Sunday, September 14, 2008

43. Notes From a Big Country

The title: Notes From a Big Country
The author: Bill Bryson
Publication: Doubleday, 1998
Got it from: My book club

Now that the "lazy" days of summer are over (ha ha - what a joke) my reviews are going to start to come in fast and furious. Watch this space.

I really enjoy Bill Bryson's writing. It's usually fun and light-hearted and I can really relate to it, in as much as I can relate to a privileged middle-aged white guy. His A Short History of Nearly Everything still ranks as one of my top five favourite non-fiction books. It may even be my top one, I haven't decided yet. In this book he tackled American life with his usual folksy style. Some of it is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. As a librarian, I cracked up at this: "...I took the book to that reading area libraries put aside for people who are strange and have nowhere to go in the afternoon but nonetheless are not quite ready to be institutionalized..." Oh. Yeah. He loves pointing out the absurdity of beauocracy (which I think we can all relate to), how awful American TV is (really, really bad) and the mindlessness of the American justice system. He also loves America in many ways: how trusting the people are, the junk food selection, the fall colours, the convenience of everything. And he's just spot on when he talks about the decline of small-town America and how awful everything is when it's homogenized. It's clich├ęd, but it really was hard to put down. Kind of like M&Ms. B+

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