"Theo Gray's Mad Science - Experiments That You Can Do At Home, But Probably Shouldn't" is one of the most entertaining books I've read in a long time. It is filled with just the kind of cool stuff you wish you'd been allowed to do in high school if only the insurance would have covered it. Most of the 50+ experiments contained in the book could easily maim or kill the incautious, but would be so much fun if you pulled them off.
Mr. Gray shows you how to do things like make titanium in your backyard, make glass from sand, melt just about anything, make salt from pure sodium and chlorine gas, and shrink coins by passing current through them. But don't touch the bank of 12,000 volt capacitors used to shrink the coins. The smallest touch will kill you, so he says, and I'm not going to doubt him.
Few of the experiments are practical, cheap or easy, and all of them require some knowledge of chemistry and/or engineering, but that doesn't keep the book from being fun to read. Mr. Gray's pithy commentary, accompanied by beautiful photographs, are enough to keep you turning the pages wondering if you really might be able to make your own trick metal coffee spoons that melt in the coffee and send them to your kid brother as a prank. Just don't breathe the mercury vapors from that engine you're building and everything should be fine.
So long as you remember to steer clear of the capacitors.