"To read Bryson is to travel with a memoirist gifted with wry observation and keen insight that sheds new light on things we mistake for commonplace"—so said PW about Bill Bryson's latest opus, A Short History of Nearly Everything (all crammed into 544 pages!). Here's a short history of the book: published by Broadway May 6; copies in print 150,000; an 11-city tour, on which capacity crowds have thronged events from Boston through Des Moines to Santa Cruz, Calif.; major media hits: NPR's Talk of the Nation and To the Best of Our Knowledge, plus C-Span's Book TV; print highlights: People, Men's Journal, BookPage, in-flight magazines of Northwest and Southwest Airlines.

With reporting by Dick Donahue