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The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town…

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America (original 1989; edition 1990)

by Bill Bryson

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4,87392949 (3.66)76
Title:The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (1990), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Non-Fiction, Read
Tags:Memoir, Humor, Travel, America

Work details

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson (1989)

  1. 20
    Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck (John_Vaughan)
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    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (rockhopper_penguin)
    rockhopper_penguin: I read these two books one after another. It wasn't a deliberate decision, but the two did seem to work well together. The books visit a few of the same places, and it's interesting to note how differently they are portrayed in each.
  3. 10
    Population: 485 by Michael Perry (bnbookgirl)
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    The Small Town in American Literature by David M. Cook (RedEyedNerd)
    RedEyedNerd: 26 American works published between the 1870s and the 1960s. Poems and short stories in full length, novels as excerpts. They share the small town setting as an essential ingredient. Editor's headnotes on the small town aspect of every work.
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    If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende (bnbookgirl)
    bnbookgirl: most enjoyable
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    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner (Othemts)

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Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Bill Bryson comes home from England to see his mother. He borrows his mother's car to travel around the country visiting 38 states. He isn't shy about expressing his opinions on different states and different towns or cities. He has a good sense of humor but sometimes seems a bit hard. A good light read.
  taurus27 | Sep 25, 2016 |
Author is like a snarky Garrison Keillor, and brings a very entertaining view to his road trip around the country in search of true small town flavor. I only gave three stars though, because the final segment seems rushed. The early chapters are well written and the travel anecdotes are hilarious, but by the end of the book he is just blowing through towns and describing terrible food and lousy service without any attempt at redeeming features. For some reason he skipped 10 states - it seems like he could have spent fewer pages complaining about miles of cornfields in the Midwest and made time to fit in a bit of everywhere. ( )
  Darth-Heather | Jun 21, 2016 |
Reading this was like eating the Tootsie Rolls because all the good chocolate from the Halloween candy is gone. I want to read more like [b:A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail|9791|A Walk in the Woods Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail|Bill Bryson|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388189974s/9791.jpg|613469], but I'm going to have to try other authors. I have had more than enough of Bryson. I'm just glad I didn't actually go on these trips with that man. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
An early one from Bryson that has him driving solo through America to visit the small towns in search of the perfect (in his eyes) one, though for some reason, he also visits Manhattan and Las Vegas too. This is full of Bryson's humor, but also unexpected pettiness and sometimes he's downright mean here, which are not so much his trademark traits. Maybe it's because he was very young while writing this one, but he's really harsh on women he doesn't find attractive, he spends a couple of chapters returning over and over to inequality in America's history, and he is so unfair to the South that I had to wonder why he'd bothered going there. His perception of what he'd find in the South was so ingrained in his head that he mocked people as they're being friendly and helpful to him.
There are very, very funny passages, like his one-night stay in a little Vermont town full of creepy locals, and his memories throughout the book of the family vacations of his childhood with his incredibly cheap father. These balance things out some, at least for me. ( )
  mstrust | Jun 4, 2016 |
Loved this book! I generally like Bill Bryson's books. There's a lot of new things to learn and have a bit of a laugh at. I think I would have liked the America of the 1950's. I found the conclusion of the book a bit sad, with Bryson's remembrances of past friends now passed. ( )
  Arkrayder | Apr 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
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Bill Brysonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schalekamp, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my father
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I come from Des Moines.
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Haiku summary
he drives through the states,
acts miserable,
eating junk and talking shit.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060920084, Paperback)

A travelogue by Bill Bryson is as close to a sure thing as funny books get. The Lost Continent is no exception. Following an urge to rediscover his youth (he should know better), the author leaves his native Des Moines, Iowa, in a journey that takes him across 38 states. Lucky for us, he brought a notebook.

With a razor wit and a kind heart, Bryson serves up a colorful tale of boredom, kitsch, and beauty when you least expect it. Gentler elements aside, The Lost Continent is an amusing book. Here's Bryson on the women of his native state: "I will say this, however--and it's a strange, strange thing--the teenaged daughters of these fat women are always utterly delectable ... I don't know what it is that happens to them, but it must be awful to marry one of those nubile cuties knowing that there is a time bomb ticking away in her that will at some unknown date make her bloat out into something huge and grotesque, presumably all of a sudden and without much notice, like a self-inflating raft from which the pin has been yanked."

Yes, Bill, but be honest: what do you really think?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:34 -0400)

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When a native of Iowa returns from England to wander across America's heartland in search of the perfect small town, the result is a string of hilarious anecdotes and biting social commentary

(summary from another edition)

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