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Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Notes from a Small Island (original 1995; edition 2001)

by Bill Bryson (Author)

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7,906164417 (3.79)287
Title:Notes from a Small Island
Authors:Bill Bryson (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2001), 324 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Read in 2017, Kindle, Nonfiction, Travel, Great Britain

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Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (1995)


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Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
I picked this up as I had enjoyed Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods". I was not disappointed.

Bryson is taking one last tour of England and parts of before he moves back to the U.S. with his family. The move is so that the kids will get to know their roots...I think.

It is a solo tour to visit places he has been and some he hasn't but wanted to go. He uses the British Rail and walking as his choice of transportation. It isn't just the big cities he visits, but it is the small villages too. His commentary and musings of all things British (and Scottish) are entertaining and sometimes thought provoking. Why do the British call private schools public schools? Why is it called a 'jumper' in England and a 'sweater' in America? The politeness of the English by the way they preface requests with "I'm sorry..." and other observations. Many are tongue-in-cheek, and all seem in a humourous vein.

His view and descriptions of his travels are from a person who really does love a country that he lived and worked in for a good length of time. Not derogatory but curious.

I enjoy his style of writing and observations. A light-hearted read. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Dec 16, 2017 |
Disappointing ( )
  blueraven57 | Nov 26, 2017 |
I can't begin to tell you how much I love Bill Bryson. I first read NFASI many, many years ago and completely agree that if you do not want people looking at you while you snort with laughter, then do not read this book in public. Having re-read it now with a few more years and some travelling under my belt it's easier to relate to a lot of the writing.
So, on to the book. This is basically a book about a man, after living in Britain for a number of years and faced with the imminent departure to his mother country (America), who decides to go on a goodbye tour of Britain. To try and figure out why he likes the place so much. His travels take him from South to North and many places in between and every chapter is laced with wit, charm and a very critical look at his destinations.
I enjoy this book more and more every time I read it. If you're ever feeling particularly un-patriotic and you wonder what there is to be pleased and proud about, regarding being British, give this book a go. It's almost embarrassing to be given a sense of patriotism from a "foreigner" but to my mind, the best way of looking at yourself sometimes, is through another's eyes. And Bryson's eyes are some of the best out there. ( )
  Studlyg | Nov 15, 2017 |
English have tireless dogged / optimism
upbeat turn of phrase — no grumbling —
Pg. 145 — Travel in car — unlively — sealed off from world — moving vehicle + pace all wrong
Pg 147 — Bushes — hedges — enclosure mvt carefully composed countryside
Pg 156 Genius for names / towns / prisons, Pubs, flowers
Pg 248 Eng Weather — Outlook — Dry + Warm / Cooler some rain

After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson - bestselling author of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to return to the United States. ("I had recently read," Bryson writes, "that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, so it was clear that my people needed me.") But before departing, he set out on a grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.
  christinejoseph | Oct 4, 2017 |
To my mind, Bryson is the premier travel writer around today, and “Notes From a Small Island” is perhaps the best example of his travelogues. As an American in the UK who married a local and settled down, Bryson is able to spot the absurdities of British life like no one else.

Following Bryson around his then-current journey around the UK, intermixed with flashbacks of his earlier travels around the UK, Bryson seems to be having the trip that I really should have had, were the situation different. Whether he’s negotiating the weird rules surrounding guest houses, his career as a staffer in a psychiatric hospital or the incomprehensible accents of Glasgow, Bryson is always worth a laugh. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Aug 17, 2017 |
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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
Torndahl, LenaTranslatorsecondary 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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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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