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In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
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In a Sunburned Country (original 2000; edition 2001)

by Bill Bryson

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6,825178539 (3.98)202
Member:tututhefirst
Title:In a Sunburned Country
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Broadway (2001), Edition: 1st Broadway Books Trade Pbk. Ed, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

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In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (2000)

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» See also 202 mentions

English (167)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Piratical (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (176)
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
Great travelogue about Australia, a country most Americans - including myself - seem to know very little about. It's a fascinating place when the guide is Bill Bryson. ( )
  tgraettinger | Mar 6, 2016 |
8. In a Sunburned Country (Audio) by Bill Bryson
read by the author
published: 2000
format: digital audiobook, 11:54 (352 pages in paperback)
acquired: borrowed from my library.
listened: Feb 4 - 17
Rating: 3 stars

I really picked this audiobook only because I thought it would be mildly interesting and entertaining enough for my commute. It hadn't really occurred to me to be all that interested in an travelogue of Australia. But I have basically cleaned my library out of audiobooks I might want to listen to.

So, on the good, after opening with much real but mindlessly entertaining humor, the book did later bring me onboard. Bryson is Bryson and he can make stuff you didn't care all that much about become really interesting. I picture him having a tough time figuring how to go about this book, how to write a travel book that isn't really a travel book. First throw in as much humor as possible and then eventually stumble into substance. Anyway, that is what he seems to have done and it works.

That bad is that, after all this very interesting and sometimes wonderful stuff, he sidesteps the Australian Aboriginal issue. Of course it's a thorny issue and something rather complicated and negative for what is supposed to be a fun and non-controversial book. But, it felt like a great mistake, like the whole book became somehow half effort all because he couldn't figure out his way in. Did he try and just encounter too many problems? Did he decide that at 1.5% of the population maybe they aren't such a big deal? I don't know and wish he had found a better answer. ( )
1 vote dchaikin | Feb 17, 2016 |
This was an interesting look at a land that I (and apparently most of the world) knew little about. Bryson just cracked me up along the way which made it all the more fun to listen to! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was an interesting look at a land that I (and apparently most of the world) knew little about. Bryson just cracked me up along the way which made it all the more fun to listen to! ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
I love Bill Bryson! So far I've read Notes from a Small Island, Notes from a Big Country, The Lost Continent, Neither Here Nor There, Shakespeare and the African Diary – Down Under is my favourite so far! I must confess I don’t know a great deal about Australia (apart from the stuff everyone knows) and I don’t suppose I’ll ever get to visit due to cost and also my fear of flying. This book is just fantastic because Bryson talks not only about the things one knows – or thinks one knows – but also about the more obscure things that only someone who has travelled the country or lived there would know. As usual it had me laughing out loud and I felt I really got a good insight into the country. I seldom re-read books, but I’m fairly certain I’ll pick this one up again one day. Fantastic stuff.

The only criticism I can level at the book has absolutely nothing to do with the content – but rather the font used. I think it’s peculiar to the publisher, Black Swan, as my mother-in-law loved Joanna Trollope and they have the same font but I find it rather crowded! Not that it would ever stop me from reading more of his works… although I’m still to pluck up the courage to pick up my nemesis Short History of Nearly Everything! One day…

If you’ve never read Bill Bryson before I urge you to give him a try! ( )
  Bagpuss | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
Boisterous and contagious, Bryson’s writing is a constant affectionate tease aimed at prodding the reader as much as the society and place that he is describing. Bryson loves Australia and he wants you to share his enthusiasm for it. Wherever Bryson is: gaping at a giant stuffed lobster on the roadside in the middle of the Australian outback, cursing himself as he tries to snorkel unsuccessfully in the Great Barrier Reef, or admiring Sydney’s harbor he writes with a love and a ruthlessness that only a sibling or best friend would dare to use.
added by mikeg2 | editYale University, Noam Schimmel (Jun 10, 2001)
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Brysonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gower, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To David, Felicity, Catherine, and Sam
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Flying into Australia, I realized with a sigh that I had forgotten again who their prime minister is.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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published in Britain as "Down Under"
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Wikipedia in English (5)

Book description
The author of "A Walk in the Woods" now chronicles his exploration of Australia. This good-humoured traveller relates his outback adventures with anecdotes
about the history and local inhabitants. Describes the harsh terrain and hostile wildlife including crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and attacking seashells.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767903862, Paperback)

Bill Bryson follows his Appalachian amble, A Walk in the Woods, with the story of his exploits in Australia, where A-bombs go off unnoticed, prime ministers disappear into the surf, and cheery citizens coexist with the world's deadliest creatures: toxic caterpillars, aggressive seashells, crocodiles, sharks, snakes, and the deadliest of them all, the dreaded box jellyfish. And that's just the beginning, as Bryson treks through sunbaked deserts and up endless coastlines, crisscrossing the "under-discovered" Down Under in search of all things interesting.

Bryson, who could make a pile of dirt compelling--and yes, Australia is mostly dirt--finds no shortage of curiosities. When he isn't dodging Portuguese man-of-wars or considering the virtues of the remarkable platypus, he visits southwest Gippsland, home of the world's largest earthworms (up to 12 feet in length). He discovers that Australia, which began nationhood as a prison, contains the longest straight stretch of railroad track in the world (297 miles), as well as the world's largest monolith (the majestic Uluru) and largest living thing (the Great Barrier Reef). He finds ridiculous place names: "Mullumbimby Ewylamartup, Jiggalong, and the supremely satisfying Tittybong," and manages to catch a cricket game on the radio, which is like

listening to two men sitting in a rowboat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren't biting; it's like having a nap without losing consciousness. It actually helps not to know quite what's going on. In such a rarefied world of contentment and inactivity, comprehension would become a distraction.

"You see," Bryson observes, "Australia is an interesting place. It truly is. And that really is all I'm saying." Of course, Bryson--who is as much a travel writer here as a humorist, naturalist, and historian--says much more, and does so with generous amounts of wit and hilarity. Australia may be "mostly empty and a long way away," but it's a little closer now. --Rob McDonald

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:14 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

The author takes readers on a tour of the land Down Under that goes far beyond packaged-tour routes.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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