The Body: A Guide for Occupants
By Bill Bryson
(450 pages, nonfiction, 2019)
In his latest book, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson once again earns his reputation as one of the 21st century’s best popular science authors. As in his immensely popular A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003), Bryson displays an uncanny ability to distill complex subject matter into not just informative, but also incredibly fun, reading for a general audience.
This book takes readers on a guided tour of the human body, both inside and out. Through Bryson’s straightforward and accessible prose – and plenty of entertaining anecdotes – readers learn all about how and why the various systems of our bodies work the way they do. Bryson is also keen to point out limitations in current anatomical understanding, reminding us that scientific knowledge is always evolving, and that there is still so much to learn. I picked up many fascinating and quirky tidbits about humans, which I delighted in sharing each night around the dinner table. More than that, though, this book instilled in me a sense of wonder at the beautiful, improbable workings of our species. I’ll never think of spleens, body hair, or uvulas the same way again!
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Faithe Miller Lakowicz