Monday, January 13, 2014

Author Highlight: Bill Bryson

I think that it would be fair to say that Bill Bryson is one of the great American travel writers. He has written books about travels in Australia, Africa, England, across Europe and through small town America. He's an Iowa boy, born and raised but has lived back in forth in the United States and England. He writes in a kind of humorous, sometimes self deprecating style, it's very conversational but you still learn a lot about the history of the places that he visits.

And Bill doesn't just do travel. If you enjoy his style of writing but don't care for his travel topics he has books on the science and the English language.

Also he looks like an English professor, which is awesome:
Bill Bryson edit.jpg
VIA Wikipedia

I've read a few of Bill's books but I'm going to highlight three here:

"In A Sunburned Country" - The sunburned country in question is Australia. Bryson spends time in the big cities and out in the middle of the outback. (There's a moment when he falls asleep in a car while someone is driving him around on a tour, and when he wakes up he realizes he's been asleep for like an hour.Cringe worthy AND relatable.) He talks about the Melbourne vs Sydney attitudes, why Canberra is the capital, and doesn't shy away from talking about the terrible treatment of Australia's native peoples. Every animal in Australia is designed to eat or poison you, but the people are lovely, so maybe it evens out?

"A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering American through the Appalachian Trail" - The Appalachian Trail is an American treasure. It stretches thousands of miles, from Maine to Georgia. Bill Bryson decides he wants to hike it. He and a hapless friend set out to go as far as they can with their shiny new hiking equipment and their blissful naïveté. The book centers on their own hike, the history of the trail, and the characters they meet. It made me want to hike about 10 miles of it, and then find a hotel with HBO and a pool. I know my limits.

"Notes From a Small Island" -  As mentioned before, Bill has done a lot of bouncing between the United States and England. He accepts a teaching job in the United States and so he decides to take a road trip around his beloved country as a farewell tour. (Obviously it doesn't stick, but hey, he didn't know that then.) He visits big touristy cities, small coastal towns and everything between soaking in all of the great things and people that make England the place that it is.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!