Author: Bill Bryson
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2015
It is the driest, flattest, hottest, most desiccated, infertile and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents and still Australia teems with life - a large portion of it quite deadly. In fact, Australia has more things that can kill you in a very nasty way than anywhere else. Ignoring such dangers - and yet curiously obsessed by them - Bill Bryson journeyed to Australia and promptly fell in love with the country. And who can blame him? The people are cheerful, extrovert, quick-witted and unfailingly obliging: their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water; the food is excellent; the beer is cold and the sun nearly always shines. Life doesn't get much better than this...
A CLASSIC FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ONE SUMMER Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion along the Appalachian Trail resulted in the sublime national bestseller A Walk in the Woods. In A Sunburned Country is his report on what he found in an entirely different place: Australia, the country that doubles as a continent, and a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet. The result is a deliciously funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance by a writer who combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiousity. Despite the fact that Australia harbors more things that can kill you in extremely nasty ways than anywhere else, including sharks, crocodiles, snakes, even riptides and deserts, Bill Bryson adores the place, and he takes his readers on a rollicking ride far beyond that beaten tourist path. Wherever he goes he finds Australians who are cheerful, extroverted, and unfailingly obliging, and these beaming products of land with clean, safe cities, cold beer, and constant sunshine fill the pages of this wonderful book. Australia is an immense and fortunate land, and it has found in Bill Bryson its perfect guide. From the Trade Paperback edition.
When an old friend asked him to write a weekly dispatch from New Hampshire for the Mail on Sunday's Night and Day magazine, Bill Bryson firmly turned him down. So firm was he, in fact, that gathered here are nineteen months' worth of his popular columns about the strangest of phenomena -- the American way of life.Whether discussing the dazzling efficiency of the garbage disposal unit, the mind-boggling plethora of methods by which to shop, the exoticism of having your groceries bagged for you, or the jaw-slackening direness of American TV, Bill Bryson brings his inimitable brand of bemused wit to bear on the world's richest and craziest country. From the Trade Paperback edition.
God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath—The Appalachian Trail. The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas. With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey. An instant classic, riotously funny, A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans.
What was Australia's climate like before official weather records began? How do scientists use tree-rings, ice cores and tropical corals to retrace the past? What do Indigenous seasonal calendars reveal? And what do settler diary entries about rainfall, droughts, bushfires and snowfalls tell us about natural climate cycles? Sunburnt Country pieces together Australia's climate history for the first time. It uncovers a continent long vulnerable to climate extremes and variability. It gives an unparalleled perspective on how human activities have altered patterns that have been with us for millions of years, and what climate change looks like in our own backyard. Sunburnt Country highlights the impact of a warming planet on Australian lifestyles and ecosystems and the power we all have to shape future life on Earth.
“Here is a man who suffers so his readers can laugh.” — Daily Telegraph Bill Bryson travels to Kenya in support of CARE International. All royalties and profits go to CARE International. Bryson visits Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to eradicating poverty. Kenya is a land of contrasts, with famous game reserves and a vibrant culture. It also provides plenty to worry a traveller like Bill Bryson, fixated as he is on the dangers posed by snakes, insects and large predators. It is also a country with many serious problems: refugees, AIDS, drought, and grinding poverty. The resultant diary, though short in length, contains the trademark Bryson stamp of wry observation and curious insight.
Bryson brings his unique brand of humour to travel writing as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet and heads for Europe. Travelling with Stephen Katz--also his wonderful sidekick in A Walk in the Woods--he wanders from Hammerfest in the far north, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia. As he makes his way round this incredibly varied continent, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before with caustic hilarity. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Before New York Times bestselling author Bill Bryson wrote The Road to Little Dribbling, he took this delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation of Great Britain, which has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie’s Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey.
One of the world’s most beloved and bestselling writers takes his ultimate journey -- into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail -- well, most of it. In In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand -- and, if possible, answer -- the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining. From the Hardcover edition.
"I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to." And, as soon as Bill Bryson was old enough, he left. Des Moines couldn't hold him, but it did lure him back. After ten years in England he returned to the land of his youth, and drove almost 14,000 miles in search of a mythical small town called Amalgam, the kind of smiling village where the movies from his youth were set. Instead he drove through a series of horrific burgs, which he renamed Smellville, Fartville, Coleslaw, Coma, and Doldrum. At best his search led him to Anywhere, USA, a lookalike strip of gas stations, motels and hamburger outlets populated by obese and slow-witted hicks with a partiality for synthetic fibres. He discovered a continent that was doubly lost: lost to itself because he found it blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a foreigner in his own country.
