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Bill Bryson
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A Short History of Nearly Everything
paperback
686 pages
Bestseller about science. If that doesnt sound odd to you you must have read this book. Bill Bryson, renowed travel writer, decided that he wanted to know more about the world and about how all those fabulous places he spends his life traveling to got created. So he went out to buy some books and locked himself away for 3 years..

From geology to quarks to zoology, all the mayor subjects of modern science pas through the limelight in this highly amusing book. Bill Bryson not only informs us about the history of each field but also about the life's of the people behind it. And all of this written in a clear and funny style of writing which kept me entertained and eager to turn the next page throughout the whole book..

Throughout the book there's a real sense of awe, amazement and admiration for the unpredictability of nature and the world around us and the determinion of the people who dedicated their life to studying it...
Superb!
8/10
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Bill Bryson
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Down Under
hardcover
319 pages
Bill Bryson is best known for writing very humorous travel books, and "In a Sunburned Country" is indeed a funny account of his travels in Australia. Those who love Bill Bryson's books for their humor won't be disappointed.

But unlike most people, I like Bill Bryson best when he's NOT trying to be funny, and my appreciation of this book is mostly due to the great amount of very interesting information presented.

Bill Bryson amazes you with loads of information about the geology, the animal life, the plants and insects, the history, the statistics, the folklore, etc., etc. The many dangers: poisonous snakes, poisonous insects, poisonous jellyfish, crocodiles, sharks, and rip currents - they're all out to get you. The inhospitable deserts, the beautiful beaches, the huge distances; Bill Bryson gives you a feeling of what it's all like.

The book goes into detail about many aspects of Australian life that are fairly unknown, including the discovery (and re-discovery) of Australia, the settlement by British prisoners, the early expeditions to explore the interior, the gold rushes, the outlaws, and the devastation caused by rabbits and other imported animals and plants. Bill Bryson talks about the many unusual animal species found only in Australia, including giant earthworms that grow up to 1 meter (and can be stretched to 4 meters) and the platypus, a cross between a reptile and a mammal. He talks about Australians and the Australian society, and the situation regarding the native people, the aboriginals.

Bill Bryson doesn't cover all of Australia from the geographical point of view, and the parts he does cover are somewhat random. But that doesn't matter because he captures the spirit of the whole country based on the parts he does visit and the general information he includes.

A very positive aspect is that Bill Bryson makes it clear that he loves Australia. The feeling is infectious, and it makes you want to pack your bags and head "down under" for a long leisurely trip so you can do your own exploring.

If I were to mention two things I was less happy about, it would be the occasional excessive attempts to be funny and the lack of contact with Australians. One of the best parts of the book is about his traveling together with an Australian couple for 3-4 days, but other than this passage Bill Bryson is mostly playing the typical tourist, with little or no contact with Australians. And despite a fairly long discussion about the aboriginal situation he does not ever get into contact with any aboriginals. Why not?

Still, it's funny, and ultimately made me want to go to Australia!

Recommended
7/10
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Bill Bryson
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Mother Tongue
paperback
272 pages
Explaining the origins and concepts of English with humour is hard, but Bryan has a good go at it.
7/10
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Bill Bryson
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The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America
paperback
384 pages
Bill goes on a tour of his home country to reconnect with childhood memories. Whilst I'm a big fan of Bill, this does feel a bit like Uncle Bill whining about how boring small towns are for 300 pages. That is why small towns are small towns. Each time he had to spend a few dollars he complained about the cost. He has enough money not to worry I would think.. still, I'm old enough now to appreciate a good whine, and it's entertaining enough, so recommended
7/10
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Bill Bryson
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The Road To Little Dribbling
paperback
477 pages
Bill revisits his journey around the little island 20 years ago. Unfortunately, this book was ultimately a disappointment for me. There was a real "angry old guy" vibe about this book that is missing in the rest of his work, from the profanity scattered throughout, the constant complaints about how things aren't as good as they used to be to the politicized attempts at comedy that I'm sure plays well with those who share his political preferences. Where Mary Ellen was portrayed as annoying because of her obnoxious behavior (ear honking, food stealing, non stop talking, giving unsolicited advice and being all around socially inept), Sean Hannity is a punch line just because he exists. Bryson could most often be charitably described as "curmudgeonly" in his other books, but here displays real rage in his internal monologue when dealing with sales people, government officials and others who disappoint. It's not as funny as his earlier work, and feels a bit contrived rather than spontaneous.
6/10
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Bill Bryson
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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
paperback
378 pages
Bill relives his childhood, with humorous insights into 1950s America, telling of his youth growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, during the 1950s and early 1960s. It also reveals the backstory between himself and Stephen Katz, who appeared in A Walk in the Woods and "Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe." Bryson also describes and comments on American life in the 1950s. The title of the book comes from an imaginary alter-ego Bryson invented for himself in his childhood, who has the ability to "vaporise people.

Some very funny moments, made me laugh out loud.. recommended!
8/10
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Running Apache