Written by Bill Bryson

Publisher: Black Swan
Pages: 416
Genre: Travel, Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour, Essays
Published: 1998-11-01
Original Language: English

Bill Bryson has the rare knack of being out of his depth wherever he goes - even (perhaps especially) in the land of his birth. This became all too apparent when, after nearly two decades in England, the world's best-loved travel writer upped sticks with Mrs. Bryson, little Jimmy et al. and returned to live in the country he had left as a youth. Of course there were things Bryson missed about Blighty but any sense of loss was countered by the joy of rediscovering some of the forgotten treasures of his childhood: the glories of a New England autumn; the pleasingly comical sight of oneself in shorts; and motel rooms where you can generally count on being awakened in the night by a piercing shriek and the sound of a female voice pleading, 'Put the gun down, Vinnie, I'll do anything you say.' Whether discussing the strange appeal of breakfast pizza or the jaw-slackening direness of American TV, Bill Bryson brings his inimitable brand of bemused wit to bear on that strangest of phenomena - the American way of life.

Read in English
Rating: 5/5
Review: Notes from a Big Country was the first Bill Bryson book I read, and remains one of my favourite books to this day. I read most of it on a bus down the west coast of the US, and it was appropriate in all the right ways: it was about the US, it was funny in a way I liked (and still like) very much, and it consists of short essays which are bite-sized, quick to read, and easy to share with others sitting on the same bus. I laughed out loud several times by this book, the “how to calculate your taxes” essay being one of my favourites, and it’s a great book to just pick up and read a bit of now and then.