I haven’t read a Bill Bryson book in a really long time, so when I came across one of his in a secondhand hand shop I knew I had to get it.
A Short History of Nearly Everything is very different from Bryson’s usual work, as he tends to primarily write travel novels. What’s different about him is that he recounts his travels in humerous ways, hence why A Walk in the Woods landed a movie deal (which did not do the novel much justice). I figured if I was going to deviate from my love of fiction to something educational, he was the best author for the job.
A Short History of Nearly Everything details the Big Bang, and how we came to discover how our world functions and the universe around us. What’s great about this book is that it doesn’t make you feel like you’re back in school, and found a nice balance of explaining scientific theories without either treating you like an idiot or using jargon the average person can’t understand. Byrson is one of the few writers who could take on a challenge like this and make it interesting, as his writing style is light and conversational. I tried to read a history book about pirates once and couldn’t finish it because the author some how made the most interesting characters in history boring.
Personally, I would have liked more human history but that might be a future endeavour for Bryson. I was also relieved it didn’t cause me to spiral into a big existential crisis like science documentaries have done in the past.
If you too want to learn more about how the universe and world works, and how we got here in the first place, then this is a book I’d recommend. It was described as a “rough guide” to science and I’m very inclined to agree with that sentiment.