Persnickety, curmudgeonly, locked into a long daily commute which is mitigated somewhat by listening to great books.
Around the middle
Brings back things from my childhood - some by direct reference and others just remind me of similar things in my past.
Bryson also uses language effectively. He balances literary style with the humor of more common speech. I really like that mix.
In Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Bryson (reader and author) tells the story of his childhood in Des Moines, Iowa. Being from the midwest myself, and having spent a good deal of time in Iowa with Iowans I find myself really put off by Bryson's accent. That is not any kind of Iowa or even midwest-US accent. I wouldn't remark on it, except that A) it is an audiobook, B) the book has everything to do with the author/reader being from Iowa, C) Bryson is in his 60's, so one would think that he would have been exposed to more Iowa accent than a younger person.
Small Town Remembrances
The great storytelling and the vibrant way he brings growing up in small town, middle America to life in the 1950s.
Since this is his life and his experience, having him deliver the story brought a certain passion and depth to the story that just reading it might miss.
Bill talks about his dad, the Des Moines Register sportswriter, and his unique ability to be at the right place at the right time and to tell wonderful sports history stories. These are stories that were bigger than life in the 50s, and often Bill was taken along for the trip with his dad - given the chance to "be there" and to meet legends of baseball.
Growing up during this time brought up feelings of nostalgia as well as brought things to memory we have not thought about for years. Bill has a keen eye for observation, and wonderful ability with language, and an ability to find the humor in many situations. Whether this would hit the same reaction in someone who has not grown up nor experienced mid-west America in this era, I don't know. It certainly was a wonderful trip down memory lane for us.
I have all of Bill Bryson's works, but this is the best one so far. The other ones are good listens as well. He does such a good job with history, but this is his childhood in the 1950's (which is when I was born and can relate) It's done with a good sense of humor which left me anxious to get back to the book!
A friend recommended this book. I enjoyed the family craziness because I grew up in a similarly strange family. I could relate to much of the humor.
I too grew up in the 1950s and 1960s and could relate a lot to the experiences Mr. Bryson had. Very funny family experiences and a sense of loss of those simpler times as a child in that era.
Bill Bryson and his ability of storytelling.
Milton Milton or Katz.
This book was laugh out loud material. Most authors don't their book justice by narrating it themselves. Bryson's wonderfully cynical humor comes alive and almost makes me wish to have grown up in the 1950's Des Moine. Out of the several hundred audio books I own, this is in my all time favorite list.
In a small, peaceful town on the Equator, the sun always sets at 6, and a good audiobook is always the perfect evening companion.
I too grew up in Iowa in the 1950s, but without the photographic memory of Bill Bryson. Yet when he says it, I recognize it. And although I was not aware that Bishops Cafeteria in Des Moines had atomic toilets, I'm grateful to know it now. This is an amazing, sensitive, delightfully exhaustive recollection of an incomparable decade of American social history, and it's done with the author's trademark hilarity. Listening to Bryson recount the essence of that era, you feel like he's grabbed it all back, just in the nick of time, before it faded forever.
Well read X
Only in that it was easier to "read" in the car. The author has lived in England for so long that he sounds a little less All-American than the story he's telling.
The author's witty take on his childhood and the familiarity of so many aspects of the story. His discussion of the toys & candy of that era, for example, was spot on.
Loved "At Home." A completely different kind of book, but still imbued with Bryson's combination of wit and insight. Both of these are my go-to choices when nothing else is appealing to me. Could read/listen to them over and over. And have.
Laughed, laughed, laughed. Experienced the best sort of nostalgia - non-sappy. And was somewhat saddened by remembering the pre-franchise days when every city looked a little different. We've lost something now that we live in Home Depot, McDonalds, 7-11, Wal-Mart land.
If you're a boomer, you should read this book to take a trip back in time. If you're younger, you should read it to get a glimpse into what life in middle America used to be like. Plus, some things never change for kids - parents are still embarrassing, school is still painful, budding relationships with the opposite sex are still awkward. You will laugh.
A book lover from way back
If you've read and enjoyed any other stories by Bill Bryson, this one will be right up your alley. It started out slow, but once it got going, it had me laughing out loud.
It's fun to hear the author read his own words, makes it more personal, and on a memoir it's almost essential.
I think the 1950's was my favorite character.
He is droll and that comes through in the reading by the author.
there were a few laugh-out-louds along the way, a surprising joy. It was my first Bill Bryson book.