I had wondered why my Biology Professor had not pointed to this book as a good reference. I can now see why. Dawkins himself has done an about face on...moreI had wondered why my Biology Professor had not pointed to this book as a good reference. I can now see why. Dawkins himself has done an about face on a few of his statements and had to explain or elaborate on a number of others in this updated Anniversary edition. Still, I wish I had read this years ago because it helps explain a lot to me that which I had more difficult times with. This includes the math for some of the genetic results which Dawkins goes into detail with, in some parts, and still makes my eyes cross.
He also helped me understand a lot of the evolution that goes on at the gene level as opposed to the organism level. For this alone I'm glad I read this book. I like reading someone who provides and discovers his own proof and not just uses rhetoric or other's results.
While this book is fairly understandable for most I'm still not sure I'd recommend it to anyone that doesn't have at least a little basic biology and genetics. I'm also back to wanting half stars as this is a 3.5 only slightly leaning to a 4.(less)
If you want an in depth look at the USA I suggest you find another book. However, if you want a slightly humorous and a very Fry centric view, read on...moreIf you want an in depth look at the USA I suggest you find another book. However, if you want a slightly humorous and a very Fry centric view, read on!
I never for once thought that he was going to do more then touch down, do a few highlighted things for each state then move on. I wasn't disappointed. It works very well with Mr. Fry's personality. He seems to flit about in his own life, trying this and testing that and doing most of it with great relish and gusto. While short, a lot of his comments and sentiments of each state are insightful.
I was sad to see some states get short shrift such as Ohio but the time constraints must have been rigid. I also found that Stephen did indulge himself in a bit judgemental-ism despite the fact he stated he wouldn't in his introduction.
I would call this good, light entertainment while being slightly educational. All written by someone who genuinely loves and respects America.(less)
What can you say about a reference book? A lot if it's compiled by the same people that bring you a BBC show called QI.
A lot if not all of the informa...moreWhat can you say about a reference book? A lot if it's compiled by the same people that bring you a BBC show called QI.
A lot if not all of the information is culled from the show and presented in the same humorous way. The presentation is kind of scattershot so it's not good for looking up things alphabetically but I'm pretty sure most of the book will stay with you.
I never thought I'd want to swat someone I so admire but I found Stephen's marginalizing of himself and his accomplishments exasperating. By the secon...moreI never thought I'd want to swat someone I so admire but I found Stephen's marginalizing of himself and his accomplishments exasperating. By the second half of the book I wanted to swat him for being an unrelenting twit. Still, I enjoyed the book as it let me see into his very manic brain.
This is well worth reading for his command of the English language alone. I loved the fact I had to scramble for the dictionary a few times. I have a love for the written language but I'm ashamed my command is poor. The funny thing is you never feel he is talking down to you. He relishes language and in his own words “Another is in every particular I fail Strunk's Elements of Style or any other manual of 'good writing'. If a thing can be said in ten words, I may be relied upon to take a hundred to say it. I ought to go back and ruthlessly prune, pare and extirpate excess growth but I will not. I like words - strike that, I love words and whilst I am fond of the condensed and economical use of them in poetry, in song lyrics, in Twitter, in good journalism and smart advertising, I love the luxuriant profusion and mad scatter of them too.” you can see just how much.
The abrupt ending had its desired effect. I want more.(less)
How can you not love a man, that in the middle of why he kept his crooked nose veers off to discourse on how the monarchy is the crooked nose of Great...moreHow can you not love a man, that in the middle of why he kept his crooked nose veers off to discourse on how the monarchy is the crooked nose of Great Britain. Brilliant stuff!
Stephen has such a command of language and the written word that I felt his pains and triumphs. He agonizes over his lack of musical ability yet in the next breath he's soaring with his first tale of love. His love of words. His toys as he calls them. Strengthening my own love of language.
Unlike others, I knew a few things going in so I didn't find a lot of what he relayed quite so shocking. What I did find surprising is just how sincere he is over the pain some of his misadventures had caused others. A lot of biographies of celebrities either celebrate their crimes or try and sweep them under a rug. Stephen faces his head on and I found that profoundly heartening.
I am absurdly glad that I already have The Fry Chronicles so that I don't have to wait to continue Stephen's memoirs.(less)