Notes from a Small Island

Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, a humorous travelogue from two months of taking public transport around the United Kingdom, is worth a read, particularly if you are a foreigner living here. From the reviews on Amazon UK it appears to be even more entertaining to Brits as a keen view from the outside. Bryson’s style is engaging, and the book alternates between amusing (occasionally hilarious) anecdotes, and rants about the apparently insufferable clash of architectural styles he encounters in various cities—which were lengthy enough to weary, as I personally find the jumble to be part of the place’s charm. Amidst his comical observations there’s a fair bit of history, which gave me a moderate interest in visiting far-flung parts of the country. On the whole, though, it’s inferior to his more serious (if no less scatterbrained) undertaking At Home, which, although not specifically about Britain, manages a better proportion of quirky British historical facts to amusing but inconsequential fluff. ★★★☆☆

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