It would be hard to overstate how much I love this man's writing. To give you and idea of the quantity of love we're talking about here, I suppose saying that this:
Was basically the high point of my life.
He is, without doubt, my favorite non-fiction writer. He most certainly lives with C.S. Lewis, Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse and Dorothy Sayers in my top people of all time worship list.
He really can make anything interesting. I have almost zero interest in science, yet I just finished a 400-odd page book about it. Besides the whole "he can make any sentence into an oh my gosh I'm going to pee my pants it's so funny situation", he throws the shallow reader like me good bones every once in a while, and gives side notes about peoples' private lives and characters. School books would ever mention that so-and-so did fieldwork naked on hot days, or that even Marie Curie's cookbooks are pulsing with radioactivity and have to be handled with care - yet those are the things that make it fun for a person like me. Bill Bryson ruins you for textbooks.
Whether or not any of it sticks in my head, I come away from his books feeling more intelligent, which is a rare and extremely pleasing feeling.
On a side note, I have one of these thingys:
And it saved my sanity during the drive my the family made from California to Arkansas. On the other side, it says, "Written and read by the author." Which makes me chortle and shake my head.
CONCLUSION: I love Bill Bryson. But I already knew that.
P.S. I also think that cover rocks.