The Body: A Guide for Occupants, by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner's manual for everybody.
Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body--how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, "We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted." The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.
"A directory of wonders. . .Extraordinary. . . A tour of the minuscule; it aims to do for the human body what his A Short History of Nearly Everything did for science. . .The prose motors gleefully along, a finely tuned engine running on jokes, factoids and biographical interludes. . .Wry, companionable, avuncular and always lucid . . .[The Body] could stand as an ultimate prescription for life."
"Bill Bryson isn’t a medic, biologist or psychiatrist, but that’s what makes his exploration of the human body, all seven billion billion billion atoms of it (the book is rich in jaw-dropping stats), so readable and useful. As with his earlier A Short History of Nearly Everything, which offers a non-specialist introduction to science, he asks all the questions a layperson doesn’t dare to ask for fear of exposing humiliating ignorance, then answers them in witty, jargon-free prose that glides you through 400 pages. . .It’s fun to read because it’s not just comprehensive, but quirky. . .Bryson thrives."
—The Times (London)
"Bill Bryson is not so much a discoverer of new lands as a charismatic cartographer of existing ones, smartly mapping points of entry into territory that might otherwise remain impenetrable to curious travelers. With light footed prose, The Body winds its way through the dense terrain of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. . .The result is an absorbing catalog of the human body in all its firmness and fatality. . .The colossal roster of facts on display is dazzling. . . Bryson's distinctive voice will likely delight readers eager to go sightseeing around the world they embody."
—The American Scholar
October 15, 2019