Mostly Everything

Audible Recommendation: A Short History of Nearly Everything


During the holidays I had wanted to pick up a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers on Audible after a tease read from Fully Booked, High Street. I swear, I can go all out with bookstores, having finished books while waiting for people. As it turned out, a good friend from high school read my mind and got me a hard copy for Christmas, bless his soul!

So that left me with a free credit on Audible … and another good option: I’ve heard about Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything being recommended as a good listen, given that for all intents and purposes – is a science book.

Bryson describes graphically and in layman’s terms the size of the universe, and that of atoms and subatomic particles. He then explores the history of geology and biology, and traces life from its first appearance to today’s modern humans, placing emphasis on the development of the modern Homo sapiens. Furthermore, he discusses the possibility of the Earth being struck by a meteor, and reflects on human capabilities of spotting a meteor before it impacts the Earth, and the extensive damage that such an event would cause. He also focuses on some of the most recent destructive disasters of volcanic origin in the history of our planet, including Krakatoa and Yellowstone National Park. A large part of the book is devoted to relating humorous stories about the scientists behind the research and discoveries and their sometimes eccentric behaviors. Bryson also speaks about modern scientific views on human effects on the Earth’s climate and livelihood of other species, and the magnitude of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and the mass extinctions caused by some of these events. [Good ‘ol Wikipedia]

The perfect book for the sci-fi nut. Especially now that I’m re-watching Enterprise, the “new” 2005 Dr. Who, and Big Bang Theory.

There are three versions available on audio – two unabridged versions read by William Roberts and Richard Matthews – but I opted for the third abridged version read by Bill Bryson himself.