Title: A Short History of Nearly Everything
Author: Bill Bryson
Narrator: Richard Matthews
Genre: Nonfiction – Science
Audio: 17 hours 48 minutes
Publisher: Books on Tape
A Short History of Nearly Everything is exactly what it sounds like. Bill Bryson takes us from the Big Bang to the evolution of humankind. In between we learn everything else: the universe, atoms, volcanoes, plate tectonics, radioactive decay, the rise of life, and more (yes, more).
This was actually my first Bill Bryson. Shocker, I know. But I’m hooked. I listened to the audio and I had so much fun learning that I found excuses to listen whenever I could. I am a bit of a science nerd in a completely layperson way. I always say that if I’d had better science teachers growing up, I’d probably be a kickass scientist right now. I especially love the science of space and the universe so that was my favorite part. But even things that I didn’t think I had that much interest in were fascinated when told by Bryson.
The narration was wonderful. Richard Matthews has an irresistible British accent that I could listen to for hours (and did). Be careful not to grab the abridged version (like I accidentally did at first). While narrated by Bryson himself, it is about a third the length of the unabridged version and you don’t want to miss any of it.
Buy It Now: IndieBound; Powell’s; Book Depository; Amazon
I LOVE Bryson!
I remember going on a beach vacation and picking up a worn copy of A Walk In the Woods in a used book shop. I thought it would be a good distraction if I got bored on the beach. I could not put it down. I read it straight through the day and into the night and laughed over much of it.
Since then, I’ve read several of his other books but not A Short History. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I own that one and I’m looking forward to finally reading it.
I have this on my tbr, so I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it so much! I’m a bit of a science nerd myself, so this sounds totally up my alley.
Love, love, love Bill Bryson.
Any audiobook actually read by him is amazing. He has this half-American-half-British accent that is just about the best thing ever to listen to.
His sounds like an audio book that I’d enjoy. Loved Bryson reading The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid…just awesome.
I love Bryson’s work and have read 5 of his books, but not this one. He is so funny and I hope you get a chance to read more of his work. I’ve definitely got this one on my list.
This is going to sound weird, but I have had this book on my TBR pile for forever. Now, that is not a weird thing. What is, is that it is a special hardcover edition with many illustrations that is super heavy. I have been excited about reading the book for a long long time, and I have started it many a time. And I always really enjoy what I read, but I somehow never finish it. The book is so impractical to take anywhere, or even to read on the couch, that I just never finish it. I guess this summer, I should sit down and read it already.
Glad to know that you loved this book, Michelle! This was the first Bryson book that I read and I loved it. It is one of my alltime favourite books. When the special illustrated edition came out I went and got it immediately. I have multiple editions of it on my bookshelf 🙂 If any of my friends show a little bit of inclination to reading a book on science, I gift this book to them. I love it so much 🙂 I still remember the passage where Bryson talks about Yellowstone National park and says – ‘It looks like Yellowstone National park is due now’. It gave me goose bumps when I read it first. It still does.
Thanks for the “slew” of comments, Vishy. I am going to be terrified when I finally make it to Yellowstone because of Bill Bryson.
I’ll probably read the Anne Fadiman book soon-ish. I’ll let you know when I’m thinking about it.
I have been a poor commenter lately that I thought I will redeem myself 🙂 Hope you enjoy your Yellowstone trip, whenever you get to visit it. If I get to visit it, I am hoping to carry Bryson’s book with me and do a Bryson’s tour of Yellowstone 🙂
Looking forward to sharing thoughts with you on the Anne Fadiman book. I will wait for your ‘signal’ before starting to read it 🙂 It will be wonderful to share thoughts and compare notes.
I really enjoyed this one when I listened to it a few years ago. I’m glad you did, too!
I just keep hearing how good this audio is. I really want The Hubster to listen to it and he only listens to audiobooks when we’re on a road trip. This is too long for any trips we have coming up. I might have to split it over a couple of road trips even though they’re a month or so apart because I want him to hear it too.
I’ve always wanted to try Bryson but have put it off thinking I might find the books boring. I’d be much more willing to try the audio so thanks for recommending it.