The Body: A Guide for Occupants

Version: Unabridged
Author: Bill Bryson
Narrator: Bill Bryson
Genres: Biology & Chemistry
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: October 2019
# of Units: 12 CDs
Length: 14 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST 
LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN E.O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD

'Glorious. . .You will marvel at the brilliance and vast weirdness of your design.' —The Washington Post 

Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner's manual for everybody.

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.

Reviews (5)

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Written by Herb B. on August 15th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This was a nice listen jammed full of interesting facts about the body. But it's not just about how things work inside, I didn't find as much information about how we work as I'd thought. There was a good, if brief, explanation of the fit, function and form of the various body parts, and then a lot of explanation about the main scientists/doctors that did early work to figure these systems out. There are some fascinating stories contained in the book. But I wish the author would have hired a narrator instead of doing it himself. He has a low voice that doesn't readily lend itself to an audio (ie: radio) format, so I ended up changing all of the bass, treble, and fade settings to better hear, without needing to max out the volume.

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Written by Wooley O. on June 28th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Once again Mr Bryson expands my learning in a desirable and fun way.

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Written by Vasilije S. on May 31st, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

True gem!

Written by Jeffrey C. on April 4th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I don't listen to a lot of books, and I don't read a lot of books, but I cannot believe how unbelievably great this book is. It is literally unreal I'm not going to tell you a thing about it, but it's so compelling you'll want to listen until the very last word.

Written by Kelley G. on February 27th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Full of interesting facts. You’ll learn a lot. Should be mandatory reading for everyone!

Author Details

Author Details

Bryson, Bill

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of William and Mary Bryson. He has an older brother, Michael, and a sister, Mary Elizabeth.

Bryson was educated at Drake University but dropped out in 1972, deciding to backpack around Europe for four months. He returned to Europe the following year with his high-school friend, the pseudonymous Stephen Katz. Some of his experiences from this trip are relived as flashbacks in Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, which documents a similar journey Bryson made twenty years later.

Bryson first visited the United Kingdom in 1973 during a tour of Europe, and decided to stay after landing a job working in a psychiatric hospital - the now defunct Holloway Sanatorium in Virginia Water, Surrey. It was there that he met a nurse named Cynthia, whom he eventually married. The couple returned to the USA in 1975 so Bryson could complete his college degree, after which, in 1977, they settled in England, where they remained until 1995. Living in North Yorkshire and mainly working as a journalist, Bryson eventually became chief sub editor of the business section of The Times, and then deputy national news editor of the business section of The Independent. He left journalism in 1987, three years after the birth of his third child. Still living in Yorkshire, Bryson started writing independently and in 1990 their fourth and final child, Sam, was born.

In 1995, Bryson returned to the United States to live in Hanover, New Hampshire for some years, the stories of which feature in his book I'm A Stranger Here Myself, alternatively titled Notes from a Big Country in the United Kingdom and Canada. In 2003, however, the Brysons and their four children returned to England, and now live near Wymondham, Norfolk.

Also in 2003, in conjunction with World Book Day, voters in the United Kingdom chose Bryson's book Notes from a Small Island as that which best sums up British identity and the state of the nation.[1] In the same year, he was appointed a Commissioner for English Heritage.

In 2004, Bryson won the prestigious Aventis Prize for best general science book with A Short History of Nearly Everything.[2] This 500-page popular literature piece explores not only the histories and current statuses of the sciences, but also reveals their humble and often humorous beginnings. Although one "top scientist" is alleged to have jokingly described the book as "annoyingly free of mistakes",[3] Bryson himself makes no such claim, and a list of seven reported errors in the book is available online, identifying the chapter in which each appears but with no page or line references. In 2005, the book won the EU Descartes Prize for science communication.[2]

Bryson has also written two popular works on the history of the English language — Mother Tongue and Made in America — and, more recently, an update of his guide to usage, Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words (published in its first edition as The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words in 1983). These books were popularly acclaimed and well-reviewed, though they received criticism from academics in the field, who claimed they contained factual errors, urban myths, and folk etymologies. Though Bryson has no formal linguistics qualifications, he is generally a well-regarded writer on the subject of languages.

In 2005, Bryson was appointed Chancellor of Durham University,[3] succeeding the late Sir Peter Ustinov, and has been particularly active with student activities, even appearing in a Durham student film: the sequel to The Assassinator and promoting litter picks in the city[4]. He had praised Durham as "a perfect little city" in Notes from a Small Island. He has also been awarded honorary degrees by numerous universities.

In 2006, Bryson ran (as part of a celebrity relay team) in the Tresco marathon, the Scillian equivalent of the London marathon. The same year, Frank Cownie, the mayor of Des Moines, awarded Bryson the key to the city and announced that October 21, 2006 would be known as, Bill Bryson - "The Thunderbolt Kid" day.[5]

In November 2006, Bryson interviewed Prime Minister Tony Blair on the state of science and education.[6]

On December 13, 2006, Bryson was awarded an honorary OBE for his contribution to literature.[7] The following year, he was awarded the James Joyce Award of the Literary and Historical Society of University College Dublin.

In January 2007, Bryson was the Schwartz Visiting Fellow of the Pomfret School in Connecticut.[8]

In May 2007, he became the President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.[9][10] His first area focus in this role was the establishment of an anti-littering campaign across England. He discussed the future of the countryside with Richard Mabey, Sue Clifford, Nicholas Crane and Richard Girling at CPRE's Volunteer Conference in November 2007.