The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson is a book which aims to inform us more about our bodies and how amazing they are. I read this as an audio book which was read by the author who perhaps was not the ideal narrator as I would have preferred someone who was more trained as an actor or performer and might have breathed a bit more life into it – the author has a bit of a monotone.
The author rambles through the body parts telling us things I certainly didn’t know and introducing us to snippets of medical history and the lives of various scientists who made breakthroughs. Although these things are collected in chapters relating to body parts it all seems a bit haphazard and to have been collected and written depending on what took the fancy of the author. I think you need to relax and just go with it and when the text interests you it will always be possible to read more deeply about the issue elsewhere – this is not a book which has a huge amount of depth.
As I am mostly interested in history and people rather than science I found this way of writing very entertaining. This is a book that can be dipped in and out of regularly and always has something new and interesting to share – it’s very much a book for the general reader. The text is littered with examples, quotations, anecdotes and amazing facts all of which, I am pretty sure, are true.
The writing is easy to access but the author does use correct medical terminology and gives us the correct names for parts of our body and its processes. The scope of the book is quite wide too and all areas of the body are covered with particular attention given to the microorganisms which are so important to our survival.
This isn’t a text book but it is an enjoyable read which may well stimulate your interest and lead to further reading.