Summary and book reviews of The Body by Bill Bryson

The Body

A Guide for Occupants

by Bill Bryson

The Body by Bill Bryson X
The Body by Bill Bryson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Oct 2019, 464 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

7. THE HEART AND BLOOD

Stopped.
Last word of British surgeon and anatomist Joseph Henry Green (1791– 1863)
while feeling his own pulse

I

THE HEART IS the most misperceived of our organs. For a start, it looks nothing like the traditional symbol associated with Valentine's Day and lovers' initials carved into tree trunks and the like. (That symbol first appeared, as if from out of nowhere, in paintings from northern Italy in the early fourteenth century, but no one knows what inspired it.) Nor is the heart where we place our right hand during patriotic moments; it is more centrally located in the chest than that. Most curious of all, perhaps, is that we make it the emotional seat of our being, as when we declare that we love someone with all our heart or profess a broken heart when they abandon us. Don't misunderstand me. The heart is a wondrous organ and fully deserving of our praise and gratitude, but it is not invested even slightly in our emotional well-being.

That's a good ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

With his characteristic wit, he takes his readers on a survey of anatomy that successfully outlines what makes us human. The book will certainly appeal to Bryson’s ever-growing fan base and delight anyone who enjoys acquiring new information about a topic they think they already know well. I've read everything he has written and believe it to be far and away his best work to date...continued

Full Review Members Only (674 words).

(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

NPR
The truth is, it's just not clear who The Body is for. Is it the sort of book targeted to the children bored by textbooks, or is it targeted to the casual adult reader? Is it meant for people who care for and know about the human body, or is it for people who know nothing about it? And no matter who the reader is, it is hard to imagine The Body making the kind of incredible impact that A Short History did, especially in a time when so many wonderful books with similar scope exist.

New York Times
Bryson takes us on a body-part-by-body-part tour, with chapters devoted to the brain, the guts and the skin and hair. Each chapter weaves together history, anecdotes, expert interviews and vocabulary lessons...The overall result is informative, entertaining and often gross.

Kirkus Reviews
A pleasing, entertaining sojourn into the realm of what makes us tick.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Bryson's tone is both informative and inviting, encouraging the reader, throughout this exemplary work, to share the sense of wonder he expresses at how the body is constituted and what it is capable of.

Booklist (starred review)
A delightful tour guide...Bryson's stroll through human anatomy, physiology, evolution, and illness (diabetes, cancer, infections) is instructive, accessible, and entertaining.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Trivia about the Human Body

Human AnatomyBill Bryson's The Body: A Guide for Occupants is an engaging exploration of the human body, packed with interesting trivia about human anatomy. Some of the most memorable facts the author presents are:

  • According to calculations by Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry, 59 elements are needed to construct a human being. Just six of these (carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorous) make up 99.1% of our bodies.
  • Every day between one and five of your 37.2 trillion cells turns cancerous, but your immune system almost always captures and kills the malignant cells.
  • Our skin doesn't have receptors for wetness, only thermal sensors, which is why when you sit down on a wet spot you can't tell if it's truly wet or just cold.
  • ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Bill Bryson

If you liked The Body, try these:

  • Some Assembly Required jacket

    Some Assembly Required

    by Neil Shubin

    Published 2020

    About this book

    More books by this author

    The author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish gives us a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life on Earth--a new view of the evolution of human and animal life that explains how the incredible diversity of life on our planet came to be.

  • Sapiens jacket

    Sapiens

    by Yuval Noah Harari

    Published 2018

    About this book

    More books by this author

    A groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human."

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Heaven, My Home
    by Attica Locke
    Attica Locke's 2017 novel Bluebird, Bluebird introduced us to Texas Ranger Darren Mathews, who ...
  • Book Jacket: Transcendent Kingdom
    Transcendent Kingdom
    by Yaa Gyasi
    Yaa Gyasi's (pronounced "yah jessie") Transcendent Kingdom is, among other things, a meditation on ...
  • Book Jacket: We Are Not Free
    We Are Not Free
    by Traci Chee
    Author Traci Chee is best known for her young adult fantasy trilogy, The Reader series. We Are Not ...
  • Book Jacket: The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures
    The Standardization of Demoralization Procedures
    by Jennifer Hofmann
    The title of Jennifer Hofmann's perceptive debut novel with its bureaucratese strongly suggests a ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Piranesi
    by Susanna Clarke

    A new novel from the NY Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Shadow King
by Maaza Mengiste

An unforgettable epic shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, and named a best book of the year by the New York Times.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive
by Natasha Trethewey

The moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of tragedy.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L N Take I C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.