Friday, June 25, 2010

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

I was reading a post on MySpace by Lois McMaster Bujold the other day where she was talking about some of the books she has been reading. Now, I am a huge fan of anything Lois writes and, if she recommends a book, I am at least going to give it a try. One of the books she talked about was A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. 

Oddly enough, I am charged with teaching my fifth grade students something about famous scientists as part of their media classes, and so this geography major and history minor librarian needs to know something about the history of science. This book sounded like it would kill two birds with one stone. I would add to my knowledge of the history of science and I would see one of the books that one of my favorite author's was reading. 

I read almost no nonfiction by choice because I usually find the writing sort of boring. Bill Bryson is a very engaging writer and I love his style. So I decided to read a chapter a day of this book. I am going to share just one thought-provoking quote from each chapter and do this post every once in a while so that anyone interested can get a brief taste of the book. 


There seemed to be a mystifying universal conspiracy among textbook authors to make certain the material they dealt with never strayed to near the realm of the mildly interesting and was always at at least a long-distance phone call from the frankly interesting.
How to Build a Universe

Incidentally, disturbance from cosmic background radiation is something we have all experienced. Tune your television to any channel it doesn't receive, and about 1 percent of the dancing static you see is accounted for by this ancient remnant of the Big Bang. The next time you complain that there is nothing on, remember that you can always watch the birth of the universe.
Welcome to the Solar System

Of course, it is possible that alien beings travel billions of miles to amuse themselves planting crop circles in Wiltshire or frightening the daylights out of some poor guy in a pickup truck on a lonely road in Arizona (they must have teenagers, after all), but it does seem unlikely.
That is it for today. I hope you found some to amuse you or to ponder here. Stay tuned for our next installment.....

Lois McMaster Bujold on MySpace
Lois's website
Bill Bryson's website


  1. Hi Kathy!

    I found your blog on The Follow My Book Blog Friday, so I'm stopping by to check it out.

    The place looks great.

    I'll be following you!


  2. Loved this book. There is a lot to absorb from it but you can pick up lots of fun facts and Bill Bryson is the best at making dry topics interesting


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