Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I've been reading lately

I just finished this:
Yes, it's slightly different than the film adaption, but taken on their own terms, both are very good. I suppose if I had read the book first I might have been outraged over the few changes they made in adapting this book in to the film they came up with but honestly, I can't get worked up about it. The book tells the story of Will and Marcus slightly differently than the film does but at the heart of it all it's still a story of a womanizing bachelor who is forced into befriending a teenage boy who is a social misfit. I recommend both the film and the novel.

I had the worst science teachers in high school and the dullest ones ever in college. They took what has become an endlessly fascinating area of knowledge and turned it into something to hate and despise. None of them had an ounce of joy or humor in their teaching styles. So it's no wonder I felt, until recently, that I hated science. However thanks to the National Geographic channel, the Science Channel, the International History channel, and PBS, I now love science. I have come to hate my old teachers even more because I've found out how interesting all the areas of science are thanks to those channels and thanks to this highly readable and engrossing book by Bill Bryson. Thanks to Mr. Bryson's engaging and witty style I have finally come to understand things about the universe, physics, astrophysics, geology that I had thought I would never grasp. Much of what Bryson covers in this outstanding book was covered in classes I had in the past, the biggest difference here is Bryson makes it all interesting and not drudgery. If oyu want to understand the big ideas in science and want to learn about our fascinating planet, galaxy, and universe, then you must read this book. The blurb on the cover is correct, this book is destined to be a classic in science writing.

I picked this massive book, it's almost 700 pages long, up at my local library and I nearly finished half of it before I grew tired of it. Most of what I read was interesting and some of it was gripping. But ultimately I grew tired of Mr. Jensen's prose, it's full of foreshadowing and for some reason he feels compelled to use everyone's full names most every time he mentions a character. I may go back and finish this novel about the lives of the inhabitants of the seafaring village of Marstel, Denmark one of these days, but with so many other books to read out there, I probably won't. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a whirl if you're interested. It really is a massive book that tells a sweeping tale, well, many sweeping tales.


Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with science in school, and my grown-up discovery of science's awesomeness has been full of exclamations about "WHY HAS NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS?!?!?"
If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading Life by Richard Fortey and Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin. Both awesomely delightful books about the evolution of life on earth!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I've not read the third book, but thoroughly enjoyed the first two. In my eyes, anyone who can make the most mindblowing science fully comprehendible (even if you forget it all five minutes later) is some kind of hero.

gmb said...

I have Bryson's book in my "to read" pile. Looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

I inhaled Bryson's book and was unable to sleep at night because of it. So good!