Bill Bryson started as a travel writer and then moved into writing about science. In this one he travels through the human body. Bryson does an incredible amount of research into complicated things and then casually talks about them as if he’s giving you directions to the corner store. He can be very funny, in a gentle self-deprecating way (a quality that has no doubt flourished by living in the UK) and he makes the facts entertaining.
For me, learning more about our inner workings, system by system, produced amazement and wonder–he does make science understandable. We seldom stop to thing about all of the wonderful things that are going on while we slouch unawares on the couch, munching popcorn, until something goes wrong of course. His chapters on germs, disease, and microbes read like a thriller, and leave you feeling as many aches and pains as a first year medical student! But because this book is a long one, and not quite as laugh-out-loud funny as some of his other books, I would recommend the audio version, read by the author himself–he has an amusing American accent with a telltale British twang.
I really like Bryson’s books. They are always a pleasant journey that leaves me with greater general knowledge and an appreciation for the topic he has tackled. I have especially liked his travel books about Great Britain and Australia, and his book called At Home which discusses how we as a society became comfortable. His funniest book is A Walk in the Woods about hiking the Appalachian trail with his fat friend, which also became a movie with Robert Redford. A Short History of Nearly Everything is about the universe and ourselves. It is an awesome adventure into the realms of human knowledge. If you read that one, make sure you get the special illustrated edition.
“Among the stars and the planets and cosmic dust, God made a place for the story of us.”
Lyrical verse, warm evocative illustration, and creative narrative describe this new book by Matthew Paul Turner. What’s great about this picture book is the fresh perspective it offers about how all of us fit into the creation story. The dedication is in memory of Rachel Held Evans, a beloved and well respected young Christian writer who died from complications of the flu last year. When God Made the World has been endorsed and promoted by people like Amy Grant, Ann Voskamp, and Shauna Niequist.
In this book there are directives to help save and protect the planet, “Save a whale, hug a tree, protect every bee. Recycle, repurpose, reject apathy.” Included in passages that impart the wonder of creation and the diversity of humanity, are cute little phrases like: a warning against touching poison ivy and a reminder to drink more water in hot weather. The book ends on an open-ended note by saying that creation was just the beginning and how we live and how we love tells God’s story too! Children can glimpse the divine and celebrate the complexity of our world, but also think about the fact that they too are an intentional part of God’s very big story.
Where there is love there is courage,
where there is courage there is peace,
where there is peace there is God.
And when you have God, you have everything.
See, this quote demonstrates why I love Louise Penny mysteries. They are so much more than a curiosity about who was the murderer and why. There is thoughtfulness, depth of character, beauty of place, appreciation of culture, gentle humour, and lyrical prose. Three Pines has become a retreat of sorts to me, a place to escape to that is familiar when I’ve just traveled through a number of other books. Of course, there is always a gruesome murder to contend with once there, but again, Penny handles that deftly and compassionately. In this instalment I loved Inspector Gamache’s trip to Haida Gwaii and there was so much detailed description of the food on offer in Gabri and Olivier’s bistro, that it made my mouth water!!
I am reading the Inspector Gamache series in order. This instalment is about a hermit who is found dead in Olivier’s bistro. But because I had stepped out of my reading order to read the sixth instalment for a book club assignment, I actually knew who the murderer was while reading the book, which was fun. And perhaps it was merciful too. This book ends on a cliffhanger for fans of Three Pines, and happily I didn’t have to go through that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting to read them out of order, I just think that you should follow #5 with #6 as quickly as you can, because they really go together. Oh, and by the way, this title holds a clue to who the killer is, especially if you google ‘brutal telling and Emily Carr’ or pay attention when the character of Clara Morrow describes the phrase, or watch this youtube of Penny herself. 🙂