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The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson
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The Lost Continent Quotes (showing 1-17 of 17)
“As my father always used to tell me, 'You see, son, there's always someone in the world worse off than you.' And I always used to think, 'So?”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“I mused for a few moments on the question of which was worse, to lead a life so boring that you are easily enchanted, or a life so full of stimulus that you are easily bored.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent
“I was heading to Nebraska. Now there's a sentence you don't want to say too often if you can possibly help it.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“At the foot of the mountain, the park ended and suddenly all was squalor again. I was once more struck by this strange compartmentalization that goes on in America -- a belief that no commercial activities must be allowed inside the park, but permitting unrestrained development outside, even though the landscape there may be just as outstanding. America has never quite grasped that you can live in a place without making it ugly, that beauty doesn't have to be confined behind fences, as if a national park were a sort of zoo for nature.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent
“I became quietly seized with that nostalgia that overcomes you when you have reached the middle of your life and your father has recently died and it dawns on you that when he went he took some of you with him.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“And before long there will be no more milk in bottles delivered to the doorstep or sleepy rural pubs, and the countryside will be mostly shopping centers and theme parks. Forgive me. I don't mean to get upset. But you are taking my world away from me, piece by little piece, and sometimes it just pisses me off. Sorry.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“Still, I never really mind bad service in a restaurant. It makes me feel better about not leaving a tip.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“Why is it, I wondered, that old people are always so self-centered and excitable? But I just smiled benignly and stood back, comforted by the thought that soon they would be dead.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“In this he was like most Midwesterners. Directions are very important to them. They have an innate need to be oriented, even in their anecdotes. Any story related by a Midwesterner will wander off at some point into a thicket of interior monologue along the lines of "We were staying at a hotel that was eight blocks northeast of the state capital building. Come to think of it, it was northwest. And I think it was probably more like nine blocks. And this woman without any clothes on, naked as the day she was born except for a coonskin cap, came running at us from the southwest... or was it the southeast?" If there are two Midwesterns present and they both witnessed the incident, you can just about write off the anecdote because they will spend the rest of the afternoon arguing points of the compass and will never get back to the original story. You can always tell a Midwestern couple in Europe because they will be standing on a traffic island in the middle of a busy intersection looking at a windblown map and arguing over which way is west. European cities, with their wandering streets and undisciplined alleys, drive Midwesterners practically insane.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“In the morning I awoke early and experienced that sinking sensation that overcomes you when you first open your eyes and realize that instead of a normal day ahead of you, with its scatterings of simple gratifications, you are going to have a day without even the tiniest of pleasures; you are going to drive across Ohio.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
tags: ohio
“[Traveling] makes you realize what an immeasurably nice place much of America could be if only people possessed the same instinct for preservation as they do in Europe. You would think the millions of people who come to Williamsburg every year would say to each other, "Gosh, Bobbi, this place is beautiful. Let's go home to Smellville and plant lots of trees and preserve all the fine old buildings." But in fact that never occurs to them. They just go back and build more parking lots and Pizza Huts.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“Sometimes it rained, but mostly it was just dull, a land without shadows. It was like living inside Tupperware.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“Eventually, mercifully, the waitress prised the spoons out of our hands and took the dessert stuff away, and we were able to stumble zombielike out into the night.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“The most splendid thing about the Amish is the names they give their towns. Everywhere else in America towns are named either after the first white person to get there or the last Indian to leave. But the Amish obviously gave the matter of town names some thought and graced their communities with intriguing, not to say provocative, appellations: Blue Ball, Bird in Hand, and Intercourse, to name but three. Intercourse makes a good living by attracting passers-by such as me who think it the height of hilarity to send their friends and colleagues postcards with an Intercourse postal mark and some droll sentiment scribbled on the back.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
tags: amish
“It's the place you would go if you wanted to buy a stereo system for under thirty-five dollars and didn't care if it sounded like the band was playing in a mailbox under water in a distant lake.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
tags: k-mart
“The people of Cody like you to think that Buffalo Bill was a native son. In fact, I’m awfully proud to tell you, he was an Iowa native, born in the little town of Le Claire in 1846. The people of Cody, in one of the more desperate commercial acts of this century, bought Buffalo Bill’s birthplace and re-erected it in their town, but they are lying through their teeth when they hint that he was a local. And the thing is, they have a talented native son of their own. Jackson Pollock, the artist, was born in Cody. But they don’t make anything of that because, I suppose, Pollock was a complete wanker when it came to shooting buffalo.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
“At the North Carolina border, the dull landscape ended abruptly, as if by decree. Suddenly the countryside rose and fell in majestic undulations, full of creeping thickets of laurel, rhododendron and palmetto.”
Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America

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