©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)
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??
Narration is good, except some words are oddly mispronounced. If Bill Bryson read this himself, my experience would be optimal.
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.
I love everything about Bill Bryson books. Not only does he entertain me but he also makes me feel smarter every time I finish his books. I have recommended this book to every friend I have. I only wished it was actually him narrating.
It's Typical Bill Bryson, I know this doesn't help if you've never read his books, but he has a style all his own and his style of intelligent humor is very appealing
I listened to it on my Kindle every night to fall asleep in between trips to the bathroom. 😉. It is fun to listen to, easy to fall asleep to, though reader's emotional voice was a bit over the top for relaxation. But fun and amusing as Mr. Bryson ALWAYS is!
Only his others...but really no comparison. It's filled with fun facts about words and sayings!
A bit of over-the-top emotional investment.
Makes English fun!
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.
"Erudite and interesting"
I did enjoy this book and will hear it many times.Such a lot to learn.
"Language made entertaining."
The study of language is fascinating and this is Bryson at his fascinating best. Wonderful nuggets if information about American English, English English and the conked relationship between them. Plus a smattering of Bryson opinions about things that matter to us all. Great narration from William Roberts. A boom to listen to again and again.
A beautifully researched and superbly-read book, fascinating throughout and one of my favourite books to dip in and out of. Second only to 'Home'
Another fact filled Bryson classic. Running from before the creation of the USA, this well performed audio book leads you through the origin of thousands of words and Americanism's, using Bryson's witty and satirical humour. A multi-listen book to play again and again.
"a difficult listen."
unlike a lot of his other books. this one is similar to a brief history, but less interesting and with constant narration of words. at times it is ok but at others it is almost like listening to domeone read random words from a dictionary. in summary, a history lesson you find yourself falling asleep in. sorry bill but your worst book to date. william roberts though does his ususl great narration.
"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)
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