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Anna Faversham

Bill Bryson

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I've just finished listening to the audio version of Bill Bryson's 'The Road to Little Dribbling'. It's great. He doesn't sound such a happy bunny these days but his observations on the things that are concerning him about the UK are witty, wry and worth considering. Excellent value, 11 CDs.

 

 

Edit: I'm not sure if I should have started a new thread, I just didn't know where to put this - please move it if it should be somewhere else!

Edited by Anna Faversham

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JeanW   

I'm half way through reading the book and finding it just as funny as Notes from a Small Island. Keep laughing aloud every few sentences. yes, he's perceptive and rightly critical of lots of things about England but like for me, the good things outweigh the bad.

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I love Bill Bryson. He has such a dry sardonic way of looking at things. Agree though, with the latest book he comes across as more of a grumpy old man than he ever did before (while still being funny; I just didn't agree with him quite as much). He also did a radio series on the origins of the English language which is available as an audiobook through Audible - or at least, was. That's excellent too.

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shirley   

I have recently read The Road to Little Dribbling found it is so funny, and his observations about some of the towns I did not always agree with but was funny non the less.  I have not read any of his other books but I did think he came across as a grumpy old man but a funny grumpy old man.

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I have recently read The Road to Little Dribbling found it is so funny, and his observations about some of the towns I did not always agree with but was funny non the less.  I have not read any of his other books but I did think he came across as a grumpy old man but a funny grumpy old man.

 

Shirley, if you enjoyed this one I would urge you to try The Lost Continent, which was his first, travelling around the USA, and Neither Here Nor There, travelling around Europe. Also Notes From a Small Island which is the original tour of the UK that Little Dribbling was a sequel to. :)

 

Edited to add - not a lot of the grumpiness in either ;)

Edited by Flip Martian

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shirley   

Thank you for the recommendations I wasent sure about his other works or whether they would be dated now.  But will certainly give them a shot.

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Shirley you might well find some of the older books a bit dated, I read Notes from a Small Island last year and parts of it felt very out of date, although I suppose it's inevitable when a book was written 20 odd years ago.  I did find it hard to recognise some of the places he visited that I've been too more recently, happily most of them were better than when he visited!

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shirley   

Madeleine maybe because he wrote about them in his books the places thought they had better get their acts together and tidy up.

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ha ha maybe, not sure if he's that powerful though!

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vodkafan   

Reading a lot of Bryson lately!  Just finished Made In America and Mother Tongue, which are both about the English Language. Very interesting.

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Reading a lot of Bryson lately!  Just finished Made In America and Mother Tongue, which are both about the English Language. Very interesting.

If you liked those, he did a radio series about the origins of the English language which was very interesting. Its available as an "audiobook" on Amazon, Audible and I guess, elsewhere. Journeys In Englis, it was called.

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"A History of Nearly Everything" has been on my TBR shelf for way too long. reading all your comments on his work makes me wanna start reading it soon :) hope it's as good as the other ones you've all mentioned!

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"A History of Nearly Everything" has been on my TBR shelf for way too long. reading all your comments on his work makes me wanna start reading it soon :) hope it's as good as the other ones you've all mentioned!

 

That's actually the one of his I didn't finish! I keep meaning to go back to it. I still haven't read "At Home" yet either...

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^ I second this. I'm re-reading it at the moment, and there is so much information in there. It must have taken years of research. :thud:

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I think Bill Bryson is the only author who has literally made me laugh out loud. My favourite bits include the bit in A Walk in the Woods when he tells the annoying female companion that his star sign is cunnilingus and probably my favourite of all time is the morning after he gets drunk with Allan at the bar in Down Under: " Where coffee where?"

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There's a bit in Neither Here Nor There where he describes walking in Paris, I think, as a young man and a bird craps on him. His description (which I think involved the words "pot of yoghurt") had me LOL'ing a lot at the time. There have been many others of course but that one always stayed with me. :)

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poppy   

I thought one of his funniest passages was in Down Under (UK) or In a Sunburned Country (USA)

 

“I am not, I regret to say, a discreet and fetching sleeper. Most people when they nod off look as if they could do with a blanket; I look as if I could do with medical attention. I sleep as if injected with a powerful experimental muscle relaxant. My legs fall open in a grotesque come-hither manner; my knuckles brush the floor. Whatever is inside—tongue, uvula, moist bubbles of intestinal air—decides to leak out. From time to time, like one of those nodding-duck toys, my head tips forward to empty a quart or so of viscous drool onto my lap, then falls back to begin loading again with a noise like a toilet cistern filling. And I snore, hugely and helplessly, like a cartoon character, with rubbery flapping lips and prolonged steam-valve exhalations. For long periods I grow unnaturally still, in a way that inclines onlookers to exchange glances and lean forward in concern, then dramatically I stiffen and, after a tantalizing pause, begin to bounce and jostle in a series of whole-body spasms of the sort that bring to mind an electric chair when the switch is thrown. Then I shriek once or twice in a piercing and effeminate manner and wake up to find that all motion within five hundred feet has stopped and all children under eight are clutching their mothers’ hems. It is a terrible burden to bear.”
 

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