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Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe (1991)

by Bill Bryson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bill Bryson's Travels (2)

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6,1661091,562 (3.73)141
In the early seventies, Bill Bryson backpacked across Europe-in search of enlightenment, beer, and women. He was accompanied by an unforgettable sidekick named Stephen Katz (who will be gloriously familiar to readers of Bryson's A Walk in the Woods). Twenty years later, he decided to retrace his journey. The result is the affectionate and riotously funny Neither Here Nor There.… (more)
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» See also 141 mentions

English (103)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Definitely the Bill Bryson I’ve come to adore over the years. Not sure how I missed this one all this time. This books got all the good stuff; irreverent but honest and insightful and often very funny. Never miss a chance to read Bryson. He’s good for your soul. ( )
  BBrookes | Dec 12, 2023 |
My first first Bill Bryson Travel read and not my last! A little dated (it’s from the early 1990”s) and that actually made it more interesting. Bill has a way of making the travel experience so very real from your arm chair point of view. He not only gives you a earning experience with insights but I guarantee you will be laughing at least once a page. Highly recommended! ( )
  stevetempo | Sep 4, 2023 |
Good fun. Obviously a bestseller for a reason, good phrasing, nice stories with just that bit of exaggeration. ( )
  cwebb | Aug 29, 2023 |
Fun, light read. ( )
  kevindern | Apr 27, 2023 |
Reading Bill Bryson's 1992 travel book “Neither Here nor There” I was reminded of a book I read several years ago called “The Clumsiest People in Europe.” This tells of Favell Lee Mortimer, a 19th century Englishwoman who wrote travel books for children without hardly ever leaving her own home.

Her books were full of insults. Italians are "ignorant and wicked," for example. The people of Greece "scream like babies."

Bill Bryson often sounds like Favell Lee Mortimer. Consider:

"The best that can be said for Norwegian television is that it gives you the sensation of a coma without the worry and inconvenience."

"Brussels is a seriously ugly place."

"Cologne is a dismal place, which rather pleased me. It was comforting to see that the Germans could make a hash of a city as well as anyone else, and they certainly have done so with Cologne."

"Eating in Sweden is really just a series of heartbreaks."

"The Italians' technological contribution to humankind stopped with the pizza oven."

Bryson's writing is superior to Mortimer's in at least three ways.

1. He actually visited the places he writes about.

2. His work didn't take a hundred years or more to become funny. It was funny when he wrote it and remains hilarious three decades later.

3. He praises as much as he criticizes. Praise is rarely as amusing to read, however, unless you are the one being praised. So as a result his sharp jabs tend to be more memorable than his many positive comments. He often delights in the very same cities and countries that he humiliated in a preceding paragraph. It is obvious that he loved his solo excursion through Europe. He points out whatever he likes and dislikes along the way, but when he ends his journey in Istanbul, he seems tempted to continue into Asia.

The reader knows Bryson doesn't actually regret the terrible food, the dreary hotel rooms and the unfriendly people he finds along the way. Those are the very things that make his book so much fun. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Feb 11, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bryson, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cosimini, SilviaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holzförster, ClaudiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McShane, MikeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mehren, HegeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pendola, SoniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rinaldi, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rogde, IsakTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schalekamp, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"William James describes a man who got the experience from laughing-gas; whenever he was under its influence, he knew the secret of the universe, but when he came to, he had forgotten it. At last, with immense effort, he wrote down the secret before the vision had faded. When completely recovered, he rushed to see what he had written. It was 'A smell of petroleum prevails throughout.'"
Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy
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to Cynthia
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In winter Hammerfest is a thirty-hour ride by bus from Oslo, though why anyone would want to go there in winter is a question worth considering.
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"We used to build civilizations.  Now we build shopping malls."
"I had a hangover you could sell to science..."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In the early seventies, Bill Bryson backpacked across Europe-in search of enlightenment, beer, and women. He was accompanied by an unforgettable sidekick named Stephen Katz (who will be gloriously familiar to readers of Bryson's A Walk in the Woods). Twenty years later, he decided to retrace his journey. The result is the affectionate and riotously funny Neither Here Nor There.

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