Review: The Book of ORIGINS by Lawrence Millman

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If you’re in the mood for a different kind of book, a book that can be a quick read if you’re into entertaining ideas that flash by like a whirlwind or a book that can take forever to read because the content constantly makes you stop and think, well then, The Book of ORIGINS: Rude Tales from the Big Bang to the Big Now by Lawrence Millman from NFB Publishing just might be what you’re looking for.

The premise of the book is a compilation of the origins of a gazillion different things we often ask ourselves, “I wonder how this actually came about?” Okay, it’s 87 things to be precise. But Millman tackles things like death, afterlife, globalization, overpopulation and extinction. But this isn’t just an historical retelling of the evolution of elements that make up our everyday lives. This is a collection of bizarre stories that might have or not have happened.

Some of the tales are so far-fetched, readers will be hard pressed to believe them. But rest assured, that little part of you that doubts the validity of any of these stories will be squished by that powerful hope beyond hope that some of them are true.

Though listed in alphabetical order, the topical elements do come off as random ideas that merely seeped into the author’s mind and he was astute enough to jot them down. Some of the stories begin in the style of a limerick, but most end with an unexpected twist or turn. Who would’ve guessed that the suiter of a sea captain’s wife created the role of literary editor? Or, did you know the human language sprouted from the profanity filled anger of a Neanderthal? And, just consider that if not for things like war, pollution, prejudices and a lack of whimsicalness, the planet Earth would have been called Mirth.

The content in this book can be likened to the tales told by Cliff Clavin in the television series Cheers played by John Ratzenburger. Sitting at the bar next to his drinking buddy Norm played by George Wendt. The crazy facts he casually spewed were often obscure and seemingly impossible to prove or debunk, but they were nonetheless fascinating and made the viewer feel like they’ve just learned some valuable piece of information, regardless any obvious flaw. THAT is what The Book of ORIGINS does to its readers. Right or wrong, and at times disturbing, we all want to know the origins of something not mentioned in the old history books.

The Book of ORIGINS: Rude Tales from the Big Bang to the Big Now is a fun collection of stories to read. Filled with random anecdotes that will entertain your friends and impress the guy sitting next to you at the bar. But more importantly, the stories will get you thinking if not chuckling a little, and that is what makes this book work.

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