©1994 Bill Bryson; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"Bryson offers a playfully anecdotal account of the etymology of distinctive words and phrases that help to create a distinctly American English." (Publishers Weekly)
"A treat....Filled with surprises....A literate exploration of why we use, or mangle, our native tongue." (USA Today)
Having listened to Bill Bryson read his own works before, I was initially disappointed by the reading of William Roberts. However, further into the book, his impressions and characterised quotations brought the book to life and had me laughing out loud to the story! By the end, I wondered what I had ever been upset about and adored Roberts rendition. His accent and liveliness brought much needed drama to this very informally written, yet of a formal nature, text.
An avid language curiositist, I often ask,
Such interesting history behind how words come into existence. The book has so much information and research behind it.
Absorbing, entertaining and funny as Bill always is. No one else can pass on such interesting and detailed research as Bill does, while making you laugh the whole way. Highly recommended.
Great education of how our country has always grown strength through the diversity of others and will continue to make it strong.Great for a road trip.My most memorable part was probably learning the definition of a jelly roll and shorting bread.
I'm not sure why so many people dislike William Roberts as the narrator for this book. His take on the book seems so similar to Bill Bryson's narration of his other books, I tended to forget it wasn't Bryson.
Meticulously researched and written, if you are interested in linguistics and the history of words specifically in America, there is no better author to tackle it than Bill Bryson. I would recommend the audible version for the pronunciations, but keep the print book handy as well.
I usually like Bill Bryson books, but definitely not this one. The story takes a very long time to start becoming interesting. A long book for a shot history. The narrator doesn't help either: flat voice.
Bill Bryson has a wonderful sense of humor and an entertaining writing style. I didn't read anything about this title in advance, so I didn't realize it was focused on the etymology of American English. I enjoyed it in small pieces. I found it a bit dry at times, but there are some very interesting facts and anecdotes within. If etymology is your thing, you'll love this read. If not, try Bryson's other titles.
I read many negative reviews of this book but because I love Bill Bryson I decided to give it a try anyway. I'm so glad I did. The content is right up my alley, I love entomology so this book was perfect. I also thought the narrator hit it out of the park. I love it when Bill Bryson narrates his own books but I understand why he decided not to tackle this one. I think those people leaving negative reviews are failing to consider that because you aren't reading this book but instead listening, the narrator has to spell out or say what you could otherwise see and read. The differences to a reader would be obvious but unless he spells it out, a listener might not necessarily know the difference in words, spellings and pronunciations. He does an excellent job.
If you're at all interested in word origin and general history, you'll love this book. Is it a "formula" book. Yes, but isn't that what keeps you coming back for more Bill Bryson??
Please Mr Bryson, read your own works, I'm begging you. This narrator is irritating and boring at the same time. Didn't think that was possible but he is.
"I generally like Bill Bryson, but ......"
It has some good moments, but there too many lists of variations of words and there various spelling, to make it interesting..
Yes, I like to be entertained.
The narration could not improve the endless lists.
No characters in the book to cut.
The subject matter precludes Bryson's dry wit.
Brilliant book, entertaining, informative and interesting. Bill Bryson writes with humour and wit on what could easily be a dry subject. He is at once proud of the heritage of the American language and makes no excuses or apologies for where it has turned from British English but at the same time isn't afraid to cast a knowing eye or witty aside when called for. I have read and re-read this book over 20 times & listen to the audio almost as much.
"A captivating trip through American history"
Another great book by Bill Bryson. Whilst the linguistic side is very interesting, he provides substantial historical context which prevents it from becoming too specialist or dull. Definitely recommended!
"A Bryson excellence, but not for audio"
Another excellent book by Bryson, but the topic makes it particularly unsuitable for audio. As much of the book is about the evolution of words and their spellings, this is hard to convey by audio with many words having to be spelt out without the benefit of visual appreciation.
"Needs an abridger"
Having read the print version a few times - it's a mine of fascinating facts for a history / culture / linguistics nerd! - I hoped this would translate to audio as well as other "written Bryson / narrated Roberts" books would, but unfortunately there's just too much information for it to really work as an audiobook. With a good editor / abridger, this could be condensed into a much more listenable 6-10 hour book rather than 18 hours of struggle (which, I'm sorry to say, I gave up on)
What a mix
Showing what a insecure bunch the Americans'
Can read a book whilst working in the garden
Gave me another view of the USA
Bill Byron can be listened to, over and over again, the man is fantastic
"M.a.d.e i.n A.m.e.r.i.c.a"
I tend to have several books on the go at once - fiction alongside non-fiction. So this was useful as I could dip into the book and pause between passages.
This is a surprisingly easy listen given the subject matter of 'words' and phrases made in America. Interesting and informative - but obviously not useful as a quick reference - so treat it accordingly.
However - whilst I do not like 'abridged' version of books - there is something to recommend 'adapted' for audio - there are occasional passages where the book and audio consists of seemingly endless lists - which work well on paper but not on audio - especially when they are also spelled out.
"Top Marks to the Narrator"
This was a tricky wee read for the narrator and he coped admirably. We are taken on a linguistic journey from the Mayflower to present day. The origins of American English had several roots, English, Scottish, Irish, Native American, Spanish and German; and far from being a boring language lesson, it was an informative wee listen!
The history of inventions and the lying and cheating that went on to obtain copyrights was fascinating - especially the poor wee guy who was cheated by Singer on his sewing machine. You'll learn all about the later fads like Coke and McDonalds too, I'd recommend this.
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