A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's fascinating and humorous quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. He takes subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry, and particle physics, and aims to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. In the company of some extraordinary scientists, Bill Bryson reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
"A short Review of Nearly Everything"
After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson, the acclaimed author of such best sellers as The Mother Tongue and Made in America, decided it was time to move back to the United States for a while. This was partly to let his wife and kids experience life in Bryson's homeland, and partly because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another. It was thus clear to him that his people needed him.
"A Note From A Small Islander"
Hardly anyone ever leaves Des Moines, Iowa. But Bill Bryson did, and after 10 years in England he decided to go home, to a foreign country. In an ageing Chevrolet Chevette, he drove nearly 14,000 miles through 38 states to compile this hilarious and perceptive state-of-the-nation report on small-town America.
"The road trip you're dying to take"
Australia has more things that can kill you than anywhere else. Nevertheless, Bill Bryson journeyed to the country and promptly fell in love with it. The people are cheerful, their cities are clean, the beer is cold, and the sun nearly always shines.
The Appalachian Trail covers 14 states and over 2,000 miles, snaking through some of the most spectacular landscapes in America. Reluctant adventurer Bryson recounts his gruelling hike along the longest continuous footpath in the world.
"A walk in the woods"
In Neither Here nor There Bill Bryson brings his unique brand of humour to bear on Europe as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet, and journeys from Hammerfest, the northernmost town on the continent, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia.
In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.
After moving back to the States, Bryson started to write a column for The Mail on Sunday Night and Day magazine. This is a collection of these column entries. Bryson writes about everything from everyday chores, to suing people, the beach, TV, movies, air conditioners, college, Americana, injury dangers, wasting resources, and holiday seasons.
"Bitter or Sweet ? I'm not sure !"
Albert Fish held the genuine belief that the murders he committed were upon instruction from God. Peter Stumpp, who started practicing the "wicked arts" from 12 years of age, was convinced he was a werewolf. There are many more murderous individuals like them. Supernatural Serial Killers explores the association between serial killers and the supernatural. The crimes committed by these men and women usually involved sexual deviance, cannibalism, and violence toward children.
At the heart of these stories, as with all the best of Lovecraft's work, is the belief that the Earth was once inhabited by powerful and evil gods, just waiting for the chance to recolonise their planet. Cthulhu is one such god, lurking deep beneath the sea until called into being by cult followers who - like all humans - know not what they do.
The Nazis and the Occult reveals the true nature of the Third Reich's link with arcane influences and of evil itself, as well as explaining how an ill-educated, psychologically unbalanced nonentity succeeded in mesmerizing an entire nation. Forget what you have read, seen, and heard. This is the real secret history of Nazi Germany and its dark Messiah - Adolf Hitler.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Whisperer in Darkness are counted amongst H.P. Lovecraft's most popular stories. In the first we are transported to the decrepit coastal town of Innsmouth, whose amphibian-like citizens betray a dark and sinister secret. The second takes us to Vermont, where a university professor becomes embroiled in a mind-bending celestial mystery after strange things are seen floating in the rivers.
This is a story from the Fall of the House of Usher collection. The horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, with its dungeon of death, and the overhanging gloom on the House of Usher demonstrate unforgettably the unique imagination of Edgar Allan Poe. Unerringly, he touches upon some of our greatest nightmares: Premature burial, ghostly transformation, words from beyond the grave. Written in the 1840s, they have retained their power to shock and frighten even now.
The time, 1993. The place, Washington, D.C. Of the adversaries in the Gulf War, the sole survivor is Saddam Hussein. And Saddam is planning a revenge so diabolical that the United States will be left with no choice but to retaliate.
Larry's Party covers the life of Larry Weller, a modern man in the 20th century. Following Larry between the ages of 27 and 47, from 1977 to 1997, the novel illustrates what it's like to be a man in Larry's era, and how men have had to change; exploring how masculinity is defined in the post-feminist world. Read by William Roberts.
The truth weighs nothing... Klara Walldeen, orphaned as a child and brought up by her grandparents, is now a political aide in Brussels. And she has just seen something she shouldn't. On the other side of the world, an old spy hides. Once, he was a man so dedicated that he abandoned his daughter. Now the only thing he lives for is swimming. Then Klara is thrown into a terrifying chase through Europe. Only the Swimmer can save her. But time is running out.
"interestingly different, differently interesting"
Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyon,the youngest daughter of the Earl of Strathmore, was born on 4 August 1900. It might reasonably have been expected that she would lead a life of ease and privilege but few could have imagined the profound effect she would have on Britain and its people. Her life spanned the whole of the 20th century and this official biography tells not only her story but, through it, that of the country she loved so devotedly.
"Queen Elizabeth: The Queen Mother"
The horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, with its dungeon of death, and the overhanging gloom on the House of Usher demonstrate unforgettably the unique imagination of Edgar Allan Poe. Unerringly, he touches upon some of our greatest nightmares - premature burial, ghostly transformation, words from beyond the grave. Written in the 1840s, they have retained their power to shock and frighten even now.
What are the arguments for and against religion and religious belief - all of them - right across the range of reasons and motives that people have for being religious, and do they stand up to scrutiny? Can there be a clear, full statement of these arguments that once and for all will show what is at stake in this debate? Equally important: what is the alternative to religion as a view of the world and a foundation for morality?
"Worth listening to"
It opens in 1943, when Wells is recording a talk for the Home Service in which he questions mankind's future. After the broadcast, he spends the evening with American journalist Martha, and tells her the astonishing news that his bestselling book The Time Machine was not fantasy but fact. Wells explains that he was actually present at the dinner party in Richmond fifty years earlier, when the Time Traveller returned from his first fateful journey into the future.