After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a few years, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him. But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip ...
After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a few years, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him. But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells, people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and Gardeners' Question Time.
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Very amusing and a great read - a good follow up to his other books.
Dec 8, 2008
Bryson does it again!
Bryson observes a culture that should be so much like ours (in the US) but just isn't. He writes, as skillfully and hilariously as ever, with the special insight of someone who understands and loves the country, having lived there 20 years with his English wife and 4 children, but has the eye of an outsider. This book made me want to get up and plan a trip to England. Follow this with his next book, "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" in which he copes with adjusting to a country (The US) that is different from the one he left 20 years earlier.
Oct 4, 2007
If I were going to travel anywhere, I would first see if Bill Bryson had written a book about it first. Not only would I find out some pretty fascinating things, but I'd probably lose about two pounds just by laughing so hard. Bryson writes with a unique combination of affection and derision - he pokes fun at the absurd, but is never nasty (on the whole). As he potters about Britain on his farewell tour, he leaves you with the wonderful impression of a deep and special love for the place, even if there are many aspects of British life that he cannot comprehend (although he tries!). And the facts he gathers! Wonderful stuff. A real treat.
Jun 28, 2007
Bill Bryson takes one around England in a personal and up close way.You will want to book another trip to check this "small island" out again. Not a new book-but one I missed the first time around and maybe you did too.
Apr 1, 2007
Notes from a Small Island
This should be required reading for all Anglophiles. Who could resist taking a tour around Great Britain with a host that is not only extremely knowlegeble but absolutely hilarious as well. I found myself laughing out loud at Bryson 's unique perspective on things, which is apparent in so many of his travel books, and enjoying his observations that point out the absurd in an affectionate way. It's a fun read, but informative at the same time, and I learned several things about Great Britain that I wasn't aware of . Definitely recommended !
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