The B&N Podcast: Bill Bryson on the Universe We Walk Around In

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper.

Our guest today is bestselling writer Bill Bryson, whose books on travel, history and science celebrate our endless curiosity, our drive to discover and understand the mysteries of our world and of the universe itself. Readers followed Bryson’s questing intelligence and wry humor in books about explorations like A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail and Notes from a Small Island. With 2003’s wildly ambitious A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bryson followed his desire to overcome his dissatisfaction with his own early education in science. The result ranges from the birth of the universe to the evolutionary history of humankind —  in under 600 pages. He’s gone on to write about everything from Shakespeare to Jazz Age America, but in his latest book The Body: A Guide for Occupants, Bryson returns to a set of mysteries at once everyday and profoundly elemental. It’s an exploration of our inner universe in the company of a guide whose fascination about the secrets of the human organism is utterly infectious — and as delightfully witty as any of his tales of wandering the globe. I was lucky enough to sit down with Bill Bryson in our podcast studio for an in-depth talk about The Body and the multiple mysteries that lie within.

From the author of the science classic A Short History of Nearly Everything, and one of the bestselling and most beloved nonfiction writers in the English language, a tour de force excursion in and around the human body — how it works in all of its glorious complexity and how it inevitably fails to do so.

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.

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