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Notes from a Small Island Audiobook

Notes from a Small Island

From the best selling author of A Walk in the Woods, comes this hilarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain. Check out more Bill Bryson.

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Publisher's Summary

After nearly 2 decades in Britain, Bill Bryson, the acclaimed author of such best sellers as The Mother Tongue, Made in America, and A Walk in the Woods, decided it was time to move back to the United States for a while. This was partly to let his wife and kids experience life in Bryson's homeland - and partly because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another. It was thus clear to him that his people needed him.

But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock on modern-day Britain, and to analyze what he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, zebra crossings, and place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, and Shellow Bowells.

With characteristic wit and irreverence, Bill Bryson presents the ludicrous and the endearing in equal measure. The result is a hilarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain.

©1998 Bill Bryson; (P)1998 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell, A Division of Random House Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (446 )
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4.4 (151 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dave Lafayette, CO, USA 03-28-05
    Dave Lafayette, CO, USA 03-28-05
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    "Crackin' yarn, lad!"

    My path and Mr. Bryson's were reversed - I grew up in Yorkshire and have spent the last twenty years living in the US. This may not be the best guide book to the UK, but as a love letter to a wonderfully imperfect but perfectly wonderful place, I thought he nailed it. I got "the look" from my wife several times because I was laughing too loudly. I enjoyed this more than "A Walk In The Woods" and "I'm a Stranger Here Myself".

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 09-20-07
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 09-20-07 Member Since 2010
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    "Idiocyncrasies of Anglophiles"

    Bryson writes so well that you regret the need to put his books down. His descriptions of the UK are right on, and his love of the place and of his family touch the reader in an unprepared for way. If you are traveling to the UK read this book, if you have ever traveled to the UK read this book, if you never intend to go anyway near the UK, read this book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Saratoga, CA, USA 05-01-03
    Simon Saratoga, CA, USA 05-01-03 Member Since 2001
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    "a funny trail"

    I enjoyed this episode in Bill Bryson's life. It was obvious that his adopted country was a place he loved dearly, and who could blame him after living the the "Dales" for so long; it's a wonderful place. But home always calls you, even after 20 years. His style of humor is always funny. I dont always agree with his opinions, but his writing is always amusing. I particularly enjoyed his chosen method of transportation and his appropriate lack of planning. It had me chuckling for hours.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Nightingale Florida 01-10-05
    B. Nightingale Florida 01-10-05 Member Since 2007
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    "Laughed Out Loud"

    I loved this book and listened to it twice! Bill Bryson's humor is rather dry, but so great. What fun.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Honke 02-19-15
    Nancy Honke 02-19-15
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    "Bored"

    Boring. Hard to get through. He just seems like he's trying to enjoy himself but doesn't. I do not recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen F Craddock 07-14-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Sorry - not a good narration"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I found the book difficult to like as a British reader having just moved to the US. The humour was a little too negative and down on the British but then got to the end and he indicated he loves the UK. For me that kind of humour is from someone who enjoys being miserable about everything. I like to hear people's opinions but even the things he did like about the UK he just mentioned as if you should be impressed that he found anything to like. He has not inspired me to want to read any more of his books.The things he does do well are to demonstrate that he has lived and breathed the UK and that his criticism and comments come from someone who has taken the time to get to know the country - that is why I give credit where due and rate him a 3.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Just be a bit more positive about the stuff he does enjoy about the UK!


    How could the performance have been better?

    I'm afraid Bill Bryson's voice drove me almost to delete the recording - he has a very dull and dreary voice with a particularly annoying intonation at the end of every sentence which probably lessened my enjoyment of the book as opposed to if I had read it.


    Could you see Notes from a Small Island being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Probably. Somebody with a permanent frown on their face, like Jack Dee. But that wouldn't work because he is already British and he is actually funnier than Bill Bryson


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lynette 02-23-16
    lynette 02-23-16
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    "Great read"

    Bryson once again comes through with vivid imagery, meticulous fact finding, and just the right blend of hilarity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Priya 02-12-16
    Priya 02-12-16 Member Since 2013
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    "He's wonderful"

    I love best the ones that Bryson narrates himself. He's a wonderful storyteller. Although his books seem to be about nothing much, certainly not a travel guide. They are vastly entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    OhSeeDee 01-25-16
    OhSeeDee 01-25-16

    Home School Mom

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    "Disappointed"

    Perhaps if the narration had been done by a professional who could make English accents come alive, it might have been more amusing and then, possibly worth the purchase. As it was, Bryson's beleaguered, monotone delivery left much to be desired. In addition, the author's penchant for references to condoms, sperm, ejaculation, etc. added absolutely nothing to the narrative and did not endear me to this particular author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Braud 03-07-15
    R. Braud 03-07-15 Member Since 2012

    Hunter

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    "Walk across England!"

    Now I want to walk across England!
    Why does this review require I use more words than I have
    OY

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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