Tag: Subtitled

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.

 


Stephen Fry – The Ode Less Travelled | Review

Title: The Ode Less Travelled

Author: Stephen Fry

Type: Non-Fiction/Poetry

Page Count/Review Word Count: 358

Rating: 2*/5

 

Stephen Fry - The Ode Less Travelled

Stephen Fry – The Ode Less Travelled

 

This book is subtitled “unlocking the poet within”, but I don’t know if I’d agree with that. I personally found it supremely off-putting, not because of the information itself but because of the way that it was presented.

I’ve always considered myself a Stephen Fry fan, and I’ve already read a half dozen or so of his books. My mum always accuses him of being pompous, stuck-up and a little unlikeable, but I’d never seen that before. But here, that side of his personality is out in abundance. I mean, it was to the point at which it was making me angry to read it and I only forced myself to continue because I was planning on reading all of Fry’s books. But after this one, I’m not sure if I want to continue.

It wasn’t a problem with the actual content of the book, because it’s all factually correct and has the potential to be quite a useful little reference book. I mean, it tells you everything you need to know about different poetic forms and also the syllable counts, stresses and rhyming schemes that underlie these forms and make them work in the first place. I had no problem with the information itself because it was always correct as far as I could see.

 

Stephen Fry On Ignorance

Stephen Fry On Ignorance

 

The problem that I had was with the way in which the information was delivered. Fry came across as so smug about it all that it really put me off, especially when he pulled some of his little tricks, like deliberately writing bad free verse poetry and then using that to evidence his belief that free verse poetry isn’t worth reading.

Personally, I prefer free verse poetry, but I used to like rhyming poetry as well. After reading this book, I’m not so sure. Fry kind of makes out as though the two forms of poetry can’t coexist, but I’m betting against him. He seemed like a grumpy old man who’s annoyed because poetry has evolved and he hasn’t.

 

Stephen Fry On God

Stephen Fry On God

 

Click here to buy The Ode Less Travelled.

 


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