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WINNER: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELLER READER AWARD FOR BEST TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016
WINNER: BOOKS ARE MY BAG READER AWARD FOR BEST AUTOBIOGRAPHY OR BIOGRAPHY 2016
Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain.Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed.
Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn’t altogether recognize any more. Yet, despite Britain’s occasional failings and more or less eternal bewilderments, Bill Bryson is still pleased to call our rainy island home. And not just because of the cream teas, a noble history, and an extra day off at Christmas.
Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.
Bryson returns to his adopted country of Britain to revisit some of his favorite sites in this followup to his bestselling Notes from a Small Island, published in 1996. He discovers that some of these places, like Dorset, a coastal city Bryson describes as "rolling perfection," remain relatively unchanged, while others have changed for better or worse. He reports that Manchester, a city he took to task in his earlier effort, has improved, though many of his compliments are backhanded. As usual, he scatters an entertaining mix of wacky anecdotes and factoids (e.g., during an eight-week period in 2009, four people in Britain were fatally trampled by cows) throughout, but his enduring mix of wonder and irascibility is what carries readers through his travels. His wry observations and self-deprecating humor keep him from coming off as a bitter cynic, and his lyrical way with words keeps the pages turning.