Bill Bryson has written some amazing stuff (Summer of 1927) but this isn't it, particularly I Am a Stranger Here Myself. These are mundane tiresome essays following the same boring formula: there is some routine task, such as filling in a tax form, that has bewildering jargon that Bill can't understand, leading to some absurd result. Har Har Har.
I am still a fan of Bill Bryson, but this is one that could have used some quality control.
Bill has a kind of John Malkovich tone, with a slight British accent. It's an OK performance and nice that the author bothered to perform it himself (probably to save money).
Disappointment. Not everything an artist writes is brilliant.
I enjoyed Bill Bryson's books in print and then re-enjoyed them in audio. The audio version feels more personal - like a friend telling of his experiences.
This book is a compilation of three books - about his tour of England, of europe, and then of his return to the US after 20 years away. He is incomparable!
Bill Bryson has the ability to take a small detail and increase its importance so that you can see it in all its complexity, and, often, ridiculousness. He sounds like a friend.
On his return after 20 years to the US, he was able to see his native land as a stranger might see it, and helps us to see ourselves in all our nonsensical, annoying, irritating, infuriating,and sometimes lovable ways. For instance, he turns his spotlight on the cultural change away from smoking due to the fear of second-hand smoke. And yet, we tolerate guns everywhere. How many people die of second hand smoke? And how many gunshots? How sensible are we to ban smoking in public and allow guns?
Bryson has insights that clarify things, no matter what he is writing about. He seems to know everything!
The author's lament for the fall of the Soviet Empire which he thinks was founded on such a noble idea in contrast to America which was founded on self interest and greed is a bit much. The man is a blithering idiot, though amusing.
I've heard of these 3 for years and was happy to finally get to them - but unfortunately I was disappointed. If you're unfamiliar with Bryson's work, and want to read 3 good ones, start with "A Short History of Nearly Everything" (his best researched), then read "A Walk In the Woods" (his best travelogue), then "At Home" (his most interesting and insightful). The 3 in the "Collector's Edition" may have served him well in honing his writing style, but I think the modern reader can easily pass them by (unless you just want to read everything he's ever written, which I suppose is why I read them).
What a disappointment! Bryson is enamored with himself as he strings together cleverly turned phrases into a monotonous series of shallow anecdotes which he passes off as story telling.
It is also a complete mistake to have him narrate his own work. Poor articulation with no inflection.
The result is just uninspired on every front.
I'm sorry I bought this book
I loved Bill's "A Walk in the Woods" but these books lack the humor and adventure that I expect from him. Bill is a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE narrator.....maybe these would be a better read.
I've previously enjoyed Bryson's "Walk In The Woods" and his Australia book. Was not impressed with this earlier work. A few amusing spots, but really not worth 2 credits.
not really, it's indeed entertaining, however, Bill is definitely a terrible narrator, William Roberts is much better.