Wednesday, 13 February 2008

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

I decided this year, that instead of just buying interesting second hand books about science, I would make a real effort to actually read them! (A particularly useful decision, given the fact that I'll be working at this year's Edinburgh International Science Festival!). Bill Bryson's Short History of Nearly Everything was the ideal book to read to get me back into reading science. Its the history of the earth and the history of scientific discovery. Its engagingly written and informative, full of facts and interesting digressions. I did feel that the last few chapters on human evolution were a little rushed, but that is a minor criticism and the final chapter on how humans directly and indirectly cause the extinctions of large numbers of living species is sobering indeed. I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting to start reading more about science.

8 comments:

Ričardas said...

Very good New Year's resolution. I'd better check my shelves myself for few long forgotten books. People, let's read them! :)

Bill said...

I second the nomination. You do a real service in recommending.

a very public sociologist said...

Haha, good luck with getting through your book collection. I acquired way more books last year than I read and so now I'm doomed to working my way through every single one. I'm determined to be the only person in Britain who's actually read their entire bookshelf!

Despairing said...

Agreed about the Bill Bryson.

I've been evangelising all over the internuts in the last couple of months about The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. The basic premise is that humanity disappears overnight for some unknown reason, and Weisman then starts a thought experiment to determine exactly what would happen to the rest of the planet. It takes in multiple scientific disciplines much as Bryson does. Highly recommended.

Rabbits' Guy said...

The Immense Journey by Loren Eisley .. that is my current read. Those others sound great as well!

Nabeel said...

But I don't understand why did you buy them if you never read them?

Tracey said...

I just love buying books, and can spend many, many hours scouring bookstores for that perfect find. Secondhand bookstores are even more fun. You've inspired me to try and find some time to actually read some of my purchases.

I haven't read any Bill Bryson, but I know he's supposed to be very good. I might have to check this one out.

Tracey

Crafty Green Poet said...

Nabeel - thanks for visiting and commenting, I buy them because they look interesting and I always intend to read them, but I just have never until now prioritised reading science books.

A very public sociologist, thanks for visiting - I know that feeling!

Despairing - yes The World Without us sounds great, its on my list of books to look out for.

Rabbits Guy - thanks for sharing your current read!

Tracey - I love bookstores too!