What is time? Is it like a river, flowing from the past, to the present and into the future? Is it a man-made construct? Does it even exist on the quantum level? All these questions and many more are expertly answered by Carlo Rovelli in his fascinating Order of Time.
Although more esoteric than some of his previous books, Rovelli (Reality Is Not What It Seems) again combines the lyrical, philosophical and scientific methods and prose to guide readers through an exploration of time on its multiple levels. He is especially intriguing when suggesting that time "passes faster in the mountains than it does at sea level," or that one's perception of time is a matter of perspective. Furthermore, he asserts that language isn't precise enough to describe time, as one person's "here and now" is vastly different for a person located on the opposite side of the globe.
Rovelli also delves a bit into his favorite topic, loop quantum gravity or loop theory, which has been the focus of much of his life's work. Here he dives into the issues of "granularity, indeterminacy and the relational aspect of physical variables" which break down the idea of time to the point of nonexistence. We all have a concept of time, regulated by clocks and the passage of the sun from one day into the next, but Rovelli's explanations and examinations will have one rethinking what it means to be "in the moment" or how to define past, present and future. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer