Life according to

Bill Bryson

A Really Short History Of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson book cover



On love and marriage

'Normally, your wife can hear things that no one else on earth can hear. She can hear a dab of jam fall onto a carpet two rooms away. She can hear spilled coffee being furtively mopped up with a good bath towel. She can hear dirt being tracked across a clean floor. She can hear you just thinking about doing something you shouldn't do. But get yourself stuck in a loft hatch and suddenly it is as if she has been placed in a soundproof chamber.'

- Notes from a Big Country

On the meaning of life

'It is easy to overlook this thought that life just is. As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point. We have plans and aspirations and desires. We want to take constant advantage of all the intoxicating existence we've been endowed with. But what's life to a lichen? Yet its impulse to exist, to be, is every bit as strong as ours – arguably even stronger. If I were told that I had to spend decades being a furry growth on a rock in the woods, I believe I would lose the will to go on. Lichens don't. Like virtually all living things, they will suffer any hardship, endure any insult, for a moment's additions existence. Life, in short just wants to be.'

- A Short History of Nearly Everything



On parents

'As my father always used to tell me, "You see, son, there's always someone in the world worse off than you." And I always used to think, "So?"'

- The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America



On money

'Isn't it strange how wealth is always wasted on the rich?'

- Neither Here, Nor There: Travels in Europe



On death

'I became quietly seized with that nostalgia that overcomes you when you have reached the middle of your life and your father has recently died and it dawns on you that when he went he took some of you with him.'

- The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America

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