A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's 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.
"Not what I expected but brilliant!"
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.
"It's OK but --------------------"
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.
"If you are amused by sexually deviant things"
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.
"Just not for me"
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.
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.
"Great audio book for a car journey"
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.
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.
"Very entertaining account of American vocabulary"
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.
At the Mountains of Madness first appeared in 1936, in the February, March and April editions of the American magazine Astounding Stories. One of H.P. Lovecraft’s most chilling works, it draws on Edgar Allan Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, as well as Lovecraft’s deep fascination with the Antarctic. The sinister discoveries made by a group of explorers in At the Mountains of Madness are testament to the author’s enormous powers of imagination.
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.
Five seminal science fiction classics are brought vividly to life in these gripping BBC Radio dramatisations, with casts including Robert Glenister, William Gaunt, Carleton Hobbs and Joanne Froggatt. Titles include 'Frankenstein' (1994), 'The Time Machine' (2009), 'The Lost World' (1975), 'R.U.R.' (1989), and 'Solaris' (2007). Accompanying this collection is a bonus PDF file featuring extensive sleeve notes by Andrew Pixley.
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?
Seventy-year old avant-garde composer Peter Els opens the door one evening to find the police outside. His DIY microbiology lab has come to the attention of Homeland Security. Panicked by the raid on his house, Els flees and turns fugitive, waiting for the evidence to clear him and for the alarm surrounding his activities to blow over. But alarm turns to national hysteria.
New England, 1890. Doctor John Shepherd arrives at a women's mental hospital to begin work as assistant to the owner. As Shepherd struggles to conceal his secrets, he finds the asylum has plenty of its own. Intrigued by a girl who is fascinated by books but cannot read, Shepherd embarks upon an experiment to help her. In this chilling literary thriller everyone has something to hide and no one is what they seem.
Postmodernism claims that "modernity", which grew from the Enlightenment to the Industrial Revolution and Marxism, has collapsed. We now live in an endlessly "contemporary" culture, a virtual world of "hyperreality" containing such strange phenomena as post-Holocaust amnesia, Disneyland, cyberspace, and Fukuyama's proclaimed "end of history".
Meet Harry Lipkin, the world's oldest private detective: part Sam Spade, part Woody Allen, all mensch. Harry Lipkin is a tough-talking, soft-chewing, rough-around-the-edges, slow-around-the-corners private investigator who carries a .38 along with a spare set of dentures. Harry specializes in the sort of cases that cops can't be bothered with, but knows where to find good chopped liver for a fair price. He might not be the best P.I. in Miami, but at 87, he's certainly the oldest. His latest client, Norma Weinberger, has a problem.
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.
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.