Notes from a Small Island (Notes From a Small Island #1)
"Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it."
After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson - bestselling author of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to return to the United States. ("I had recently read," Bryson writes, "that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been a...more
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There are snippets of great humour and insight (“a young man with more on his mind than in it”; “carpet with the sort of pattern you get when you rub your eyes too hard”; in Liverpool, “They were having a festival of litter... citizens had taken time off from their busy schedules to add crisp packets, empty cigarette boxes and carrier bags to the otherwise blan ...more
Sometimes I just don’t like Bill Bryson as a man. There’s a smattering of things he writes that are cruel, crass, and otherwise makes him unappealing to me, and he sure drinks a lot of beer, but the nasty material ...more
It is the book version of comfort food.
So you can understand why I instinctively reached for this audiobook on the the first day of my new job. I wanted something comforting. And humorous. And British.
I was instantly gratified. Bryson begins his book about touring England by describing how intensely Brits will argue about distance and driving routes:
"If you mention in the pub that you intend to d ...more
Also, this was introduction to Bryson and I was enchanted with his witty and slightly snarky prose that teach and amuse simultaneously!
A favorite moment: hiking in a rainstorm and reaching the summit to find a cadre of Brits huddled together eating soggy sandwic ...more
Bill Bryson is a brilli ...more
I would recommend this book for anyone who has lived in England, as many of the references in the book would escape someone who has not spent much time there. However, I was just never pulled in by his narrative.
I felt like Bryson writes with a perennial smirk on his face, laughing at his own cleverness as he pens various turns of the phrase. But a few funny ...more
Bryson is the perfect coffee and a doughnut writer. You can read him while concentrating on your coffee and it will pass your time pleasantly, maybe you won't gain anything from this exercise, no wisdom, no insight, no sudden new understanding but he won't cost you anything either. In a sense perhaps Notes from a Big Island is the epitome of his art - the collected, USA themed, journalism that ...more
And Bill Bryson's “Notes from a Small Island” must be recorded as the ultimate comfort re-read for an expat Brit; providing on every page diversions that ar ...more
I especially enjoyed the beginning and the end of the book, but thought the ...more
It paints a pretty depressing picture of the UK, when I think his intention was the opposite. Plus, I really liked his book about traveling through continental Europe, so I don’t know what happened here. Also thought the scene where he tells us how fat people eat was insulting, to, well, ...more
"Notes From A Small Island" also reflects his desire to stroll through countrysides and insert some social commentary about the communities he encounters. But this time his location is Great Britain and it is a ...more
Two examples of of great insightful humour:
1) He spends a paragraph describing how the English would make perfect communists, loving to ...more
In case there is anyone out there who is totally unfamiliar with the subject of this book, I shall explain. Bill Bryson is an American from Des Moines, Iowa, who had, at the time of writing, lived in the beautiful county of Yorkshire (in northern England) for many years with his English wife and children.
Bill and ...more
I like Bill Bryson and I figured this would be fun to read as a new resident of Englan ...more
A few sentences did make me chuckle, and I will say that Bryson is a pretty good writer. But overall, this book was a big disappointment. From the other reviews I've read on GR, it seems like I'm not the only one with these specific gripes:
1. Constant whingeing: it seemed fitting to use that word for a ...more
In a Sunburned Country, his book about his Australian travels, was a riot—but I didn't want to make my proclamation yet since I was on a flight to Australia when I read it. Bias and all that, you know how it is.
But after reading this book about the UK? Yup. A must have for anyone interested in travel, (mis)adventure, hilarity.
This is not a guide book. It's a recollection of the author's six-week trip around the Isles ...more
That's what Bill did here. It's once around England and then back to America!
Don't get me wrong: Bill Bryson can be very funny at times. Absolutely.
I just think he needed a better situation to employ his wit. The humor comes through, but not often enough to make this book notable. I actually want to forget it quickly ...more
I am done with Bryson's books. The main reason is that I don't like him. He is funny sometimes but most of the time he is rude, mean, makes fun of other people, does things that I don't quite like.
This was my second book and even this failed to give me much information. I picked this book up since England is on the top of my "must-visit" places from a long time. I have been imagining about this country ever since I picked my first Enid Blyton ...more
In The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson's hilarious first t ...more
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What a wondrous place this was - crazy as fuck, of course, but adorable to the tiniest degree. What other country, after all, could possibly have come up with place names like Tooting Bec and Farleigh Wallop, or a game like cricket that goes on for three days and never seems to start? Who else would think it not the least odd to make their judges wear little mops on their heads, compel the Speaker of the House of Commons to sit on something called the Woolsack, or take pride in a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy? ('Please Hardy, full on the lips, with just a bit of tongue.') What other nation in the world could possibly have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, the Open University, Gardners' Question Time and the chocolate digestive biscuit? None, of course.
How easily we lose sight of all this. What an enigma Britain will seem to historians when they look back on the second half of the twentieth century. Here is a country that fought and won a noble war, dismantled a mighty empire in a generally benign and enlightened way, created a far-seeing welfare state - in short, did nearly everything right - and then spent the rest of the century looking on itself as a chronic failure. The fact is that this is still the best place in the world for most things - to post a letter, go for a walk, watch television, buy a book, venture out for a drink, go to a museum, use the bank, get lost, seek help, or stand on a hillside and take in a view.
All of this came to me in the space of a lingering moment. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you.”