Bill Bryson's very first travel book, a sidesplittingly funny road trip around small town America.
Bill Bryson's bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, Neither Here Nor There and Notes from a Small Island, which in a national poll was voted the book that best represents Britain. His acclaimed book on the history of science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Royal Society's Aventis Prize as well as the Descartes Prize, the European Union's highest literary award. Bryson has written books on language, on Shakespeare, and on his own childhood in the hilarious memoir The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. His last critically lauded bestsellers were on history - At Home: a Short History of Private Life, and One Summer: America 1927. Another travel book, A Walk in the Woods, has now become a major film starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. Bryson's new book is The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island. Bill Bryson was born in the American Mid-West, and is now living back in the UK. A former Chancellor of Durham University, he was President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England for five years, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society.
Journalist Bryson decided to relive the dreary vacation car trips of his American childhood. Starting out at his mother's house in Des Moines, Iowa, he motors through 38 states over the course of two months, looking for the quintessential American small town. ``Some of Bryson's comments are hilarious--if you enjoy the nonstop whining wisecracks of a 36-year-old kid,'' determined PW. (Sept.)
An expatriate American now living in England chronicles a trip around the United States in which he describes American foibles to the British. The first two chapters capture the tedium of a family vacation and the daffy absurdity of life in the author's home state of Iowa. Midwesterners will grab friends to read choice bits, saying ``see.'' But after these wonderful opening chapters, the author's comic tricks become repetitive: ``then I said this outrageous thing; no, not really, but . . . . '' While the sometimes irrelevant statistics are interesting, they, too eventually become tedious. As the book grinds on, it descends into a litany of ``then I went here, and next I went there.'' Browsers reading the opening bits will snatch it off the shelves, but many will return it unfinished. ($100,000 promotion; 50,000 copy first printing).-- Nora Rawlinson, ``Library Journal''
"High-spirited... hilarious" Observer "Hilarious... he can be suave, sarcastic and very funny... not your typical travel writer" Sunday Telegraph "Funny as this wonderful book is, it is also a serious indictment of the American way of life and the direction in which it is going... he is genuinely shocked, as we are, by the statistics of affluence, poverty, crime and culture that he drops in hither and thither" Irish Times "A very funny performance, littered with wonderful lines and memorable images" Literary Review