December 10, 2007

Books Read 2007 (Part 9)

I cannot possibly recommend this book highly enough. While flying in a plane over the ocean, Bryson recalls looking at the cover of his fourth grade science text. It had a cover illustration of a spherical earth which had been sliced open to reveal the layers inside. "How do they know that," he wondered to himself. How do they even go about finding out? He then spent three years reading everything he could and pestering any scientist who would politely and patiently answer his basic questions about science. What do we know? How do we know? What don't we know? You couldn't ask for a more affable and funny host to guide you though the history and current state of every major science: geology, astronomy, physics, biology, chemistry and more. This admittedly non-scientist not only covers all the bases all over the world, but makes it all human and hilarious. He takes away the fear and mystery and gives us people, the debates, the mistakes, discoveries, the skepticsm and the wonder.