"A Physicist is an atom's way of thinking about the atom." - an anonymous quote from this book.
A collection of atoms named Bill Bryson has written a very enjoyable book in which he thinks about atoms, the big bang, the ocean floor, dinosaurs, e=mc2 and basically everything thing else important that would help you understand what scientists currently know about the universe and life within it. You'll learn a lot but you'll be startled by how much we still don't know and how much is just plain beyond most of us.
Bryson gets into biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy and physics and helps to explain all of this by writing with a wry sense of humor. The audiobook is read by a British gentlemen named Richard Matthews who adds a Monty Python-like sense of the absurd to everything. Bryson never gets too deep into the science of it all. Rather, he makes things interesting by delving into anecdotes about the colorful characters who are responsible for discovering everything we know so far. Since the 17th century, science has been littered with backstabbers, sexual deviants, self-mutilators, religious zealots, and stubborn blowhards. The stories behind the science turn out to be surprisingly entertaining.
I really learned a lot from this book and would have liked it to continue even further. That couldn't have been everything, right?
For a book that begins with a plane crash, this is a slow and uneventful listen. I have to admit that I didn't finish it. I found myself thinking about other things while the narrator read aloud the ponderous inner thoughts of the uninteresting main character.
I was a big fan of McEwen's previous book, "Atonement". This book seems to lack the intriguing characters and precisely crafted prose of Atonement.
Again I only listened to not even half the book so take my review for what it is worth having not finished it.
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