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In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
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In a Sunburned Country (2000)

by Bill Bryson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bill Bryson's Travels (5)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,528196721 (3.97)272
Recently added byTahamata, EBassett, DIWalker1960, private library, ali180, hejmarguerite, BookConcierge, amysan, RobNoB
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» See also 272 mentions

English (186)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (194)
Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
Book on CD narrated by the author

Bryson turns his journalistic skills to an exploration of the only continent that is also a country, and an island.

I loved the small details that he included, was enthralled by his adventures (whether in person or through research), and really felt that I got a good sense of the country, the people, the customs and the landscape (varied doesn’t begin to describe the latter aspect). I felt as giddy as a child discovering a new wonder when I read about one obscure fact after another, or imagined myself traversing the outback in a four-wheel-drive vehicle (with TWO extra containers of petrol) with hardly a person, gas station, shelter or convenience store in sight. I could feel the cooling sea breezes, was just as annoyed as Bryson by the flies, delighted in the droll explanations of the locals, was warmed by his descriptions of desert-heat, and longed to witness the marvels of nature he depicted.

It’s a wonderful memoir / travel journal. If Australia weren’t already on my bucket list, it certainly would be now.

Bryson narrates the audiobook himself. I found his delivery rather dry and somewhat slow-paced; he hardly sounded excited about any of the sites he saw. I wound up reading at least half the book in text format, and found I preferred the “voice in my head” to the author’s actual voice on the audio. ( )
  BookConcierge | Mar 11, 2019 |
Bill Bryson takes on Australia and gives us an account of his wanderings, mixed with his own fascinating version of its history. Fun, funny (laugh-out-loud hilarious in parts), clever (but in Bryson's distinctly sweet-and-humble way), and of course wonderfully well written, as always. Highly recommended. ( )
  scaifea | Nov 25, 2018 |
I laughed a lot. Don't know how I managed to not read any Bill Bryson over the years. This will end now. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
”Australia is just so full of surprises. There is always something just down the road---a treetop walk, a beach harboring ancient life-forms, museums celebrating improbable Dutch shipwrecks or naked telegraph repairmen, really nice people like Mike and Val Cantrell, a fishing village turning out to see a stricken ship limp home. You never know what it’s going to be but it is nearly always pretty good.”

I guess I wasn’t really aware of how immense the country/continent of Australia is but that is the foremost thing I took away from this very good and humorous travel book. I don’t know exactly how much time Bill Bryson spent there doing his research but I’m pretty sure it was considerable. He left no stone unturned, so to speak, and covered every corner of Australia from the largest city (Sydney) to its smallest, most remote and impossible to find woebegone backwater. But he finds something joyful and beautiful about every place he visits, whether it be the landscape, the view, the history, the etymology or the people and most of the time it’s a combination of these things. He includes references to oddities that a region may be known for on page after page. This all works very well for him and, therefore, for the reader.

The immense size of the country and the danger of being caught unprepared while in the brutally hot bush country is brought up many times with specific examples of those unfortunate souls who didn’t heed the warnings and paid the ultimate price. The same goes for the danger of various forms of wildlife, including crocodiles, sharks and stinging jelly fish.

He barely touches on the Aborigine history and justifies that because there’s really nothing he can do about it. Since he relates so much of the history of Australia though, this seems like a miscue. My only other slight objection is the lack of maps, or at least the poor quality of the maps that were provided. I love maps and its one of the reasons I try not to read non-fiction that would benefit from maps on my kindle, which is terrible for maps. But in this case, in a regular trade paperback, the quality just wasn’t very good.

This was a very enjoyable read, filled with humorous anecdotes and left me wanting to book my flight to Australia, maybe tomorrow. Highly recommended. ( )
4 vote brenzi | Mar 20, 2018 |
Certainly made me want to steer clear of Australia. very vivid -- all those creepy creatures on land & water. Despair ( )
  c_why | Feb 14, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 186 (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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Dedication
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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Wikipedia in English (3)

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.
Haiku summary

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)

(see all 9 descriptions)

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

» see all 14 descriptions

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