By djberg on Jul 18, 2006
I just got back from two weeks of holiday in Thailand. It was a blast. We made the round. Starting in Phuket for some time in the sun. Then on to Chiang Mai for some time shopping and trekking. Then on to Bangkok for more shopping and a bit of city life. The good news is that I got some time off the grid and got a chance to do some reading.
I just finished A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Bryson is typically known for his witty chronicles of his travels. However this book was quite different. Bryson found himself viewing the world in wonder (from a plane as a matter of fact). You see, he didn't know much about what made this planet (Earth in case you guessed wrong) and how it worked. His desire to know more drove him to dedicate three years of his life to reading just about everything he could get his hands on that related to planet Earth. The book in fact is his description of just about everything he read. In fact, why he calls it A Short History of Nearly Everything is because it is almost just that. The book traverses such subjects as the universe, the earth, planets, atomic science, chemistry, biology and anthropology. Some might consider reading about science from a guy who writes funny travel logs is not all that wise, however I have to say that Bryson has done a stellar job of taking rather complex subjects and distilling them down into something most people will understand. It was just the right level, not too dilute and no too overbearing.
I would suggest this book to anyone who would trully want a great overview of science in the past 300 or so years. In fact, I think this book would make a great school text that all science students should read.
If you get a chance, pick it up. Well worth the time. And it won't take you the three years that it took Bryson.