After tales from the USA and Britain, Bill Bryson turns his roving eye to Australia, the only island that is also a continent and the only continent that is also a country. It is the driest, flattest, most desiccated, infertile and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents. It has more things that can kill you in a very nasty way that anywhere else. Yet when Bill Bryson travelled to Australia he promptly fell in love with the country. And who can blame him? The people are cheerful, the cities safe and clean, the food is excellent, the beer is cold and the sun nearly always shines. He tries to find out why Aussies are so cool, digging up a past that reveals convicts, explorers, gold diggers and outlaws.
About the Author
Bill Bryson is much loved for his bestselling travel books, from The Lost Continent to Down Under, but Notes from a Small Island has earned a particularly special place in the nation's heart (a national poll for World Book Day in 2003 voted it the book that best represents Britain). His acclaimed A Short History of Nearly Everything won the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communication Prize. He has now returned to live in the UK with his wife and family. www.billbryson.co.uk
Bill Bryson at large down under!
"The thing that Bryson most loves about Australia - its "effortlessly dry, direct way of viewing the world" - is, in fact, his own. They're a perfect fit" The New York Times Book Review "Bryson is the perfect travelling companion... when it comes to travel's peculiars the man still has no peers" The Times "Bill Bryson is a very talented writer and an enormously funny and perceptive one. He is an artist who needs a big canvas. Australia has provided this. He's painted a masterpiece in travel literature" Globe & Mail Toronto "He arrives at his destination, finds a hotel, checks in, meanders around the neighbourhood, visits any museums or public monuments he happens to encounter, has a couple of drinks, eavesdrops on a conversation or two, then goes to bed. A year later, people on three continents are hospitalised as a result of ruptures caused by laughing so hard at his account of the experience" The Age, Melbourne
This book is hilarious and wonderfully informative. We all know Australia has some of the world's deadliest spiders, snakes, jellyfish...you name it! But there were a lot of trivial things I read here that were never taught at school, which is a shame because if they did, I'm sure History and Geography classes would've been a blast.
Bill Bryson writes in a way that makes a reader feel they are right next to him experiencing the same things, shrieking at the sight of a spider, getting tumbled around mercilessly by the surf or going to the local pub for some much-deserved beer. This book made me realize I haven't really seen much of this country, and I can't wait to hop on that long-haul train ride, with this book in tow of course, and finally see the endless stretch of everything and nothing behind those famous postcards.
I'm a Pommie (now semi-living in Oz). I've read this book 3 times! It should be required reading for all Aussies - Bill Bryson is an amusing writer who simply adores Australia - and it shows. The book is an easy read, full of wonderful stories about Aussies and Australia - from the big cities to the remote bits than probably most Aussie will never see. I can't recommend it highly enough!
A very, very funny book. I was expecting some arm chair travel book, but what i got was something completely different. He has an amazing ability to paint a picture of his very odd adventures. Being chased by dogs through a suburban park had me in absolute stitches. I would recomend this to anyone, as i would with any of his 'travel' books!
Another great travel journal from Bryson. If this doesn't make you want to visit Australia nothing will. He has a fantastic ability to see quirky traits in people and places everywhere and happily records them for our pleasure. A great read and a great gift. Highly recommended.
It was fantastic as an Australian to read Bill Bryson's experiences of our country. He has such a quirky and clever sense of humour and manages to irreverently portray the state of our nation in the last decade or two. He examines Australia's treatment of Aboriginals and certainly made me reconsider how much I know (vs how much I should know) about this period in the history of Australia. Bill Bryson seems to have an instinctive and intuitive understanding of people he meets and his recollection of the old couple he meets in the Blue Mountains is classic. On the whole, I think the author has a respect for Australians and the land they inhabit and he makes the telling of his experiences in Australia enjoyable by his fantastic retelling of everyday encounters along the way.
I think this book is interesting for both australians and foreigners. Obviously the less you already know about aus the more you will learn from this, but there is a lot that the average aussie is unaware of in this book. Bryson has a very funny and relaxed writing style yet manages to stay very informative, and he does his research well.
Bill Bryson always manages to find really interesting and quirky places in the countries he writes about. I guess that is why he is so popular. I read this book before and during my trip to Australia and got to show off by using my new found facts about the place (obviously not telling them what I was reading!). He does all the travelling around and exploring for you so you can get to find out and enjoy all the good bits!
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