Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book 2: Notes from a Small Island

Book 2: Notes from a Small Island
By Bill Bryson

I had such a hard time finishing this book in the allotted week. Not because it was particularly long, or involved, but because it was such a meandering storyline I really had to force myself to keep reading. The book was…cute. The premise is fairly basic. The author, about ready to return home to the US, decided to tour England after living there for 20 years. 

So….reading the book felt like sitting in on a conversation between two people who have a lot of inside jokes. It was all about how quirky the English are, how charming they are, how they find boring things interesting and on and on and on. I’ve always wanted to visit Britain, personally, so I thought that this book would be very enjoyable…unfortunately it was just a bit tedious having never been there. Individually, the stories were entertaining; however as a whole, the book it just seemed to drag.  

I wish I had more to say. Of course I still very much want to visit Britain, there’s a portion of the book where he embarks on a walking trail that goes past monuments and roman ruins and the like and that seemed fascinating. Eventually I would very much want to do that. However I imagine it’s much more enthralling doing it than reading about it. I WAS introduced to Ordnance Survey Maps, which sound intriguing with their intense level of detail. I wish I had some for Colorado, or even just some portion of America I could drive to. I know when I visit Britain they will be one of the first things I purchase. In general, a map of his journey would have been quite helpful in picturing exactly where he was going/what he was doing.The way he talked about how much history Britain had, and how it was a non-event. People lived in houses from the 17th century, how lax the laws on protecting those houses...WOW. I think that was really the only part of the book where I kept turning pages pretty quickly (all three of them for that section).

Still, it wasn’t a bad book. It would be more one to read when I decide to travel to Britain, and that would really be one of the only cases where I would recommend it. That said, I love Bryson. His book, ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ is one of my all-time favorite books EVER. Read that one, not this.

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