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

by Bill Bryson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,79989967 (3.67)73
Member:atrautz
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
Rating:****
Tags:Memoir, Humor, Travel, America

Work details

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

  1. 10
    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.
  2. 10
    Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck (John_Vaughan)
  3. 10
    Population: 485 by Michael Perry (bnbookgirl)
  4. 00
    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.
  5. 00
    If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende (bnbookgirl)
    bnbookgirl: most enjoyable
  6. 00
    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 85 (next | show all)
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 |
I first heard of Bill Bryson in the early 1990s when "The Lost Continent" was included in a list of "The 100 books you have to read before you die". While the list made it sound like "The Lost Continent" was a pseudo "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", Bryson wrote in a very relaxed style, though still building up to his later, and better travelogues.

After growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, Bryson escaped the US for Europe for many years before he returns to travel the US and report, basically, on what a bunch of overweight dunderheads the locals are. He still seems to have a soft spot for it, though. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Apr 21, 2016 |
This is the first time I've given a low rating to one of Bill Bryson's books. The reader was quite good, but maybe I was less forgiving about content because it wasn't Bill's voice I was hearing? I almost didn't even finish it. He was so NEGATIVE about things...on and on - Yosemite wasn't good enough, this was wrong, that was bad...I got tired of hearing him whining! He wouldn't bother to pay to see the Biltmore Estate, and yet he was disappointed when he could no longer hear Howard Stearn on the radio? Unbelievable! If you've not read Bill Bryson before....do NOT start with this one or you may miss out on his other highly entertaining and informative books. You can give this one a miss. ( )
  KylaS | Feb 18, 2016 |
Bleh.... Well, to be honest coming in I was probably affected by my friend's earlier review... but reading it myself I couldn't get passed how much Bryson *complained* about *everything*! I would have hated to be on that road trip with him because he was sour grapes: critical, never happy, never impressed, always-better-than and at times a judgmental jerk (I'm thinking of how many women he came across that he described as flabby or huge or worse). I thought I was prepared for this since I've read and for the most part liked Walk in the Woods, but I've had my fill of Bryson. Doubtful I'll invest in another book of his to hear more about how unsatisfied he is with everything in life. What a shame that he goes on these amazing adventures just to tell the world how much it all sucks. Poor him to have to "suffer" through. ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
Subjected to more bouts of severe tear inducing laughter with this work. Very wodehousian in it's rendering. Very, very funny with extreme laughter induced in almost every page.
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
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Bill Brysonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schalekamp, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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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