Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a good solid 4 stars, bordering on 5. It's my second venture into the wonderful land of entertaining knowledge that is Bill Bryson and to my delight I loved this book as much as "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid"... a book that is quite different from this one.

You'd think that a history of the universe and Earth would be material best kept out of the vicinity of a daily commute (well, so long as you don't want to fall asleep while driving...) but to my surprise, this audiobook was able to hold my attention better than many novels I've listened to. Somehow Bryson was able to cover these topics in a humorous, intelligent fashion. To my shock I actually understood most of the concepts he covered without much effort. Sure, there were a few parts where he got a little too deep into one topic or another, but overall, it was a great overview of our existence.

Another thing I liked about this book is it got me thinking. I seemed to always have tidbits of cool facts and information I couldn't wait to get home and talk to my husband about. I learned that space is curved and there's no way to get to the end of it. I learned what the space/time continuum is and how planets disrupt it. I learned about all the huge catastrophic events that could wipe out the entire planet at any time without so much as a warning. Heck I even learned about all the backbiting and sabotage that goes on within the scientific community!

In order words, my love for Bill Bryson goes on and I can't wait to delve into another one of his masterpieces. I recommend this book to everyone.

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Paul said...

Thanks for this one! I will definitely give it a read. I'll recommend for you A Brief History of Time (Stephen Hawking) if you haven't read it. It's a little dry, but still pretty good. If he reads the audio book, it will be like HAL-2000 is reading it for you!

Also, anything by Brian Greene. He has quite a few, but the Elegant Universe and Fabric of the Cosmos are both great. He does some programs for Nove, so if he reads his own books they will be great. As I heard someone say once, it would be amazing to get baked and just listen to him talk about string theory.

Rachel said...

I highly recommend A Walk In the Woods! The audiobook is delightful.

Karen said...

Paul, I actually started reading "A Brief History of Time" a few years ago and it just got too techy & as you said, very dry. I didn't make it very far! Maybe it'd make more sense now that I have a basic understanding of some of these things.

I'm definitely adding all these books to my to-read list! I love reading things that make me feel smarter. :D

Collette Smith said...

Got a kick out of "The Mother Tongue" by Bill Bryson.

Also, I LERVE Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene. Sexy beasts.