A Short History

bryson-everythingI have a big stack of to-read books, some by friends. But because I’m in the midst of heavy revisions, I’m reluctant to read novels that might catch my attention and steal time I don’t have to spare.

So at night I’m reading some non-fiction. Specifically, Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. I already knew I liked the book, as I’d read at least a third of it some years ago when I was working on my master’s degree. I got too busy with course work to finish, but I always meant to, and I thought highly enough of it that I loaned it out to friends.

It’s not, of course, a history of EVERYTHING, it’s a history of mankind and science: a layman’s overview of who discovered what when, and a little bit about who those people were and what they did and how they did it, and broad discussions about different fields of science and their important discoveries. Reading just a little every night I’m now about halfway and am enjoying nearly every minute of it, enough that I’m probably going to try some more of Bryson’s non-fiction. Because my to-be-read pile needs to be deeper, naturally.

Bryson has a truly engaging style, stuffed with facts but amiable and amusing at the same time. It’s a joy to read. I love how he combines the history with the story of the people who made it. There are some truly heroic, bizarre, and occasionally dastardly people out there, and some of them were scientists.

Speaking of book reviews, I guess I better get to re-reading some Brackett before the end of the year!