Littérature générale

  • Rendu célèbre par ses récits de voyage et son humour, l'Américain Bill Bryson entreprend dans ce nouveau livre le plus extraordinaire des périples : surpris d'apprendre qu'on pourrait acheter tous les composants chimiques de notre organisme pour cinq dollars dans une quincaillerie, il décide d'explorer le corps humain et d'en percer les secrets.

  • Ayant découvert que ce qui s'était passé dans le monde depuis deux siècles s'était retrouvé sous forme d'objets et de rituels quotidiens dans notre intérieur, le plus drôle des écrivains voyageurs américains fait le tour de sa maison pour nous raconter cette grande aventure du génie humain - de l'invention de la tapette à souris à la conception de la tour Eiffel, de la saga des acariens à celle des milliardaires. Une histoire de l'envers du décor.

  • « Jamais un bouquin ne m'a fait autant rire », affirme Robert Redford, qui en a fait son livre de chevet et vient de l'adapter à l'écran. Retour aux Etats-Unis, retour à la nature : Bill Bryson s'attaque à l'Appalachian Trail, un sentier qui serpente, sur 3500 kilomètres, du Maine à la Géorgie. Dans cette aventure qui mêle histoire naturelle et histoires drôles, il s'est choisi pour compagnon de marche son vieux copain d'école, Stephen Katz, l'un des personnages de Ma fabuleuse enfance dans l'Amérique des années 1950, que la nature intéresse beaucoup, beaucoup moins que X-Files. Le problème, c'est qu'en se promenant dans les bois on risque de croiser, comme dans la série de science-fiction, d'étranges créatures...

  • Entre récit de voyage, peinture de société et expériences loufoques, cet impertinent et savoureux portrait de l'Angleterre des années 1990 (épicé de flash-backs dans les années 1970) a consacré Bill Bryson comme le plus british des écrivains américains.

  • Lorsque Bill Bryson naît en 1951 à Des Moines, capitale de l'Iowa, 90 pour 100 des Américains possèdent déjà un réfrigérateur. Au cours de cette décennie heureuse, il leur sera répété que tout ou presque est bon pour la santé, dont la cigarette, le DTT et les retombées radioactives. Tout en racontant son enfance, Bryson nous régale d'une chronique des années 1950 aussi drôle que tendre. Gags à chaque page sur le quotidien d'un petit garçon de la middle class dans le Middle West, mais par-delà le fou rire, ce portrait d'une superpuissance trop sûre d'elle nous fait méditer sur le déclin de l'empire américain.

  • Après avoir brossé avec humour tant de portraits d'Américains moyens, Bill Bryson s'attaque à l'un des plus grands génies de la planète, pour prendre la mesure de ce que les archives nous apprennent réellement sur William Shakespeare. Celui-ci n'a laissé en effet que quatorze mots de sa main, mais combien de milliards d'autres écrits sur lui, qui l'on transformé en obsession d'universitaires et d'excentriques aveuglés par les idées reçues ! En campant avec truculence le décor de l'Angleterre de la fin du XVIe siècle dans un livre qui fait de l'érudition un régal. Bryson nous ramène tout simplement à l'homme qu'a pu être le dramaturge, et l'on finit par en apprendre beaucoup sur un personnage aussi mystérieux. Surtout, notre écrivain-voyageur de l'Iowa nous transporte au coeur d'une oeuvre universelle qui demeure la plus belle preuve de l'existence de William Shakespeare.

  • L'auteur américain de tant de chroniques drôlissimes sur ses compatriotes d'aujourd'hui s'intéresse à ceux du passé dans ce livre pour lequel il a été élu outre-Manche meilleur auteur de non-fiction : avec pour point de départ la traversée de l'Atlantique par Lindbergh, le 21 mai 1927, et au travers d'innombrables destins personnels, son récit est tout à la fois un portrait loufoque sur cinq mois des États-Unis d'avant la Grande Dépression, une collection d'événements et d'inventions ayant bouleversé le monde (cinéma parlant, télévision, etc.), ainsi qu'une évocation de problématiques toujours très actuelles (climat et bulles spéculatives, présidents étranges et tueurs fous...). 

