Tag: Publication

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.

 


B. A. Paris – The Break Down | Review

Title: The Break Down

Author: B. A. Paris

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 432

Rating: 4/5

I normally find thriller novels pretty hit and miss, but I’ve quite enjoyed what I’ve read of B. A. Paris so far. I might even be slightly more kindly disposed towards her because I was sent a copy of Behind Closed Doors, her first novel, ahead of its publication.

I think part of it is the fact that her writing just feels a little more polished to me. There’s a sort of style of writing that’s pretty common amongst thriller writers that just grates on me somehow, a way with words that just feels clunky and which pulls me out of the story. That doesn’t seem to happen with B. A. Paris.

Still, it wasn’t flawless. One of my biggest problems with it was a scene in which a group of French students steal a phone and then give it to the main character. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil things for you, but it was kind of a Deus Ex Machina kind of thing where it all just felt too coincidental. And if it hadn’t happened, the whole story couldn’t have taken place.

Overall though, I did enjoy reading this, and I was particularly impressed by how gripping it was. I found it difficult to put down, and there wasn’t a slowdown in the story towards the middle, which I find is pretty typical in thriller novels. I think it probably also helped that it did some fun stuff with layout towards the end as we start to see a series of text messages, and this meant that the page was broken up and you could whizz through a dozen pages in just a couple of minutes. I think that layout might annoy some people, but not me.

So would I recommend The Break Down? Absolutely. It’s a refreshing little read in a genre that’s been done to death. In fact, I think that most people would probably enjoy it even if they don’t consider themselves to be thriller readers, and that’s saying something. It’s just pretty approachable, and it does a great job of the whole “twist” thing, to the point at which you could probably re-read it and still enjoy it because you’d start to look for the clues.

Now that I’ve enjoyed both this book and Behind Closed Doors, I think we can safely say that I’m a fan of B. A. Paris, and I’ll definitely check out more stuff.

Learn more about The Break Down.