Saturday, February 28, 2009
A Short History of Nearly Everything!
by le fabuleux Bill Bryson.
Quickie Recap: First, let me confess that the exclamation mark up there is my own addition. I think Bryson should consider adding it for his next edition. To recap this book would be ridiculous, as it is indeed a history of nearly everything - the origins of the universe, human ancestry, and everything before, since, and in between.
Quickie Review that's maybe not so quick: When I first read this book, I was blown away. Sorry if I've ever used that expression here before: if I have, I take it back, I take them all back and reserve it solely for this one. This was nearly life-changing, I kid you not. It was brilliant. I felt exhilarated - this guy was not mistaking me for an idiot, just a curious person who would like to be reminded of the things I probably learned in grade school. And then he expands. He digs around. He presents the awesome, interesting facts, and I just ate it right up. I couldn't believe my luck - here was this great, entertaining book that I kept putting down to share tidbits with others, that also had me learning new things and remembering old things and making me thirsty to know more. What a combination! It's the very thing that authors strive for all the time and yet hardly ever achieve. Is there anything this guy can't do (except return my phone calls?)
Now, the Short History of Nearly Everything is short in terms of how much history there is, but in terms of books, it's still pretty long. However, a most marvellous thing has come along - A Really Short History of Nearly Everything! (again, italics and excitement are my own.) This is the condensed (and illustrated!) version, and it appealed to me immediately. Only once I was in the middle of it did I think that perhaps its intended audience was children. But I refuse to feel childish reading this wonderful thing. It's just way too awesome! I learned how to become a fossil (it's harder than you think!) and that it's fun to cough on things just to make gross science.
Quickie Review: This book is in my top ever reads without a doubt. This is a book for other books to look up to. Once again, Bill Bryson has gotten it exactly right.