From one of the world's most beloved writers and New York Times bestselling author of One Summer, a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the 1950s Bill Bryson was born in the middle of the American century—1951—in the middle of the United States—Des Moines, Iowa—in the middle of the largest generation in American history—the baby boomers. As one of the best and funniest writers alive, he is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24-carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around his house and neighborhood with an old football jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel about his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing awful evildoers (and morons)—in his head—as "The Thunderbolt Kid." Using this persona as a springboard, Bill Bryson re-creates the life of his family and his native city in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality—a life at once completely familiar to us all and as far away and unreachable as another galaxy. It was, he reminds us, a happy time, when automobiles and televisions and appliances (not to mention nuclear weapons) grew larger and more numerous with each passing year, and DDT, cigarettes, and the fallout from atmospheric testing were considered harmless or even good for you. He brings us into the life of his loving but eccentric family, including affectionate portraits of his father, a gifted sportswriter for the local paper and dedicated practitioner of isometric exercises, and OF his mother, whose job as the home furnishing editor for the same paper left her little time for practicing the domestic arts at home. The many readers of Bill Bryson’s earlier classic, A Walk in the Woods, will greet the reappearance in these pages of the immortal Stephen Katz, seen hijacking literally boxcar loads of beer. He is joined in the Bryson gallery of immortal characters by the demonically clever Willoughby brothers, who apply their scientific skills and can-do attitude to gleefully destructive ends. Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, and full of his inimitable, pitch-perfect observations, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is as wondrous a book as Bill Bryson has ever written. It will enchant anyone who has ever been young.
Trollope said of Sydney that 'I despair of being able to convey to any reader my own idea of the beauty of Sydney Harbour. I have seen nothing equal to it in the way of land-locked sea scenery, it makes a man ask himself whether it would not be worth his while to move his household goods to the eastern coast of Australia, in order that he might look at it as long as he can look at anything.' Geoffrey Moorhouse agrees, and his intention, as with his previous books Calcutta and Imperial City: The Rise and Rise of New York, is to describe the city comprehensively and to explain in historical terms, from its colonial beginnings - how it has come to be the way it is. Moorhouse considers Sydney the most attractive of New World cities with all the virtues of American virtues but none of the vices. Australian ingredients of warmth, loyalty, resilience also play their part and, he asks, 'where else on a Friday night in June, could you choose between Joan Carden singing Leonara at the Opera House and Wally Lewis leading his Brisbane Broncos at the Football Stadium? And afterwards enjoy rock oysters and a local Chardonnay beside one of the loveliest waters in the world, twinkling with light and breathing an assurance that all things in the end shall be well?'
A loving and hilarious—if occasionally spiky—valentine to Bill Bryson’s adopted country, Great Britain. Prepare for total joy and multiple episodes of unseemly laughter. Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to discover and celebrate that green and pleasant land. The result was Notes from a Small Island, a true classic and one of the bestselling travel books ever written. Now he has traveled about Britain again, by bus and train and rental car and on foot, to see what has changed—and what hasn’t. Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north, by way of places few travelers ever get to at all, Bryson rediscovers the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly singular country that he both celebrates and, when called for, twits. With his matchless instinct for the funniest and quirkiest and his unerring eye for the idiotic, the bewildering, the appealing, and the ridiculous, he offers acute and perceptive insights into all that is best and worst about Britain today. Nothing is more entertaining than Bill Bryson on the road—and on a tear. The Road to Little Dribbling reaffirms his stature as a master of the travel narrative—and a really, really funny guy. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Sara Wheeler
Publisher: Modern Library
Release Date: 2009-09-23
Squeezed between a vast ocean and the longest mountain range on earth, Chile is 2,600 miles long and never more than 110 miles wide--not a country that lends itself to maps, as Sara Wheeler discovered when she traveled alone from the top to the bottom, from the driest desert in the world to the sepulchral wastes of Antarctica. Eloquent, astute, nimble with history and deftly amusing, Travels in a Thin Country established Sara Wheeler as one of the very best travel writers in the world. From the Trade Paperback edition.