Monday 26 March 2012

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson - Book Review

Title: Notes from a Small Island
Author: Bill Bryson
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 1997 (1995)
Pages: 324
Format: E-Book - EPUB
Genre: Non-Fiction / Travel
Source: Gift

After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson - bestselling author of The Mother Tongue and Made in America - decided to returnto the United States. ("I had recently read," Bryson writes, "that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another,so it was clear that my people needed me.") But before departing, he set out on a grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.  

Veering from the ludicrous to the endearing and back again, Notes from a Small Island is a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie, Winkie's Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey. The result is an uproarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain, from the satiric pen of an unapologetic Anglophile. (Goodreads Synopsis)

I had previously read only one of Bryson's books and, for a while now, I have been meaning to get to some of the others. Finally, I made it - to one more at least.

Notes from a Small Island is Bryson's story of his travels round England and, being my country of birth, I was keen to see what he had to say.

This book was great fun from cover to cover. Bryson's prose is witty and amusing and he manages to walk that thin line between humour and offence with skill. Perhaps not everything he has to say about England and the English is flattering, but his jokes are told with love and often do strike home. I found myself laughing out loud so much that I had to keep reading sections out to my husband so he knew I wasn't losing my mind!

This is a great book for fans of travel writing and for those English people out there who are willing to laugh at themselves a little. I am now keen to go on and read his books about my new home - Australia.

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