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About Bill Bryson
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Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to discover and celebrate that green and pleasant land. The result was Notes from a Small Island, a true classic and one of the bestselling travel books ever written. Now he has traveled about Britain again, by bus and train and rental car and on foot, to see what has changed—and what hasn’t.
Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north, by way of places few travelers ever get to at all, Bryson rediscovers the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly singular country that he both celebrates and, when called for, twits. With his matchless instinct for the funniest and quirkiest and his unerring eye for the idiotic, the bewildering, the appealing, and the ridiculous, he offers acute and perceptive insights into all that is best and worst about Britain today.
Nothing is more entertaining than Bill Bryson on the road—and on a tear. The Road to Little Dribbling reaffirms his stature as a master of the travel narrative—and a really, really funny guy.
“A literate exploration of why we use—or mangle—our native tongue.”—USA Today
Bill Bryson celebrates America’s magnificent offspring in the book that reveals once and for all how a dusty western hamlet with neither woods nor holly came to be known as Hollywood…and exactly why Mr. Yankee Doodle call his befeathered cap “Macaroni.”
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 aliens—as he later put it, "it was clear my people needed me"). They were greeted by a new and improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss 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.
In the early fall of 2002, famed travel writer Bill Bryson journeyed to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty around the world. He arrived with a set of mental images of Africa gleaned from television broadcasts of low-budget Jungle Jim movies in his Iowa childhood and a single viewing of the film version of Out of Africa. (Also with some worries about tropical diseases, insects, and large predators.) But the vibrant reality of Kenya and its people took over the second he deplaned in Nairobi, and this diary records Bill Bryson’s impressions of his trip with his inimitable trademark style of wry observation and curious insight.
From the wrenching poverty of the Kibera slum in Nairobi to the meticulously manicured grounds of the Karen Blixen house and the human fossil riches of the National Museum, Bryson registers the striking contrasts of a postcolonial society in transition. He visits the astoundingly vast Great Rift Valley; undergoes the rigors of a teeth-rattling train journey to Mombasa and a hair-whitening flight through a vicious storm; and visits the refugee camps and the agricultural and economic projects where dedicated CARE professionals wage noble and dogged war against poverty, dislocation, and corruption.
Though brief in compass and duration, Bill Bryson’s African Diary is rich in irreverent, poignant, and morally instructive observation. Like all of this author’s work, it can make the reader laugh, think, and especially, feel all at the same time.
“Bryson is as amusing as ever….As a celebration of 350 years of modern science, [Seeing Further] it is a worthy tribute.”
In Seeing Further, New York Times bestseller Bill Bryson takes readers on a guided tour through the great discoveries, feuds, and personalities of modern science. Already a major bestseller in the UK, Seeing Further tells the fascinating story of science and the Royal Society with Bill Bryson’s trademark wit and intelligence, and contributions from a host of well known scientists and science fiction writers, including Richard Dawkins, Neal Stephenson, James Gleick, and Margret Atwood. It is a delightful literary treat from the acclaimed author who previous explored the current state of scientific knowledge in his phenomenally popular book, A Short History of Nearly Everything.
Written with extraordinary insight and filled with remarkable facts, When Things Go Wrong deepens our understanding of the maladies that afflict us--what they are and how they work.
A Vintage Short.
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.
This collection gathers the best travel essays from The New Yorker, Harpers, GQ and more—featuring Paul Theroux, Alice Gregory, Dave Eggers and others.
Why do I travel? Why does anyone of us travel? Bill Bryson poses these questions in his introduction to The Best American Travel Writing 2016, and though he admits, “I wasn’t at all sure I knew the answer,” these questions start us on the path of some fascinating explorations. While the various contributors to this collection travel for different reasons, they all come back with stories.
Whether traversing the Arctic by dogsled, attending a surreal film festival in North Korea, or strolling the streets of a fast-changing Havana, some of today’s best travel writers share their experiences of the world and the human condition, offering, if not answers, than illumination and insight.
The Best American Travel Writing 2016 includes Michael Chabon, William T. Vollmann, Helen Macdonald, Sara Corbett, Stephanie Pearson, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Pico Iyer, and others.
This celebration of the English countryside does not only focus on the rolling green landscapes and magnificent monuments that set England apart from the rest of the world. Many of the contributors bring their own special touch, presenting a refreshingly eclectic variety of personal icons, from pub signs to seaside piers, from cattle grids to canal boats, and from village cricket to nimbies.
First published as a lavish colour coffeetable book, this new expanded paperback edition has double the original number of contributions from many celebrities including Bill Bryson, Michael Palin, Eric Clapton, Bryan Ferry, Sebastian Faulks, Kate Adie, Kevin Spacey, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Richard Mabey , Simon Jenkins, John Sergeant, Benjamin Zephaniah, Joan Bakewell, Antony Beevor, Libby Purves, Jonathan Dimbleby, and many more: and a new preface by HRH Prince Charles.
Portugal, 1711. The Portuguese king promises the greedy prelates of the Church an expansive new convent, should they intercede with God to give him an heir. A lonely priest works in maniacal solitude on his Passarola, a heretical flying machine he hopes will allow him to soar far from the madness surrounding him. A young couple, brought together by chance, live out a sweet, if tormented, romance. Meanwhile, amid the fires and horrors of the Inquisition, angry crowds and abused peasants rejoice in spectacles of cruelty, from bullfighting to auto-da-fe; disgraced priests openly flout God’s laws; and chaos reigns over a society on the brink of disaster.
Weaving together multiple storylines to present both breathtaking fiction and incisive commentary, renowned Portuguese writer and winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature, José Saramago spins an epic and captivating yarn, equal parts historical fiction, political satire, religious criticism, and whimsical romance. Hailed by USA Today as “an unexpected gem,” Baltasar and Blimunda is a captivating literary tour de force, full of magic and adventure, exquisite historical detail, and the power of both human folly and human will.