Title: Notes from a Big Country
Author: Bill Bryson
Page Count: 320
This book is basically a collection of short columns that Bryson wrote after returning to live in America after spending most of his life in the UK. Because of that, it has a lot of insights to offer on the cultural differences between the two countries. Better still, it still mostly holds true today, despite the fact that it’s now a little dated. In fact, there was a reference in there about programming a VCR.
For the most part, though, I thought this was a lot of fun, and Bryson’s sense of humour is on top form. Believe it or not, I’ve actually found him to be a little bit whiny in some of the previous books of his that I’ve read, but he’s back at his best again here and to be honest, this was just what I needed at just the time that I needed it.
I guess that’s because it was easy to read through and I got through the whole thing in just a couple of days. I’m trying to get through the last of the books on my unread pile and so I was kind of worried that the only books that I’d have left would be boring reads that couldn’t hold my attention. And then I picked this one up and it was just a true joy.
I think part of that is because of the format of the book, which is essentially a collection of articles that Bryson wrote for the newspapers. That keeps it short and sweet and while there’s no overall theme other than the investigation of America through the eyes of an ex-pat, other than that it’s all just a bunch of fun little vignettes. And what is there for you not to like about that?