Nonfiction review: “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson
This really is what it says on the tin: a book that gives an overview of the history of natural history and science. Bryson tackles this vast subject with the sarcastic wit that characterizes his writing, spicing up what might otherwise be a dry subject. It is a good book is you’re curious about science but lack the specialized vocabulary of scientists; it is what is known as ‘popular science’. I read it in high school and had no problem understanding it (though admittedly I was already on a science-career track at that point).
I often have problems reading nonfiction, finding it often too dry and boring. I definitely didn’t have a problem here, because Bryson’s sense of humor is something I really grok, and he managed to add it to every part of this book. I also really enjoyed the stories of the people/history behind certain scientific discoveries: they were often unbelievable or hilarious. Overall, it was a very interesting and amusing read.
A couple of the topics in the book have been altered by recent discoveries, making what’s written here not quite true anymore, but most of it is still relevant and fascinating.