When I was looking at the 2022 Read Harder Challenge for the first time and saw #9: “Read the book that’s been on your TBR the longest”, I knew without looking what that book would be, even though I haven’t looked at the beginning of my list in years. And that’s because I’ve been avoiding this book for as long as I’ve wanted to read it. Just one word for you: supervolcano.
In Bryson’s signature breezy, humorous, yet intelligent style, he will explain to you the origins of the universe, our solar system, and life on earth, and then go on about how it could end at any time. I will admit, reading about the supervolcano wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be. Just thinking about the supervolcano is enough for that reaction to happen, so really I should have just read read this years ago.
When Bryson says “nearly everything” in the title, what he really means is nearly everything about science and what we know about it and how we know about it, and all the things we DON’T know. I will admit, I was really looking forward to him trying to cram all of human history in here in some sort of heroic summary, but what was actually here made more sense.
I did enjoy learning that once there were enormous guinea pigs the size of rhinoceroses, huge sloths the size of cows, and rhinoceroses the size of two-story houses, but sadly they are all gone now. Also, the history of science is chock full of petty white men.
The audio for this is great. It’s read by a British guy called Richard who makes everything sound fancy.
Read Harder Challenge 2022: Read the book that’s been on your TBR the longest.