Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is one of those authors that when you read his books, you feel as though you are sitting across the table, sharing a drink and having a conversation.  Something about the way he tells his stories is just fun.  I previously read A Short History of Nearly Everything and somehow he was able to make learning about the origins of all sciences, from physics, to chemistry to biology, a fun read.  Granted, I am a the target audience, being a bit of a science geek, but still...had anyone else written this book, I am sure it would have been terrible.  Bryson somehow makes the such topics not only readable, but intelligent and entertaining.

In hopes of turning my book collection digital in the near future (576 square feet has only so much space) I am trying to read the books sitting on the shelves and NOT go out and buy new ones.  Harder than it sounds.  However, when Nick moved in, he brought lots of new books for me to read!  One of which was Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, a story about his travels in and around England and Scotland. 
Bryson was born in the US and lived here through college, at which point he went traveling through Europe, found his wife during his travels and really has not looked back until only recently.  Before Bryson moved back to the States with his family he decided to do a tour of  the island to prove that it is in fact "a small island," rather than, as the British people believe, a big place where traveling from one city to another is a day's excursion that takes much planning.

Again, Bryson story telling is impeccable and fun.  While walking along the southern coast of England, he is describing the Highcliffe Castle and the sorted story of the man behind Selfridge's department store.  However, during this story, Bryson goes on a bit of a tangent about walking in sand.  On its face, it really has nothing to do with the plot of the book itself, but his description of walking on the beach and the lasting effects of sand, like finding it everywhere for the next two weeks is something that everyone can relate to.  In fact, the tangent just becomes another comical anecdote within the overarching story.

This is definitely a fun read for anyone who has traveled in England and Scotland...but also provides some great recommendations for places to go in the future that are a bit off the beaten path.

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