Thursday 7 December 2017

Bryson, Bill "Notes form a Big Country"

Bryson, Bill "Notes from a Big Country" (US: I'm a Stranger Here Myself) - 1999 

After many years in Great Britain, Bill Bryson returns to his home country with his family for a while. He is one of my favourite authors.

If you need to laugh out loud, really laugh, pick up a Bill Bryson book and get carried away. I always said my favourite of his books was "Notes from a Small Island" (added by "The Road to Little Dribbling" later on) but I am not so sure after this one. Maybe because I also have left my home country and lived abroad for about a quarter of a century and don't always know my own country that well myself any more, maybe because this book seems to be even more personal than many of the other Bryson books ... in any case, I loved it.

Please, write more books, Bill!

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2023.

From the back cover:

"Bill Bryson has the rare knack of being out of his depth wherever he goes - even (perhaps especially) in the land of his birth. This became all too apparent when, after nearly two decades in England, the world's best-loved travel writer upped sticks with Mrs. Bryson, little Jimmy et al. and returned to live in the country he had left as a youth.

Of course there were things Bryson missed about Blighty but any sense of loss was countered by the joy of rediscovering some of the forgotten treasures of his childhood: the glories of a New England autumn; the pleasingly comical sight of oneself in shorts; and motel rooms where you can generally count on being awakened in the night by a piercing shriek and the sound of a female voice pleading, 'Put the gun down, Vinnie, I'll do anything you say.'

Whether discussing the strange appeal of breakfast pizza or the jaw-slackening direness of American TV, Bill Bryson brings his inimitable brand of bemused wit to bear on that strangest of phenomena - the American way of life."

I have a blogpost called "Bill Bryson - Funniest Author ever" where I link to all my Bryson reviews.


  1. Hi Marianne, this looks like a goodie. Please bring this over to Books You Loved: December so everyone can see it. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

    1. Thank you for yoru hint, Carole. It makes it easier to choose. Midn you, I have a few good ones in mind already, might post more than one. ;)

      Happy Reading!

  2. I use to be a big Bill Bryson fan, but lately I've found him a bit mean-spirited. This is one of his earlier books and I did like it a lot.

    1. Even though I know what you mean, I still enjoy him very much. He's becoming one of those grumpy old men but since I seem to turn into a grumpy old woman, I still enjoy his books. ;)

  3. This is one of the few Bryson books I haven't read. I agree. He can make you laugh no matter what is going on.

    1. I am sure you will enjoy it a lot. I find that I can enjoy those books most where I know what he is talking about. I found his British books a lot more hilarious than his Australian one, for example, simply because I've never been.

      But this is also about an expat returning home, no matter from where and to which home, so I could relate a lot again.

      Get yourself a copy and enjoy!