  • Anglais Down Under

    Bill Bryson

    'It was as if I had privately discovered life on another planet, or a parallel universe where life was at once recognizably similar but entirely different. I can't tell you how exciting it was. Insofar as I had accumulated my expectations of Australia at all in the intervening years, I had thought of it as a kind of alternative southern California, a place of constant sunshine and the cheerful vapidity of a beach lifestyle, but with a slightly British bent - a sort of Baywatch with cricket...' Of course, what greeted Bill Bryson was something rather different. Australia is a country that exists on a vast scale. It is the world's sixth largest country and its largest island. It is the only island that is also a continent and the only continent that is also a country. It is the driest, flattest, hottest, most desiccated, infertile and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents and still it teems with life - a large proportion of it quite deadly.

    In fact, Australia has more things that can kill you in a very nasty way than anywhere else. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistable currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the bking outback.

    Ignoring such dangers - 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.

  • '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 trim and sunny place where the films of his youth were set. Instead, his search led him to Anywhere, USA; a lookalike strip of gas stations, motels and hamburger outlets populated by lookalike people with a penchant for synthetic fibres. Travelling around thirty-eight of the lower states - united only in their mind-numbingly dreary uniformity - he discovered a continent that was doubly lost; lost to itself because blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a stranger in his own land.

    The Lost Continent is a classic of travel literature - hilariously, stomach-achingly funny, yet tinged with heartache - and the book that first staked Bill Bryson's claim as the most beloved writer of his generation.

  • After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a few years, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him.

    But before leaving his muchloved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells, people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and Gardeners' Question Time.

  • Bill Bryson goes to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty around the world. Kenya, generally regarded as the cradle of mankind, is a land of contrasts, with famous game reserves, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant cultural tradition. 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. But on a more sober note, it is a country that shares many serious human and environmental problems with the rest of Africa: refugees, AIDS, drought, and grinding poverty.

    Travelling around the country, Bryson casts his inimitable eye on a continent new to him, and the resultant diary, though short in length, contains the trademark Bryson stamp of wry observation and curious insight. All the author's royalties from Bill Bryson's African Diary, as well as all profits, will go to CARE International.

    Illustrated with 8pp of colour.

  • Some say that the first hint that Bill Bryson was not of Planet Earth came when his mother sent him to school in lime-green Capri pants. Others think it all started with his discovery, at the age of six, of a woollen jersey of rare fineness. Across the moth-holed 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 his deeply funny new memoir, he travels back in time to explore the ordinary kid he once was, and the curious world of 1950s America. It was a happy time, when almost everything was good for you, including DDT, cigarettes and nuclear fallout. This is a book about growing up in a specific time and place. But in Bryson's hands, it becomes everyone's story, one that will speak volumes - especially to anyone who has ever been young.

  • L'Australie n'est pas seulement célèbre pour ses kangourous, ses drag-queens et ses surfeurs. On y trouve aussi les bestioles les plus voraces et venimeuses du globe, des déserts où mieux vaut ne pas s'aventurer pour un petit besoin, et puis de drôles de gens persuadés que vous les prenez pour des ploucs du bout des antipodes. Bill Bryson, l'illustre auteur chez Payot de Motel Blues et American Rigolos, aimerait ressembler à Indiana Jones plutôt qu'à Mister Bean. Le voici donc surarmé de courage pour sillonner l'Australie et en aborder les thèmes les plus divers : sa flore, sa faune et sa population, mais aussi l'histoire très singulière de son exploration et de sa colonisation, sans oublier la question aborigène, car si une plume aussi caustique traite d'un sujet aussi grave, c'est pour mieux nous en révéler toutes les aberrations.

  • Durant son établissement en Nouvelle-Angleterre, après avoir vécu vingt ans en Angleterre, Bill Bryson se lance à la "redécouverte" de l'Amérique avec l'humour pour seule arme. Rien n'échappe à son sens de l'observation ni à son manque de sens pratique. Il lui faut guerroyer avec l'administration et les supermarchés, avec la publicité et les séries télé, avec l'informatique et le jardinage, avec les créatures de la forêt et son coiffeur, et même avec son épouse britannique, qui deviendra vite une Américaine accomplie.

  • 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.