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The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill…
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The Body: A Guide for Occupants (edition 2019)

by Bill Bryson (Author)

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9824015,080 (4.18)12
One of The Washington Post's 50 Most Notable Works of Nonfiction 2019 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.… (more)
Member:raivivek
Title:The Body: A Guide for Occupants
Authors:Bill Bryson (Author)
Info:Doubleday (2019), Edition: 1, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:to-read, goodreads

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The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Generally, this book was interesting, but I wished he had got a second opinion about women's experiences. I was unhappy with the way the book focused on the negative about female bodies. I got the impression that a woman's life was full of pain and risk. If I didn't know better, this book would make me feel scared about being a woman, and if I was a girl hearing this, I'd be terrified to grow up. Giving birth and having breasts doesn't mean the end of joy. Giving birth is more of a miracle that ends in great joy and is worth the pain. I didn't like the way he focused on women's pain when discussing our body. It was obvious that he didn't talk to women before writing about our bodies, or if he did, he only talked to one or two. ( )
  SonoranDreamer | Sep 21, 2020 |
All the information you will ever want to know about your body. Bryson at his very best. ( )
  addunn3 | Sep 21, 2020 |
I must admit I'm not a huge fan of Bryson's travel books, but I have loved his books on language, and this is another in the same ilk. A compendium of facts about the human body from top to toe bound together with his deft and humorous prose and liberally laced with factoids and anecdotes about the human condition. He specializes in uncovering medical pioneers who made great breakthroughs but were either ignored or forgotten and there are literally dozens of these. Its a book that is very difficult to put down once you start, and regardless of how much you think you know about your body, you will discover things that you hadn't the earthliest knowledge of. Fantastic read. ( )
  drmaf | Aug 27, 2020 |
I took my sweet time reading this, over several months, a chapter or two each weekend, so now, I'm ready to start it again and be amazed again at the human body and at Bill Bryson's ability to make it interesting and understandable. I'm sure there are those who find this a superficial text — but that's just it; it's not a textbook, but an accessible review of how our bodies work and what happens when they don't work well, and the people who study it. After centuries of medical research and accelerating medical technology, it's surprising, and kind of satisfying, how often Mr. Bryson wraps up a topic with a variation of the phrase "we just don't know." ( )
  ReadMeAnother | Aug 11, 2020 |
An excellent and enjoyable read - Bryson always seems to have a “twinkle in his eye” regardless of his subject. I consider myself well informed about the human body and how it works - or dosen’t - but there was much of this book content that was enlightening. ( )
  labdaddy4 | Aug 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
School biology teachers, rejoice. The students who filled your labs but paid only drowsy attention to long explanations of meiosis and mitosis are likely now lining up for Bill Bryson’s latest bound-to-be bestseller, The Body: A Guide for Occupants. Your message will finally get through – if not in detail then at least in substance.

Discussing respiration, for instance, Bryson writes that what we breathe in is 80 per cent nitrogen, which “goes into your lungs and straight back out again, like an absent-minded shopper who has wandered into the wrong store”.

This your former students will remember. This is why Bryson earns the big bucks.

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At 450 pages, this is a healthily sized volume that is occasionally a little repetitious, and might have benefited from a visit to the surgeon for a little trim. Nevertheless, there are omissions, such as an absence of discussion of the body’s innumerable on-board parasites and the role they play, which is often beneficial.

Yet much time is spent telling us what we know we don’t know. “Your body is a universe of mystery,” says Bryson. Only 2 per cent of our DNA appears to do anything practical, and fully 10 per cent seems to be gibberish. No one knows why we yawn.

But what we do know is wonderful, and how we found it out equally so. Bryson often diverts into discussion of the lives of scientists involved in various breakthroughs. He is particularly keen to give recognition to researchers whose discoveries have improved the human condition but who have gone unfairly unrecognised.

---

At times Bryson’s language is philosophically floppy. A description of the marvellous complexity of the eye provides the opportunity for a swipe at the Victorians for holding it up as an example of intelligent design. “It was an odd choice because the eye is really rather the reverse – literally so, for it is built back to front.” Yet he frequently discusses the “design” of other organs before reaching a discussion of childbirth in which he confronts the issue straight on.

“If ever there was an event that challenges the concept of intelligent design, it is the act of childbirth. No woman, however devout, has ever in childbirth said, ‘Thank you, Lord, for thinking this through for me.’”

Without Bryson’s existing reputation, it’s unclear whether this book would sell particularly well. He’s a master commu­nicator, but there’s a slightly plodding progress from one topic to another, and those hoping to be more than slightly tickled by the humour would do well to look elsewhere.

But just as he once did on the byways and back roads of Australia, the US and the UK, Bryson takes the reader on a little trip, not claiming the inside knowledge of most guides, but knowledge of the insides.
 
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To Lottie.
Welcome to you, too.
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Long ago, when I was a junior high school student in America, I remember being taught by a biology teacher that all the chemicals that make up a human body could be bought in a hardware store for $5 or something like that.
Quotations
(p180) Study after study since then (the late 1940's?) has shown that exercise produces extraordinary benefits. Going for regular walks reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke by 31 per cent (sic scil percent).
(p223) Although two of the world's most prestigious medical journals had now (in 1950) demonstrated a clear association between smoking and lung cancer, the findings had almost no effect. People just loved smoking too much to quit.
(p224) When Britain's Minister of Health, Iain Macleod, formally announced at a press conference (in 1952) that there was an unequivocal connection between smoking and lung cancer, he rather undercut his position by smoking conspicuously as he did so.
(p224) In 1964, the US surgeon general announced an unequivocal link between smoking and lung cancer, but the announcement had little effect. The number of cigarettes smoked by the average American over the age of 16 fell slightly from 4,340 a year before the announcement to 4,200 afterwards, but then climbed back to about 4,500 and stayed there for years. Remarkably, the American Medical Association took fifteen years to endorse the surgeon general's finding.
(p236) ... a 150g serving of white rice or a small bowl of cornflakes will have the same effect on your blood glucose levels as nine teaspoons of sugar.
(p378) ... at present only about one person in ten thousand lives to be even a hundred. ... The chances of reaching your one-hundred-and-tenth birthday are about one in seven million. ...
The longest-lived person that we know of was Jeanne Louise Calment of Arles, in Provence, who died at the decidedly ripe age of 122 years, 164 days in 1997. ... Calment had a leisurely life: Her father was a rich shipbuilder and her husband a prosperous businessman. She never worked. Calment smoked all her life - at the age of 117, when she finally gave up, she was still smoking two cigarettes a day - and ate a kilo of chocolate every week, but was active up to the very end and enjoyed robust health.
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One of The Washington Post's 50 Most Notable Works of Nonfiction 2019 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.

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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.
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