“a short history of nearly everything” by bill bryson


It’s been ages since I read anything new. It’s not that I haven’t been reading, I’ve just been reading stuff I’ve read before. But I bought 4 new books a few weeks ago, and this is the first one I chose to read.

Bill Bryson is the also the author of The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way, which I remember reading and loving when I was a senior in high school. And I’ve had this book recommended to me by several different bloggers.

I love this kind of science book. See, I’m fascinated by science, but terrible at grasping the nuts and bolts of it. It just doesn’t gel with the way my brain works, I guess. I’m better with words and things that have no black-and-white correct answer. But give me a good book that presents the fascinating facts without making me solve equations to get there, and I’m hooked.

I also love the behind-the-scenes stuff that this book reveals. Scientists can be very odd people; and there have been some epic battles between them over the centuries. And history is very fickle, oftentimes something would be discovered by a scientist, only to be ignored; and just a few years later another scientist will discover the same thing, and for some reason the world is more receptive to it, and that’s the person whose name goes into the textbooks. Bryson does his best to give those poor forgotten bastards their due.

I’ve written about how Carl Sagan’s books returned to me a sense of awe in the universe, without the need to believe in some magical sky daddy. Bryson continues very much in that tradition; although he’s maybe a little less awe-inspiring, probably because he’s not a scientist himself. But he’s just as interesting a writer.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. worddreams
    Sep 10, 2009 @ 13:52:22

    I’m with you–a truly great book. Took me no time to read despite its length.

  2. Irishgodess13
    Oct 08, 2009 @ 18:02:32

    Hi i am only thirteen but i saw that this girl in my class was reading that book and decided to look it up. I got to your blog and i read the entire thing. I though that this sounded like a cool blg and i decided to follow your blog. but i can’t seem to find out how! haha… email me back please! i’d love to read your blog! 🙂

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