Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Let's talk about science

A lot of you probably think that I was a Literature major back in college. Wrong. I actually have a science background, as I was a Biology major. Nevertheless, my science background did not stop me from reading many genres -- from chick lit to fantasy. Name a genre, I probably have read books on it.

Having this kind of education makes me wonder why a lot of people seem to have an aversion for the sciences. Science is interesting and, yes, it can be FUN. It's a good thing that there are a lot of good non-fiction science books out now. And one of the best in my opinion is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.

ASHONE isn't a true blue science book though, as it's more of a history book and short biographies than anything. Plus, if you've been exposed to other non-fiction books in science with a specific subject and theme, you might ask yourself where the heck is Bill Bryson going with his book. But a book club member, Honey, mentioned that Bryson wasn't probably writing for science majors. He was targeting the everyday individual, one who might be interested on how scientists were able to make their important discoveries.

Bryson's writing is very enjoyable. And funny. And candid. ASHONE was so successful that Bryson wrote an edition exclusively for kids, entitled A Really Short History of Nearly Everything. Of course, being the book addict that I am, I had to have it. And when the illustrated edition of ASHONE came out, I just have to get it as well. I also have the trade paperback somewhere, though I couldn't find it (even after searching through rows and rows of books at home). Maybe I lent it to someone years ago, hoping that this person would develop an appreciation for the sciences and the oftentimes unheralded work of scientists.

Last year, my favorite read was a non-fiction science book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It's a fascinating read about how the cells of one African-American woman helped the progress of cell research. Also, it's sad in a way that Ms. Lacks never knew that scientists would harvest her cells without her consent. When you read this book, you'll know how each and every one of us is indebted to Ms. Lacks and her cells, which are still living even after several years of her death.

So, dear reader, are you one of those people who just flee at the mention of anything relating to science? Maybe it's time to pick up a science book. Start with A Short History of Nearly Everything. It's entertaining and wonderfully geeky.


ןıuǝ oɟ ɟןıƃɥʇ said...

i've merged the two genres (science and novels) into one: social science/theory.

Peter S. said...

I love social science books as well. One of my favorites is The Moral Animal.

Patrick said...

Science geek here too. I love reading about almost all branches of science... biology, physics, archaeology, paleontology. The first type of books I loved to read were not storybooks or fables at all. My first love was astronomy. I think nothing can draw as much awe as galaxies, nebulas and the idea of parallel universes.

I keep on forgetting to look for that Bryson book when I'm in bookstores. Gonna make a hard note of that now.

Peter S. said...

Hi, Patrick! If you love astronomy, then you'll love Bryson's book!

Stepford Mum said...

I haven't seen any photos yet of the discussion! And I did finish the book - my first full-length Bryson, haha. Now I'm going to give Notes on a Small Island another try :)

Peter S. said...

Hello, Stepford Mum! I'm waiting for the pictures from the discussion to be posted myself!