After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly 3 million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliensas he later put it, "it was clear my people needed me"). They were greeted by a new and improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twentyfourhour dentalfloss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item. Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I'm a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth. The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man's attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended if at times bemused love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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, factfilled, 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.
From one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language, a vivid, nostalgic and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the middle of the United States in the middle of the last century. A book that delivers on the promise that it is “laughoutloud funny.”Some say that the first hints that Bill Bryson was not of Planet Earth came from his discovery, at the age of six, of a woollen jersey of rare fineness. Across the mothholed chest was a golden thunderbolt. It may have looked like an old college football sweater, but young Bryson knew better. It was obviously the Sacred Jersey of Zap, and proved that he had been placed with this innocuous family in the middle of America to fly, become invisible, shoot guns out of people’s hands from a distance, and wear his underpants over his jeans in the manner of Superman.Bill Bryson’s first travel book opened with the immortal line, “I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.” In this hilarious new memoir, he travels back to explore the kid he once was and the weird and wonderful world of 1950s America. He modestly claims that this is a book about not very much: about being small and getting much larger slowly. But for the rest of us, it is a laughoutloud book that will speak volumes – especially to anyone who has ever been young.From the Hardcover edition.
“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.
Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. This book is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization.
One of the English language';s most skilled and beloved writers guides us all toward precise, mistake-free usage.
As usual Bill Bryson says it best: "English is a dazzlingly idiosyncratic tongue, full of quirks and irregularities that often seem willfully at odds with logic and common sense. This is a language where 'cleave'; can mean to cut in half or to hold two halves together; where the simple word 'set'; has 126 different meanings as a verb, 58 as a noun, and 10 as a participial adjective; where if you can run fast you are moving swiftly, but if you are stuck fast you are not moving at all; [and] where 'colonel,'; 'freight,'; 'once,'; and 'ache'; are strikingly at odds with their spellings." As a copy editor for the London Times in the early 1980s, Bill Bryson felt keenly the lack of an easy-to-consult, authoritative guide to avoiding the traps and snares in English, and so he brashly suggested to a publisher that he should write one. Surprisingly, the proposition was accepted, and for "a sum of money carefully gauged not to cause embarrassment or feelings of overworth," he proceeded to write that book-his first, inaugurating his stellar career.
Now, a decade and a half later, revised, updated, and thoroughly (but not overly) Americanized, it has become Bryson';s Dictionary of Troublesome Words, more than ever an essential guide to the wonderfully disordered thing that is the English language. With some one thousand entries, from "a, an" to zoom," that feature real-world examples of questionable usage from an international array of publications, and with a helpful glossary and guide to pronunciation, this precise, prescriptive, and-because it is written by Bill Bryson-often witty book belongs on the desk of every person who cares enough about the language not to maul or misuse or distort it.
From the Hardcover edition.