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Archive: Other Books > In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson / 3.5 Stars

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message 1: by Kimber (new)

Kimber (kimberwolf) | 823 comments In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
3.5 Stars

This book is a mixture of history and travel writing about Australia's history and culture from a visitor's perspective, and the author's personal experiences traveling there. Bryson tells his tales with a dash of mostly self-deprecating humor, but he also veers into the territory of peevish whining – for example, he reduced the narrative to complaining about the accommodations and sub-par service at the hotels at which he stayed on more than one occasion. I think it is meant to be funny, but I just found it annoying.

For the most part, though, the book does a really good job of describing Australia through the eyes of someone who doesn't live there. Included in Bryson's adventures were a train ride through the outback, body surfing on a beach shared with poisonous stinging jellyfish, snorkeling near the Great Barrier Reef, and hundreds of miles of driving tours across the country to see the sights. The author shares his experiences talking with Australians wherever he goes, so you get a feel for the people in different areas of the country through these personal anecdotes. There is a section about the history of Europeans discovering the island, a very slim discussion of Australian aboriginal history and culture, and a lot of information about the uniqueness of the country and its hostile natural environment (second only to Antarctica). I enjoyed this travel/history book focused on Australia. It sounds like an amazing place.

message 2: by Charlie (last edited Sep 02, 2019 03:52PM) (new)

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments Nice review. Other than remembering I also liked this book, the other thing I (vaguely) recall was the anecdote he shared about the little girl and the construction crew. I don't remember it exactly, but I remember it made me laugh.

message 3: by Kimber (new)

Kimber (kimberwolf) | 823 comments Yes, I remember that story too! The little girl was sort of a mascot (with her mother's supervision) to the construction crew that was building a house next door and she had some funny things to say about it.

I remember being really amused by a section when Bryson and his buddy were both snorkeling, and his friend was zipping all over the place enjoying the underwater sights, but Bryson was having trouble with his mask filling up with water - he made it into a pretty hilarious episode. I laughed quite a bit while reading this one. :)

message 4: by annapi (new)

annapi | 4864 comments This is my favorite of Bryson's books so far - it made me laugh so hard, it was such a fun read.

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