A Little Of What You Fancy #ashorthistoryofnearlyeverything

Random pictures are a recent walk; just to add colour…

I discovered the joys of Bill Bryson many years ago with his Notes From A Small Island about visiting the UK. When he was asked to leave his B&B in Dover because of a particularly buoyant floater in the communal lavatory I was hooked. He has a style that is both readable and listenable to. ‘Now here’s the thing…’ is a catch phrase I first heard from him.

A few years later I came across a tome in a sort of aged sepia and cream, colours reminiscent of my grandmother’s antimacassars and false teeth, with his name on it.

A Short History of Nearly Everything

it said.

I dipped inside and I was hooked. I holidayed in Devon while reading it and did that awful ‘listen to this’ thing where you repeat the end of a passage for your family to enjoy only they haven’t had the benefit of the previous twenty pages that built the humour in  small increments until you can’t hold it in any more. They stare and shake their heads and go back to flossing while you corpse, unable to understand why they haven’t also experienced spleen-rupture.

This book is Bryson’s attempt to explain stuff: the planets and Big Bang; where we came from and volcanoes; quantum physics and ancient man; dinosaurs and why you can’t have enough chocolate. No not the last piece – that doesn’t need explaining.

Some of this stuff, like untangling DNA and how it’s likely Wyoming will explode soon, geophysically speaking, is both fascinating and liable to provoke brain leakage out of your ears. He does a pretty good job of it, too, without being reductive, tempting as that is.

The reason for this review now is I listened to it as an Audible book recently. Walking Dog is a pleasure and oftentimes lets me order my thoughts and put my little piece of the world to rights. But other days, when my mind just tumbles like a thought avalanche it needs noise to deaden the impact and a read-for book is just the ticket. This was a joy – the ultimate dipper-inner of a tome.

I heartily recommend it. In either format. It’s like learning in the bath – educationally soothing.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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31 Responses to A Little Of What You Fancy #ashorthistoryofnearlyeverything

  1. This is one Bryson I haven’t read. I must rectify that

    Liked by 2 people

  2. willowdot21 says:

    Bill Bryon such a brilliant writer he could make paint drying seem interesting !

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for a lovely stroll, Geoff. The photos were perfect for the post. I’ll have to look into Bill Bryson. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Juliet says:

    I absolutely adore Bill Bryson. I have read them all, except this one. I must get my hands on a copy. Thanks for reminding me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gordon759 says:

    As usual with all his books, a real delight.
    There is, of course, a perfectly good reason why you cannot have enough chocolate. Its mildly narcotic and addictive effects are well known, which is why it was treated with such suspicion on its arrival in Britain, which led to the founder of the British Museum spending a good deal of time producing a modified version of it, which we now enjoy as ‘hot chocolate’.
    There, I thought I would produce a typical Gordon response for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ah, yes! Bryson! I attempted him whilst pregnant, and had enough brain-leaking already to not be able to muscle through. Thanks; I’ll go check it out again.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Lata Sunil says:

    i have 2 or 3 Bill Brysons on my reading shelf waiting patiently. I must get to it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JT Twissel says:

    God help us all if Wyoming does explode! I have heard of Bryson. I’ll have to check him out.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Charli Mills says:

    Norah got me interested in listening to books and now I buy one a month through Audible. Just downloaded A Short History of Nearly Everything Written. Lovel photos from your walk! Reminds me what “no snow” looks like.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m a Bryson fan and for some reason I never did read this one – I’m sure it was some kind of intellectual snobbery on my part – how does one man think he knows the history of nearly everything? Sticking it on the TBR list 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and loved it. I have always meant to read the book you reference. I must get to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Helen Jones says:

    Lovely photos, Geoff, and Bryson is one of my absolute favourite authors, so funny! I made the mistake of taking one of his books into hospital with me to read after abdominal surgery, but was laughing so much I had to stop reading due to the pain 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  13. wanderingtheworldandwondering says:

    I’m definitely going to have to read this one! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


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