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The Secret Life of Dust by Hannah Holmes

The Secret Life of Dust

From the Cosmos to the Kitchen Counter, the Consequences of Little Things

by Hannah Holmes

Title Details

Unabridged Edition
Running Time
11 Hrs. 22 Min.


A mesmerizing expedition around our dusty world.

Some see dust as dull stuff, useless at best, and sneeze-inducing at worst. But in the hands of writer Hannah Holmes, dust becomes a dazzling and mysterious force. As Holmes says, dust is a messenger, and air is its medium. And by the end of this fascinating journey through The Secret Life of Dust, we cannot help but agree.

Humble dust, we discover, built the very planet we walk upon. It tinkers with the weather and it spices the air we breathe. Billions of tons of tiny particles rise into the air annually - the dust of deserts and forgotten kings mixing with volcanic ash, sea salt, leaf fragments, scales from butterfly wings, shreds of T-shirts, and fireplace soot. And eventually, of course, all this dust must settle.

The story of restless dust begins among exploding stars, then treks through the dinosaur beds of the Gobi Desert, digs into Antarctic glaciers - and probes the dark underbelly of the living-room couch. And there is good company on this journey: Holmes gathers for us a delightful, and, by necessity, highly inventive, cast of characters - the scientists who study dust. Some investigate its dark side: how it killed off dinosaurs and how its industrial descendants are killing us today. Others sample the shower of Saharan dust that nourishes Caribbean jungles; still others venture into the microscopic jungle of the bedroom carpet. Like The Secret Life of Dust, all of them unveil the mayhem - and the magic - wrought by little things.

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