Bill Bryson

A slow, analog alternative to the internet

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
22/7
I'm pretty sure I have "The Slavery In My Asshole" on DVD.
Posts: 6475
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:30 pm UTC
Location: 127.0.0.1

Bill Bryson

Postby 22/7 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:23 pm UTC

Didn't see a thread specifically for his stuff. I got into his writing by accident. I was going to Australia for a study abroad semester and a family member whom I see very irregularly handed me his "In a Sunburnt Country". Since then I've read probably 4 others by him (I'm a Stranger Here Myself, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, A Short History of Nearly Everything, and A Brief Walk in the Woods (is that the correct title? It feels wrong)). Anyway, I love his work and figured I'd throw this thread up in case anyone else had anything to say about him, his work, whatever.
Totally not a hypothetical...

Steroid wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
I want to be!

User avatar
Amarantha
Posts: 1638
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:56 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby Amarantha » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:38 pm UTC

It's A Walk in the Woods :) And ya, we've got several of Bryson's books and a DVD or two. I find his humour a trifle too negative at times, but still funny enough to be always entertaining :) I also like his linguistic stuff like Mother Tongue and Made in America. It's been a while since I read 'em last, but I seem to recall Neither Here Nor There being one of the funniest for me.

User avatar
bbctol
Super Deluxe Forum Title of DESTINYâ„¢
Posts: 3137
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:27 pm UTC
Location: The Twilight Zone
Contact:

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby bbctol » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:09 pm UTC

A Brief History of Nearly Everything was pretty good. I've had Mother Tongue recommended to me by numerous people, but some quick googling reveals that that book is horribly inaccurate.

User avatar
22/7
I'm pretty sure I have "The Slavery In My Asshole" on DVD.
Posts: 6475
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:30 pm UTC
Location: 127.0.0.1

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby 22/7 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:53 pm UTC

I think the thing to remember with Bryson is that what he's writing is terribly funny, if not always terribly accurate. These inaccuracies may come from not studying enough, or studying the wrong things, or simply because it'd make a better story to change a detail or two. But remember, while most of what he writes is in the genre of "non-fiction", it's still really just there as a background for a story.
Totally not a hypothetical...

Steroid wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
I want to be!

User avatar
cypherspace
Posts: 2733
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:48 pm UTC
Location: Londonia

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby cypherspace » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:48 pm UTC

I think you guys must have different titles to us - I assume "In A Sunburnt Country" is about Australia, in which case it's called Down Under here. I'm A Stranger Here Myself is called Notes From A Big Country (to tie in with the British one Notes From A Small Island).

I've read all of his books with the exception of the language ones. I started reading Mother Tongue but it just didn't grab me the way his travel books did. I think his funniest is the first, The Lost Continent, followed by Notes From A Small Island and Neither Here Nor There.

While I liked A Brief History Of Nearly Everything, there was nothing new in it for me. I'd recommend it to someone without hesitation though.
"It was like five in the morning and he said he'd show me his hamster"

User avatar
22/7
I'm pretty sure I have "The Slavery In My Asshole" on DVD.
Posts: 6475
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:30 pm UTC
Location: 127.0.0.1

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby 22/7 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:53 pm UTC

Yeah, there are different titles for different countries.
Totally not a hypothetical...

Steroid wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
I want to be!

User avatar
bigglesworth
I feel like Biggles should have a title
Posts: 7461
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:29 pm UTC
Location: Airstrip One

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:31 pm UTC

I loved all his stuff I've read apart from SHoNE. I'd read it all before, and the best history of everything book I've read were the Science of Discworld books.
Generation Y. I don't remember the First Gulf War, but do remember floppy disks.

Wormwood
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:03 am UTC

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby Wormwood » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:11 pm UTC

SHoNE was a book that my mother bought and I actually enjoyed. That's only happened once since, and if it can entertain both her and me, it must be good. The information may not have been correct, but it was fun. Come to think of it, it was more like Wikipedia, being perhaps not that accurate, but a good way to find interesting things to research properly. After reading it, I became interested in many things, like evolution and rotifers, especially the bdelloid kind. A good word for hangman, bdelloid.

Also, A walk in the Woods (I think) got me interested in the Appalachian trail, and I fully intend to walk that one day.
Bakemaster wrote:DOGGIE STYLE IS THOUGHTCRIME-SODOMY

Rokue
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:04 pm UTC
Location: Finland

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby Rokue » Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:59 pm UTC

I love his books, they always make me laugh no matter what my mood was before I started to read a chapter. So far I've read The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America and Notes from a Big Country (UK) / I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away (US), currently I'm reading Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe.

User avatar
Allium Cepa
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:46 am UTC
Location: RVA

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby Allium Cepa » Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:47 pm UTC

I'm currently reading A Walk in the Woods and it's very good. The way he blends his stories with the facts is really well done, and interesting. I've read some stuff about how all of it isn't accurate, but he does still do a really good job with his books. Apparently since his release of A Walk in the Woods the amount of thru-hikers for the Appalachian Trail has increased a great deal.
Take me back to the day that I went blind, I would like to see your face for one last time.

User avatar
22/7
I'm pretty sure I have "The Slavery In My Asshole" on DVD.
Posts: 6475
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 3:30 pm UTC
Location: 127.0.0.1

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby 22/7 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:40 am UTC

Allium Cepa wrote:I'm currently reading A Walk in the Woods and it's very good. The way he blends his stories with the facts is really well done, and interesting. I've read some stuff about how all of it isn't accurate, but he does still do a really good job with his books. Apparently since his release of A Walk in the Woods the amount of thru-hikers for the Appalachian Trail has increased a great deal.

I wouldn't be at all surprised. And yeah, I've heard a great deal about inaccuracies in the facts and stories he presents, but to be honest I don't really care. I enjoy his books for the same reason you do, not because I can use them as a reference for anything.
Totally not a hypothetical...

Steroid wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
I want to be!

jtniehof
Posts: 312
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:00 pm UTC

Re: Bill Bryson

Postby jtniehof » Thu May 01, 2008 6:06 pm UTC

Allium Cepa wrote:Apparently since his release of A Walk in the Woods the amount of thru-hikers for the Appalachian Trail has increased a great deal.

There was a sharp spike in starters, but I've also heard there were a lot more dropouts at Neel's Gap for the year or two afterwards. There's also been a trend towards a lower percentage of dropouts overall (across the entire trail, not at the first opportunity) in the last decade, improving the number of completers. The ATC site is a total pain to deep-link, but this should give you a count of 2000-milers by year. There was an obvious growth trend before 1998 (the second backpacking boom, most likely). One useful comparison is the number of 4000-footer finishers (which should, in theory, be unaffected by Bryson.) Even there, there's a clear trend of AT growing vs. 4k's from 1995 onward. I think any effect of the book is probably lost in the noise.

It's a fun book, but its accuracy and importance to the Trail have both been overstated.


Return to “Books”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests