads or LibraryThing.

Crossovers with other challenges are acceptable, and feel free to read your books in any format you like.


  • Dilettante–Read 1-5 non-fiction books
  • Explorer–Read 6-10
  • Seeker–Read 11-15
  • Master–Read 16-20

All the above from the sign-up post at The Introverted Reader.

I am signing up at the Seeker level. A) I like that level title best, although Explorer could be cool; B) I have already finished one nonfiction book this year and am currently reading six, four seriously, one I may stop soon, one maybe I’m still reading; and C) I may have already finished 24 graphic novels but take a look at this Reading goals for 2015: there are only four works of fiction.