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In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

In a Sunburned Country (original 2000; edition 2001)

by Bill Bryson

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7,139189500 (3.98)229
Title:In a Sunburned Country
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Broadway (2001), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (2000)

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English (178)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All (186)
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
This is a typical Bryson book offering knowledgeable details in an engaging style. I am always surprised at just how much Bryson knows. Some people might make denigrating comments about the way he popularises traditionally serious subjects but I think he engages a lot of people in areas that they would otherwise know little about.

Whether Australians would like all that he has to say about their country is difficult to know. He writes enthusiastically when generalising about their open friendliness but there are quite a few negative impressions that he offers, such as the group of boys on skateboards in Canberra ‘with backward-facing baseball caps’ and the awful regularity of Canberra where no-one was to be seen walking about, just the occasional car gliding past with the driver ‘ looking around with a despairing expression that said, “Now where the fuck is my house?”’ Mind you, with so many Australian suburbs having anonymous streets running north/south and east/west, it could have reminded Bryson of his home with all those even more anodyne streets called ‘First’, ‘Second’ and so on.

Still, that conversational style, the mixture of fact and fantasy and the humour lift the tone so it’s not surprising that Bryson has had so much success. You really feel as if he’s chatting to you, not just sharing his experiences but engaged with the reader’s as well. Exaggeration is probably his favourite way of creating humour as well as just purely making up bits. My favourite chapter would be the one set in Daly Waters with many laugh-out-loud moments.

I like the way Bryson makes many serious points too – he deals very seriously with the deprivation of the Aborigines even if, as he says, he doesn’t know exactly what can be done. He’s very enthusiastic about the Great Barrier Reef – I wonder what he thinks now that so much of it has been destroyed. ( )
  evening | Jul 8, 2017 |
In A Sunburned Country is a year 2000 Australian travelogue presented by Bill Bryson in a humorous and approachable manner. Although filled with clever anecdotes and funny situations the author still manages to pass along a great deal of information about that unique country.

The book is based on a number of trips the author made to Australia, including a cross country rail trip and various driving excursions and boat trips. Whether he is detailing stats about population, giving the reader history lessons, describing the awesome beauty or considering the varied and sometimes dangerous flora and fauna, his sheer joy of being in that country comes across on every page.

In A Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson’s admiration for Australia made me want to pack my suitcase and run away to the ‘land down under’. I needed an escape from real life right now and this book certainly managed to carry me away. It’s a frank, funny and overall, a very captivating read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Mar 22, 2017 |
Humorous journey through Australia ( )
  JackSweeney | Mar 7, 2017 |
Just before the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Bill Bryson travels across the country of Australia, mulling over its history, its various biomes, and the very dangerous toxic animals that you may come across.

Bryson's travel books are some of my favorites of his. I enjoy his humor unless he's at his most grumpy, and in this one he isn't much because he really loves Australia. Sometimes he's just sitting back in wonder enjoying something, and it makes for fun reading. He makes me want to travel the continent and see if everything's as wonderful (or as disappointing) as he says, nearly 20 years later. As is typical of his books, it tends to tell you where he went and then digress into the things about the place that he finds interesting, whether it be the treatment of Aborigines or how an Australian Prime Minister went for a swim and was never seen again. Your mileage may vary, but I had a grand time reading. ( )
  bell7 | Feb 25, 2017 |
Did not read the Kindle edition, but this is the pb edition available in Canada, by Anchor Canada, and it does not appear in the list of editions.... ( )
  APopova | Jan 2, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (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 editionscalculated
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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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.
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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)

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

(summary from another edition)

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