©2000 Bill Bryson; (P)2000 Random House, Inc., Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.
"Bryson's cheery Australian tale should entertain even the most listless driver. His strength lies in his ability to incorporate astounding facts about the country with nutty personal anecdotes." (Publishers Weekly)
Bryson's quirky travel narratives are part-travelogue and part-storytelling with sprinklings of trivia thrown in for good measure. I love the way he jumps around yet manages to stay on topic and interesting. I prefer to travel alone, but, if I had to pick a travel companion, there's no question it would be Bryson or one of his books!
This is my 3rd Bill Bryson book and I'm dreading the day I run out of titles. Bryson is an engaging travel companion, with lots of interesting background about the places he's visiting, not to mention an always lively commentary on the places he's passing through. Having an author with a good voice reading his own work is a plus, and Bryson's voice is easy to listen to, conversational, often quite understated and wry.
You'll be glad this version is unabridged and feel as if you, too, were leaving Australia and a good friend behind when it ends.
I bought it recently on the recommendation of someone in the monthly newsletter. I have been recently interested in Australia and this was a fun way of traveling through it. This Bryson guy is a real kick and it was fun, light commute "read"!
I am about to read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bryson.
Lots of people seem to love this book, but the feeling I am left with is that I just spent 11 hours watching Bryson sitting alone in a bar hoping someone will talk to him. And in this time, his verbal affectations have begun to irritate me. I never want to hear him say the word "shop" ever again. It sounds something like schoupt, but I don't think we have letters adequate to describe it. All that said, the story about the construction workers and the little girl is worth the price of the book.
"Sunburned" was my fourth Bryson audio book and my least favorite. Though (at times) he made me laugh out loud, I couldn't quite square what it was exactly that he liked about the country as he repeated that acknowledgement throughout the book. I certainly got a feeling for the myriad things not to like about Australia.
Too many descriptions of drinking in restaurants and bars, really the theme of the book, and those were pretty dull. I was left with the feeling that Bryson could have written a much better book.
Interesting stories from an author that I quite like. This book is read by the author, however, at a pace twice what it should be and hence is very hard to keep up with.
I like his work but would not purchase another audible book read by him for reasons listed above.
Just about anyone else who can read in a calm manner and at a reasonable pace.
I adore Bill Bryson's books, and this one is the usual blend of fascinating facts and fun anecdotes, so it's ironic that I would object to the author's narration. His voice is just low enough that every other phrase seemed to be a throwaway comment and it was a physical effort just to hear what was going on. In this case I would have preferred reading the book to myself.
Unless you really like Australia, start with one of his other books. A few great parts, but some lulls.
I listened to this in preparation for my own Australian excursion and found it to be a funny, throurough travelouge. The missing star is for the shortchanging Bill gives the indigenous cultures of Australia. He has little to do with such an enormous part of Aussie daily life. I spent a large part of my time in the Mildura region where I encountered a shocking amount of blatant racism towards the aborigines. In other areas, like Broken Hill, the aborigine art and culture is actually celebrated and a tourist draw.
I've never understood the attraction of visiting Australia, and, in all honesty, even after reading this book I still don't want to visit. However, as usual, I loved Bryson's style of presenting intformation, and I do know a lot more about the country. He reads it himself which is always a plus. I recommend pulling out an atlas to get your bearings, and then dive in.
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