Bill Bryson a_short_history_of_nearly_everything at times has a voice so similar to Douglas Adams that occasionally I felt as if I were reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This book is great, period.

At it’s best, it’s equal parts education and entertainment, rare in science writing. At it’s worst, it’s informational and dense, but never for more than a few pages.

I related so well to the preface of the book I was excited to begin reading. Science education (read: the education system) is in a dire situation. Students are subjected to a barrage of boring science facts out of context, jammed between teaching for exams. This leaves students with little understanding and a lack of curiosity about wonders of our planet and our universe. Bryson attempts to fill the gaps of our education through an engaging and entertaining narrative, starting from the beginning and finishing with a reflection on the precipice we find ourselves standing on.

I leaned the true size of the solar system, the age of the universe and our planet, and how fast we’re spinning! I now know why the great lakes aren’t salty and why the oceans aren’t getting saltier.

Most importantly, I was left with a deep appreciation for life, a humility in the face of larger universal forces, and a gratitude for how lucky I, we, are to be here.