Daily Archives: October 15, 2019

Bill Bryson’s new book

NPR Morning Edition: Bill Bryson’s Latest Is A Different Kind Of Journey — Into ‘The Body’.

“Bill Bryson is beloved for his travel writing, but his new book takes us not to Australia or to Europe or to Iowa, but on a journey inside our own bodies. And it’s called — naturally — The Body. Bryson says he’s genuinely fascinated by the ways our bodies work. “I mean, once you start delving into the body and how it’s put together, and what a miracle life is when you think about it,” he says, “each of us is made up of 37 trillion cells, and there’s nothing in charge. I mean all of those cells, you just have chaotic activity going on, and little chemical signals going from one cell to another. And yet somehow, all this random chaotic activity results in a completely sentient, active, thinking human being.””

NPR Book Review: Bill Bryson’s ‘The Body’ Is Missing His Characteristic Wit, Ingenious Way Of Analysis. By Kamil Ahsan.

“The truth is, it’s just not clear who The Body is for. Is it the sort of book targeted to the children bored by textbooks, or is it targeted to the casual adult reader? Is it meant for people who care for and know about the human body, or is it for people who know nothing about it? It is a strange burden to put on a writer to expect an entirely different book than the one that is present, but for many long-time Bryson fans, this may be exactly the conundrum.

And no matter who the reader is, it is hard to imagine The Body making the kind of incredible impact that A Short History did, especially in a time when so many wonderful books with similar scope exist.”

I loved “A Short History of Nearly Everything” (and many other of Bryson’s books) and was very much looking forward to reading Bryson’s new book, but now I’m not sure I want to read it. The author recommends four other books on the same subject that he thinks are better, so maybe I’ll read one of those instead?