Tag: Newspapers

Bill Bryson – Notes from a Big Country | Review

Title: Notes from a Big Country

Author: Bill Bryson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 320

Rating: 4/5

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?

Learn more about Notes from a Big Country.

 


Terry Pratchett – A Blip of the Screen | Review

Title: A Blip of the Screen

Author: Terry Pratchett

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 322

Rating 4/5

 

 

This book is beautiful, a hardback collection of some of Terry Pratchett’s short fiction from throughout the years as it was published by newspapers, anthologies and more. The book is a beautiful artifact in and of itself, especially because of the colour illustrations that are included inside of it, but the artifact is just the beginning.

What I liked about this is that it really was a comprehensive look at Pratchett’s entire career throughout the years, featuring early versions of stories like the Nomes books. There are some Discworld stories here too, although I felt like I’d read at least one of those before. Regardless, they were a great addition to his body of work, and there wasn’t a single story that I didn’t enjoy.

I guess the main criticism that I’d level at it is that a lot of the pieces that were included were pretty much just fragments. That was counterbalanced by the fact that Pratchett wrote short introductions to each piece to give them some context, but then it led to some strange situations where the introductions were as long as the pieces themselves.

If you’re a serious Pratchett fan then this one definitely deserves a place on your bookshelves. There’s a lot to love here, and I also like the way that it makes you feel like you’re heading behind the scenes. It does a great job at showing the evolution of Pratchett’s career, and it also does a great job at showing the huge breadth of his imagination. I got my copy used and so it didn’t cost too much, making it a cracking read that didn’t cost a lot of money. So if you like Pratchett anywhere near as much as I do, I suggest you grab a copy.

 

 

Click here to buy A Blink of the Screen.

 


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