I have brought this book up about a hundred times in conversation since I finished it two weeks ago. I think my husband is getting tired of my referencing it! It took me a long time to get through it, but I'm so glad I read it. Interesting and funny and frankly just a little bizarre and completely fascinating.
Bryson took it upon himself to write in plain language about a pretty long story - that is, the history of the universe as we know it (or as we don't know it in some cases). He begins quite literally with the birth of the universe. Of course, no human being can really know how the universe began, but Bryson introduces the reader to a lot of theories, both from the past and the present, some based on logic and good sense and some based on...well, rather hair-brained ideas. He takes us through the weights and measurements of the universe and then our planet in particular, and then into the very basis for everything in the universe. He moves through atoms and into molecules and back into subatomic particles and some quantum and particle physics. Then he goes a bit bigger to discuss earth science and then biology, beginning with how life began on this planet. We move through theories of evolution and some really interesting arguments about classifying animal and plant life - and life that seems to fit in no category but its own. He wraps up with the evolution of man from an ape-like creature into...well, the slightly more articulate and less hairy ape-like creatures that constitute modern man.
All along the way, Bryson discusses many theories for everything and exposes the reader the wacky lives of our most important historical scientists and the feuds they had amongst themselves. I got a little bogged down in the physics section, I admit - physics has never been something I understood or was interested in very much - but the interplanetary topics and the earth science and biology topics totally rocked and fascinated me. I learned so much - I kinda feel like this should be a high school science textbook! I would have learned a lot more in high school science if it had been. Totally awesome, and now I'm seeking out more Bryson books to read. Highly recommended!
Okay - now for the meme! Joss posted over on her blog today, Faster than Kudzu, about how several people have told her she looks like Katy Perry, and she thinks they're on crack but is flattered nonetheless. She also posted how someone once told her that she looked like Rod Stewart and she almost murdered them. Cheerfully. She put photos of herself and all of these people on her blog for compare/contrast purposes, and then dared her readers to do the same. I for one am up for it!
I have been most frequently compared to Drew Barrymore. Like most people when someone says they look like a celebrity, I think these people are smoking something special and mind-altering, but I like Drew and I'm flattered by the comparison. Here we are, side by side, me on the left and Drew on the right (in case you wouldn't recognize Drew Barrymore or something):
See the difference? We look nothing alike. At all.
Okay. So, she did also ask for the least flattering comparison. Well, I've never had anyone personally compare me to a celebrity that I was appalled by, but I have done that online thing where you upload your picture and it's supposed to analyze your face and tell you what celebrity you look like? Yeah, that thing pissed me off. It told me I look like this:
Why, yes. Yes, that is Malcolm in the Middle. Grrrr. And on that note...g'night, folks!