Tag: Index

Bill Bryson – Made in America | Review

Title: Made in America

Author: Bill Bryson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 3.25/5

As a general rule, I’m a pretty big fan of Bill Bryson, although I will admit that I’ve enjoyed some of his books more than others. This is one of the ones that I didn’t quite enjoy as much as the others, but mostly because it’s just a super dense read and because the print on it is so tiny that you feel like you’re straining your eyes just to read it.

The good news is that the core subject matter here is pretty interesting, especially if you’re the kind of person who’s quite bookish or who’s fascinated by the written word. That’s because it basically covers the history of American English, beginning at the beginning with the formation of America and carrying on through pretty much to the modern day.

That gives this book a pretty weird vibe wherein it feels kind of like a history book and kind of like a dictionary, which is why I made this book one of my bedtime books. You’d have to be kind of mad to pick this up as your main read because of how difficult it is to lose yourself in it. It’s not really one of those books that you can binge on, you know?

With all of that said, there’s some great stuff in here, and I particularly liked the origin stories for some early Americanisms. Because of the makeup of the United States and its early colonies, US English has a bunch of words borrowed from French and Spanish, as well as from the many Native American languages that are now sadly extinct.

The thing that I struggled with was the way that so much of the text just consisted of italicised words in lists and stuff. You’d get a couple of paragraphs of really fascinating history and then just as you’re gearing up and getting into it, he’d hit you with a long list of the different words that relate back to that bit of history and eventually I just found my eyes glazing over.

So I think it would have been a little more interesting if he’d selected fewer words to talk about and made it matter, rather than just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. That makes it a better choice for a reference book perhaps, especially with the comprehensive sources and index at the end, but it doesn’t work so well if you’re just trying to read it like a normal book.

So make of all of that what you will. I would probably recommend it to people who are interested in language and the origins of words, but not to the general reader. Even if you’re a bit of a Bryson fan, you might find it heavy going. Yeah.

Learn more about Made in America.


Chris Howarth and Steve Lyons – Red Dwarf Programme Guide | Review

Title: Red Dwarf Programme Guide

Author: Chris Howarth and Steve Lyons

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 296

Rating: 4*/5


Chris Howarth and Steve Lyons - Red Dwarf Programme Guide

Chris Howarth and Steve Lyons – Red Dwarf Programme Guide


This book isn’t going to make much sense to you unless you’re a fan of the Red Dwarf TV show. If you are a Red Dwarf fan, though, you’re likely to enjoy this. The only real problem is that it’s a good few years old and so it’s not up to date with the latest episodes.

But still, it’s pretty clear that the writers have done their research, and it includes basically every possible piece of information about the early series. It includes a breakdown of characters and episodes, as well as a thorough appendix that includes everything you’ll ever need to know in an alphabetic index. It’s basically a dictionary of Red Dwarf references, and it’s a lot of fun.

I was also hooked by the behind the scenes photographs and the descriptions of all of the merchandise. By now, most of the stuff in that section will be considered a collector’s item – after all, this was published when the Red Dwarf fan club was still active, and still a thing.

And therein lies the only real problem that there is with this – it only covers the older episodes. I got into Red Dwarf at an early age, but even then season eight was out – and this one only really covers the first four. For me, then, it’s not quite complete, despite the fact that I read the second edition. But despite all of that, I got it for a steal – and if you can get it for a bargain, I’d recommend it. I’m almost sad that I’ve finished reading it because now I need to read serious books.


The Red Dwarf Crew

The Red Dwarf Crew


Click here to buy Red Dwarf Programme Guide.