I have noticed that many of the popular science books that are currently available tend to scrimp a little on chemstry. National Geographic's otherwise excellent 'The Science Book', for example, has a criminally short section on chemistry, whilst simultaneously taking a leisurely stroll through astronomy, evolution, geology, ecology and even maths! Not that these subjects are uninteresting, it's simply that I feel chemistry is underepresented.
This is where books like 'The Elements' come in handy. Theodore Gray has done a superb job of making a fascinating subject digestible to those who do not necessarily understand the academic side of chemistry. His book is packed with eye-catching pictures and humorous descriptions. This is a book which is, of course, very light on actual science, but then it's not intended as a technical manual.
One thing I would add is that, given the very large number of photos in the book, the text is inevitably limited. One occasionally has the impression of reading a picture book. This, however, is not a criticism, since many of the photos are interesting and help the reader to retain information by presenting a visual cue.
A good counter-balance to this unabashed visual feast would be John Emsley's far more sober 'Nature's Building Blocks', which has no pictures but instead concentrates on a richer description of each element along with a historical context which is lacking in this volume. One thing I prefer about 'The Elements' is that it proceeds according to the order of the periodic table, beginning with hydrogen and going from there. Emsley's book takes an encyclopaedic approach and begins with actinium.
In conclusion, 'The Elements' is a satisfying book which contains just enough information to retain the interest of an experienced chemistry student whilst all the time remaining entirely accessible to an amateur. Highly recommended.