Conal's Reviews > Notes from a Small Island

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
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Jan 26, 2008

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Read in January, 2008

I happened upon this book by chance and read it because I enjoy Bill Bryson's writing style. His witty observations are not absent from this travelogue from his adopted home of the UK. The funny text and clever wording, however, do little to mask the fact that Bryson does not actually do very much on his journey. In almost every town, he takes walks, goes out to eat, gets quietly drunk, and bemoans modern architecture - in that order. Style can cover up for substance for only so long before it gets boring.

Despite the lack of genuine action, Bryson does put the country in a new light and features some observational gems that any long-term traveler can relate to.

Don't pick this book if you're looking for a good introduction to Bill Bryon's writing style. Pick up a copy of Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe instead.

(American readers unfamiliar with the UK will have a hard time understanding some jokes and references; but, that won't detract very much from the overall effect.)
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Stephanie What he said.

(Thanks Conal--you pretty much summed up my thoughts and have saved me the trouble of writing my own review. Although I will recommend Mother Tongue as another good first Bill Bryson book.)

Emily I agree, I kept waiting for him to actually DO something, I mean sitting around hotel dining rooms is fine and all, but if you're writing a book you actually want people to read you should highlight some more interesting activities! I liked A Walk in the Woods and A Short History of Nearly Everything though...

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