Like many of his generation, Bill Bryson backpacked across Europe in the early '70s - in search of enlightenment, beer, and women. Over 20 years later, the acclaimed author of Notes from a Small Island, The Mother Tongue, and A Walk in the Woods decided to retrace the journey he undertook in the halcyon days of his youth, carrying with him a bag of maps, old clothes, and a stinging wit honed to razor sharpness by 2 decades of adult experience. The result is this affectionate, blisteringly insightful, and riotously funny pilgrimage from the frozen wastes of Scandinavia to the chaotic tumult of Istanbul, with stops along the way in Europe's most diverting and historic locales - a brutally frank and uproarious tourist's-eye-view of the Old World according to Bryson.More
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I wish he were my neighbour.
I loved this book. I read it in paperback originally and it was the first of his books that I read, but enjoyed listening to the audio book as it was narrated by the author (I am in fact disappointed that his other books available from audible are not all narrated by him), I am really only writing this review to rebut something negative said in one of the other reviews.
The other reviewer talks about him "bragging about his lack of knowledge" but either failed to continue listening to/reading what came after that, or is purposefully being disingenuous. Mr. Bryson talks about how he doesn't speak any language besides English, but goes on to say that what he likes about being unilingual in foreign countries is that it makes him feel how young children must feel; having no real idea what is going on around them but happy to be there nonetheless.
I feel that that distinction is important as it changes the tone of his comment altogether from 'bragging about his ignorance' to a comment on innocence. I wouldn't want anyone to give this book a miss because of a review written by someone with either poor reading comprehension or an axe to grind. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions, but those opinions should be based on facts (or the entirety of what the author said) not just snippets taken out of context.
Funny and informative
- Alan Lewis