Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything

It has been some time since I wrote a post so I thought I'd start out with a little something I have been reading for some time now. Bill Bryson's book is everything that one could hope for: a simplified and exemplary sort of encyclopedia of all that is and was science. From the Big Bang to tiny quarks and electrons the book describes and explains it all, using a clear method to make it more accessible to the general public.

The book was an instant bestseller either due to the simplified language or the success of Bill Bryson's other creations including The Lost Continent and Notes from a Small Island. Bill Bryson wrote this book because he was dissatisfied with his scientific knowledge, mostly due to boring and uninteresting lessons at school. He sought to improve this knowledge for himself and for the whole world by use of this book.

For me this story of science has been a magnificent travel through space and time, something that Bryson was born for. It creates an atmosphere of interest and discontent among its readers due to their ignorance for the basic facts of science and of life itself. A short history provides a cure for such ignorance accompanied with a humorous yet factual style of writing that only Bill Bryson can provide.

"It was as if [the textbook writer] wanted to keep the good stuff secret by making all of it soberly unfathomable."
Bryson, on the state of science books used within his school.
 In my opinion, the book has been an interesting read either because of its ground-breaking writing or due to its scientific facts accompanied with soapy stories of Bill Bryson's past. However I will not attempt to force this book on anyone with a short attention span. Trust me, even I have dozed off when reading it sometimes.