Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Author: Bill Bryson
ISBN: 0552996609
Publisher: Black Swan
Pages: 352

This is an account of a journey that Bryson makes round Great Britain some time in the early 90's after deciding that he will leave UK and go back to the United States. Before he leaves, he feels the need to see the country, which he has called home for the past two decades. He starts with a recollection of his first arrival in Dover good 20 years before and then repeats the Calais-Dover journey and continues the tour (mostly by public transport) that takes in - amongst others - London's Wapping; Dorset Coastal Path, Salisbury, Lincoln, Bradford, Port Sunlight, Inverness and Wick.

He begins his journey, entering by sea from France as he first arrived, on the south coast of England and aims to travel all around in just a few weeks. This time limit seems like so little once he actually begins. Everything is of interest to him and he cannot quite find the time to fit it all.

It is full of rich conversations, humorous sketches and amusing exchanges with the natives who often astonish him with their observations and attitudes. A good-natured work of art through the country's eccentricities as well as its charms, this is an affable companion for any trip to the isle.

This book is not just a catalogue of Bryson jokes, there are idiosyncratic description and some chapters are gems of light travel writing. He seems particularly better at describing cities and town than countrysides.

Overall, 'Notes from the Small Island' presents an informative, personal and mostly warm portrait of this island and its inhabitants.

Reading this, one should not expect beautiful prose or deep insights. However, it makes us laugh over and over again.
CymLowell

12 comments:

Beth said...

This book always interests me when I see it, but I have yet to read it! Here is my "N" book.

WhatsInWapping said...

Read this initially because of the Wapping mention.

Didn't learn much about Wapping that I didn't already know but no regrets as like you say it made us laugh again and again AND AGAIN :)

Vivienne said...

I really do need to read this. I bet he know Britain better than most of us genuine Brits do.

Nise' said...

Sounds like a great read.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This sounds like something I would like...love that cover, too.

Here's mine:

http://laurel-rain-outonalimb.blogspot.com/2010/05/z-wednesday_11.html

Michelle said...

This sounds like a book I might like with: rich conversations, humorous sketches and amusing exchanges.
Thanks for sharing

My `N` is up

Sherrie said...

Hi!
This book is on my TBR list. It sounds really interesting. Have a great day!

Sherrie
Just books

fredamans said...

Sounds like a read for me!

http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/2010/05/to-z-starts-with-n.html

Vicki said...

I think I'd like this one

Thanks for playing!

jlshall said...

I've been meaning to read this one for years - ever since it first came out and I bought a copy. It sounds like a really entertaining read. Great review!

Bernadette in Australia said...

I really like this book too - I like the way he shows his genuine affection for his adopted home while still pointing out the quirks. And yes it is 'laugh out loud' funny.

Yvonne said...

This sounds like a good book.