Thursday, December 22, 2011

In a Nutshell: Bill Bryson's A Really Short History of Nearly Everything

“There isn’t anything in existence—not a thing—that isn’t amazing and interesting when you look into it.”

For example...

Every atom in your body has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to being you.

If you are an average-sized kid, you have enough potential energy inside you to explode with the force of several hydrogen bombs.

Even the most jaded of science-resistant kids couldn't resist at least investigating how those amazing factoids can be true, and it's like eating peanuts: it's hard to stop with just one. From the beginning swirls of energy and matter in astrophysics to our own dear internal atoms and microbiology, Bryson makes the reader feel part of the whole amazing history of what we know and how we know it called science.

From the history of the Big Bang and everything that has come afterward, Bill Bryson's funny and engrossing A Really Short History of Nearly Everything (Delacorte Young Readers' Edition, 2011) is just the gift for middle and young adult readers. Those who are of the nerdlike persuasion will find it totally absorbing, and the avoiders of the physical sciences out there won't be able to resist Bryson's lively style and fantastic factoids. Everyone and anyone short of holders of doctorates in these fields can learn something from this book and come up with some deep thoughts as a result of their reading this one.

The New York Times said that this book "brims with strange and amazing facts . . . destined to become a modern classic of science writing.”



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