Bill Bryson

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Noodley, 29 Feb 2008.

  1. Noodley

    Noodley Guest

    I fancy reading some of his stuff, as he appears to be well thought of (and I saw him on telly recently) but on searching amazon it appears he has a fair catalogue!

    Any recommendations? I have a £20 book token burning a hole in a pile of paper somewhere...
  2. marinyork

    marinyork Resting in suspended Animation

    Only ever read A Brief History of Nearly Everything. Not read any of his travel or shakespeare/culture stuff.
  3. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    'Notes from a Small Island' is superb. 'Down Under' and 'Neither Here nor There' I also liked.
    'Walk in the woods' was OK, but not as LOLworthy.
  4. Crackle

    Crackle Squatter

    Virtually anything: If you like it, you'll like all his books. Having said that, don't start with the last one, The Thunderbolt Kid.

    Agree with the doc, though might marginally put Down Under first.

    I've read 'em all, sometimes poignant, very observant, often wryly amusing and occasionally laugh out loud funny.
  5. Melvil

    Melvil Standard nerd

    In my opinion he's a wee bit overrated. (and i thought The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid was pretty poor).

    But A Brief History of Nearly Everything is really quite a gripping read in a 'isn't that fascinating' kind of way. It has as much about he lives of great scientists (my personal favourite bits - scientists, or at least geniuses are very often extremely interesting people) as it does about the science. He does have an instinctive sense of what catches the imagination and has a very impressive command of English (well, much better than mine).

    A walk in the woods was a bit naff, I thought. Why invite Stephen Katz along if not to use him as source material, and if he's doing that why does he seem so mysteriously 'annoyed' with him. Why not just write a flipping novel instead if you're going to go down the fiction route?
  6. 'Travels in Small Town America' - I remember being very very funny in places and a good read, although, like others here have said, in not so many words, a bit of an acquired taste...
  7. Milo

    Milo Veteran

    Melksham, Wilts
    Often a very good read recommended.
    Would have to agree with walk in the woods not being quite so funny but still a very good easy read.
  8. tdr1nka

    tdr1nka Taking the biscuit

    'A Complete History Of Nearly Everything' is an absolute must.
    It makes a break from his usual travel writings and you can't help but become an instant academic with every page.
    I've read it four times now and find something new in it each time.

    Still, I should say that any of his books make for good reading and with £20 to spend you should get two or three to start your library.

  9. OP

    Noodley Guest

    Is the "notes from a small island" book about things he observed in Britain? If so, this was the programme I saw on telly and thought was very interesting. Other stuff like that would be good, although I also like the sound of the "...Nearly Everything" (being brief in my reference ;)) despite not being in the slightest bit scientific.

    I take it "Down Under" and "Small Town America" are similar to "Small Island" (if it is the thing I am thinking about) but with different countries as subject matter.
  10. Crackle

    Crackle Squatter

    Yes. They are all travel books and so similiar in style. Short History and Thunderbolt Kid along with a charity book to raise funds for Africa are not travel books.

    I find him an easy and relaxing read. He does his research well and interwines it into his story without any labouring. His incites are sharp and his anecdotes excellent. That said, he is too a taste. Read Notes From a Small Island first. I resisted reading him for years but when I did I devoured all his books very quickly.
  11. OP

    Noodley Guest

    Cheers, I think I shall do that. Small Island then, if I like him ;), Down Under (I stayed there for a while), then America.
  12. Another vote for "... Small Island". But "A Short History ... " should be on everybody's reading list.
  13. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Have to say I found the innaccuracies in 'Small Island' irritating, and the 'aren't scientists lucky' shtick in 'A short History' irritating.
  14. OP

    Noodley Guest

    I probably would not notice anything innaccurate. ;)
  15. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

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