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!
I found the"alternate universe" premises in this book amusing, charming and delightful. However, it is the fifth book in the series, and I could not figure out lots of it. I have since bought and read the previous four books in the Thursday Next series, and am enjoying this one much more. A fine trip into a fantasy world.
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