Brief history of the world, briefly

For Christmas Eve, I’ve decided to dig into Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, and I’ve already passed the 400 page mark. It has a light, irreverent tone where he manages to summarize the major sciences from cell theory to M theory, all its major players, and the kind of arcane trivia that Douglas Adams and Michael Palin thrived on.

And how! Who thought the field of science could be so juicy, or scientists such drama queens? Like the fact Einstein had a son out of wedlock, and discreetly set him off for adoption. Or that the majority of the world’s dinosaur fossils have been catalogued by two men whose rivalry and hatred for each other sometimes culminated with each other’s digging teams pelting rocks at each other.

Bryson manages to explain everything clearly and the book just flows like water, all the while fascinating but sobering. Life is both fleeting and rugged, our puny planet is both fragile and lethal. And the universe is very, very big, and yet we do not yet fully comprehend our own oceans.