Tag: Notes from a Small Island

Bill Bryson – The Road to Little Dribbling | Review

Title: The Road to Little Dribbling

Author: Bill Bryson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 390

Rating: 4/5

This book is subtitled More Notes from a Small Island, and so as you can expect, it’s pretty much the natural and spiritual sequel to Notes from a Small Island. Arguably Bryson’s most successful book, that one charted his experiences as an American who’d moved to the United Kingdom and then spent a bunch of time travelling around it.

Since then, he’d moved to America and then presumably back to the UK again. It’s kind of hard to tell with Bryson sometimes because I don’t necessarily read his books in publication order and it’s my understanding that he’s headed backwards and forwards here and there. The good news is that I enjoy him most when he’s writing about the UK, possibly only because I live there and so it’s easy for me to picture the things that he’s writing about.

I also think that Bryson has continued to mature as a writer over the years. It’s not that his style has changed, but he has tightened it up a little bit and I think this book benefits because of it. He’s perfected the art of narrative non-fiction and has the knack of writing super engaging informational books on pretty much any topic he tries his hand at.

I will admit that from time to time I’ve found that Bryson’s humour can grate on me, but that’s okay because it wasn’t a problem here. I think it really depends upon his headspace at the time, because when he came across as petty and vindictive, he was having a pretty tough time of things while travelling across Europe.

Overall then, I enjoyed reading this one and would definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of Bryson’s travel writing and stuff. If you’re new to him, though, I’d probably go for Notes from a Small Island to begin with, although this wouldn’t be a bad place to turn to second. And so all in all, it’s a cracking book and I enjoyed it a lot, despite it being my second Bill Bryson book in as many weeks. He hasn’t started to get old yet, at least if we’re talking about my opinion of his books. Looking forward to more!

Learn more about The Road to Little Dribbling.

 


Bill Bryson – Neither Here Nor There | Review

Title: Neither Here Nor There
Author: Bill Bryson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 304

Rating: 3/5

 

 

I’d been looking forward to reading this one because I picked up Notes from a Small Island a few years back and enjoyed it so much that it made me want to read everything else that Bryson has ever written. Somehow, I’ve ended up picking up nearly a dozen of his books without reading any of them and this is what I picked up when I finally got back to him.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as I was hoping to, and I think that was mostly because of how negative Bryson was about everywhere he visited. It just felt as though he was complaining his way across Europe, and rather than giving me the travel buzz as I was expecting, it made me feel pretty glad that I was at home.

Still, it’s not all bad, and there are little jokes here and there that made me chuckle. I also liked seeing what Europe was like in the late eighties and early nineties, and there were a few places he went to that I’ve been to as well, including Amsterdam and Milan. It’s kind of funny because Amsterdam is probably my favourite of the places that I’ve visited and Milan is probably my least favourite.

All in all, then, this was kind of a disappointment for me, but perhaps that’s just because I had such high hopes after my last brush with Bryson. It was fine though, and I’m glad that I finished reading it. I guess I’m just a little worried about the rest of Bryson’s oeuvre seeing as this sounded like one of his best. Oh well, it is what it is.

 

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson

 

Click here to buy Neither Here Nor There.

 


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