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[eBook] Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything $4.99 & The Mother Tongue $3.99 @ Amazon AU

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I saw that The Mother Tongue was a Kindle Daily Deal offer and then realised A Short History of Nearly Everything was on sale, too!

A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson is one of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers. In "A Short History of Nearly Everything, he takes his ultimate journey-into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It's a dazzling quest, the intellectual odyssey of a lifetime, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Or, as the author puts it, …"how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." This is, in short, a tall order.

To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemisty, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. His interest is not simply to discover "what we know but to find out "how we know it. How do we know what is in the center of the earth, thousands of miles beneath the surface? How can we know the extent and the composition of the universe, or what a black hole is? How can we know where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?

On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating, eccentric, competitive, and foolish personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only this superb writer can render it. Science has never been more involving, and the world we inhabit has never been fuller of wonder and delight.

The Mother Tongue - With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson—the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent—brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries. Back to RRP of $14.99.

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  • +4 votes

    What's the normal price?

    • +3 votes

      I haven't yet been able to find a reliable Amazon Australia price tracking website/app that works for eBooks, but looking at the prices of his other Kindle books, I'd say anywhere between $12.99 and $14.99.

  • +7 votes

    These are both really good books.

  • +3 votes

    Strongly recommend his book "A Sunburnt Country" ( or Down Under depending on where you source your copy). Charming and witty anecdotes of his travels across Australia.

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      Yeah great book. I read it not long after it was released here and remember one glaring error when he was describing cricket's unusual jargon and mentioned a "maiden ovary" which, amidst the other entertainment, almost fit right in. (Pretty sure this will be corrected in later releases??)

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      A Short History (worthy award winner) aside, ALL his travel books (on UK and Europe mainly) AND his books on America (Lost Continent, Big Country etc) are a great read - if a bit outdated now. Where else could you read about a USA state environmental agency poisoning a river to rid it of invasive non-indigenous fish only to find they had also killed two previously unknown species. His book on walking the Appalachian trail is also good. From memory Sunburned Country/Down Under has a couple of misconceptions but nothing which really grates. Wasn't fussed by Thunderbolt Kid but one or two average books from a dozen+ excellent ones is more than reasonable.

  • +11 votes

    IMO this dude's a writing genius. He could write about the lint in his pocket and it would be more captivating than most people telling their life story.

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      +1 to that. Apart from his other books already mentioned, I found both At Home: A Short History of Private Life and One Summer: America, 1927 to be entertaining as well as educational. I like how he really delves into the background of his topics, his research must be incredibly in-depth.

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        I really enjoyed At Home, so fascinating knowing how our concept of a modern home came together over the years. I listened to the audiobook version of it.
        I purchased the One Summer: America, 1927 audiobook last week, and keen to listen to it. It seems to be rated very highly out of all Bill Bryson books.

    • +1 vote

      I loved the first chapter in "Notes From A Small Island" where he describes his experiences as a young American landing in England for the first time and being subjected to the tyranny of "Mrs Smegma" in the bed-and-breakfast.

  •  

    What a brilliant writer. Anything carrying his name is worth a read.

  •  

    Sound like good books. Thanks for the post, grabbed them both

  •  

    Thanks op - got both!

  • +1 vote

    Also on Kobo for the same price

  • +3 votes

    A Short History is worth getting in audio too. Such an interesting history lesson on the world, delivered in an engaging way. I remember such interesting facts as the same guy who invented CFC gas also invented leaded petrol or that Australia has examples of the oldest form of life still living here.

    • +1 vote
      • +2 votes

        That's another half hour of valuable production lost - don't whatever you do click on
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_inventors_killed_by_th...
        or the whole morning could be lost - now back to the history of the Eddystone Lighthouse……

        •  

          Well Mr. Toast, I'll see you your Inventor Deaths and raise you https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unusual_deaths
          You're welcome :)

          •  

            @Quarn: 2005 Kenneth Pinyan died from injuries caused by anal sex with a stallion.[227]

            I’m not sure why they felt the need to provide explanatory links for “anal sex” and “stallion”.

        •  

          You’re not wrong. Ya know, anyone producing a device based on a Ford Pinto is starting behind the eight ball. Lots of rabbit holes in the links.

      •  

        Ok, so he had at least 3 bad ideas :)

    •  

      Would usually agree but for me, how much I enjoy an audiobook depends on how good the narrator is. The narrator of short history just does nothing for me.

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        That would be Bill Bryson himself shrug

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          There are 2 versions. The one that was free a year or 2 ago is read by William Roberts

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            @WhatWouldBiggieDo: I noticed a few people don't like William Roberts as the narrator. I find he suits well for Bryson's travel books rather than the history books.
            I enjoyed him reading the 'A Walk in the Woods', the witty, snarky commentary would not land so well if Bill Bryson read it himself I feel.
            I do enjoy Bryson's calming voice is books such as 'At Home: A Short History of Private Life'.

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              @sashatheman: To be honest I think it's my problem. I am a Brit and so I think I just prefer it when British or Aussie voices read to me. I absolutely love Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter but hate the American version.

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      Yeah the audiobook rocks. Listened to that thing real quick

    • +1 vote

      yeah, the story telling is amazing and the Reader William Roberts does an excellent job.

      the characters and nuances of many who achieved incredible breakthroughs and innovations is fascinating.

      it made it clear to me you really need people that think differently, are insanely curious and have the time to ponder and experiment, it all can't be product/market driven.

      all the experiments in the hyperbaric they performed on themselves and others - crazy stuff!

  •  

    A Short History of Nearly Everything is also $4.99 on Google Books

  • +1 vote

    Thanks op! Same price at Google Playstore

  • +3 votes

    A Short History is one of my favourite books of all time and one that I always recommend to people who want a non-fiction book.

  •  

    Can’t you get those ebooks for free if you sign up as new customers? I never paid a cent for this!

  •  

    Thanks heaps everyone …. had a few Audible credits to use before cancelling the membership..

  • +4 votes

    If you prefer hard copy books and don't mind second hand I recommend Better World Books based in the USA. They are a community organisation and your money goes into helping third world readers and others less able to get access to books etc. Recently bought A Short History hardcover in great condition for $10US delivered for my daughter OS. As a bonus they send you a cute message from the chosen book.

  •  

    Love mother tongue. Actually have a hard copy next to my bed I've been planning on rereading.

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    I like Bill Bryson a lot (I have copies of most of his books) but I worried about his research in "Mother Tongue". In the part about Aussie English he says that we adopt American spelling and words e.g. "labor" instead of "labour", and "cookies" instead of "biscuits". Made me doubt the rest of it.

    •  

      Shh! Don't tell the Labor Party.

    •  

      I agree with your point but "cookies" is not unknown for biscuits; look at Coles.

  •  

    Unfortunately not discounted in the US store.

  •  

    Amazing author. I read his travelogues, many times over. Especially sunburnt country and lost contient