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Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Notes from a Small Island (1995)

by Bill Bryson

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A light and very funny read. ( )
  Lukerik | Nov 23, 2015 |
My mother insisted I read this as preparation for our forthcoming trip to the UK, in which we will be spending a lot of time travelling by rail. So I did, and quite enjoyed it. My favourite chapters were the ones focusing on places we've either been before (Liverpool, Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow) or places that remain on the list of sights to see (Windsor, Salisbury, Manchester, John o'Groats). The Liverpool chapter in particular made me want to book tickets and go right back, particularly to visit the Merseyside Maritime Museum. I periodically laughed out loud at some of Bryson's encounters with the locals (especially Vodafone Man), but there were a couple of incidents where he was much grumpier with people than they perhaps deserved. (I'm thinking of a young man working at McDonalds who had the misfortune to ask if Bryson wanted an apple turnover with his coffee and Egg McMuffin -- Bryson's reaction, even when told that the staff are required to ask EVERYONE that question, seemed excessive.)

I'd love to see an updated edition of this -- it was written in 1995, and I think now would be a good time to showcase the railways of Britain again and demand better funding and maintenance for what is still left of them. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Aug 30, 2015 |
Such a charming book. A bit dated now, but who cares. ( )
  Iira | Aug 22, 2015 |
This was the first Bill Bryson book that I ever read. Since then I have read every new offering, and his entire back catalog as well, which should give you some idea of how much I enjoyed it. Bryson not only gives you frequent laughs, but he puts some meat on the bones of the local history and culture. This is how all travel-logs should be written. ( )
  JacobMayer75 | Jul 16, 2015 |
Bryson's books are really all about Bryson. In this book he'd spout one stereotype about the British people in one chapter, and in the next chapter he'd say "Brits are so xxx" and the 'xxx' would be in direct contradiction to the previous assertion. Every time I laughed I felt guilty for doing so. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bryson, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauer, JerryPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Case, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McLarty, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pék, ZoltánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruschmeier, SigridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilde, Suzan deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My first sight of England was on a foggy March night in 1973 when I arrived on the midnight ferry from Calais.
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Book description
Bill Bryson, although living in Yorkshire, England, was born in America, and after deliberation with his wife, decided to move back there. Before departing, however, Bryson travelled one last time around England, from Dover to Liverpool to John O’Groats, keeping a record of his experiences. The result was Notes from a Small Island, a book filled with trains, tea-rooms, and (mostly) polite, amiable people.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380727501, Paperback)

Reacting to an itch common to Midwesterners since there's been a Midwest from which to escape, writer Bill Bryson moved from Iowa to Britain in 1973. Working for such places as Times of London, among others, he has lived quite happily there ever since. Now Bryson has decided his native country needs him--but first, he's going on a roundabout jaunt on the island he loves.

Britain fascinates Americans: it's familiar, yet alien; the same in some ways, yet so different. Bryson does an excellent job of showing his adopted home to a Yank audience, but you never get the feeling that Bryson is too much of an outsider to know the true nature of the country. Notes from a Small Island strikes a nice balance: the writing is American-silly with a British range of vocabulary. Bryson's marvelous ear is also in evidence: "... I noted the names of the little villages we passed through--Pinhead, West Stuttering, Bakelite, Ham Hocks, Sheepshanks ..." If you're an Anglophile, you'll devour Notes from a Small Island.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:01 -0400)

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Before returning to America after spending twenty years in Britain, the author decided to tour his second home and presents a look at England's quirks and its endearing qualities.

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