Title: Notes From A Small Island
Author: Bill Bryson
Narrator: William Roberts
Publisher: Audible Studios
Website: Audible Studios
Listening Length: 10h:29m
Synopsis: After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson decided it was time to move back to the United States for a while. But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson decided to take 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 of modern-day Britain, and to analyse what he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, zebra crossings, and place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, and Shellow Bowells. The result is a social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain.
Notes from a Small Island is not at all what I was expecting. For some reason, and I’m not sure why, I had expected it to be a description of Bryson’s meetings with the eccentric people of Britain and the strange conversations he will have had with them. But instead it is a travelogue – a description of Bryson’s erratic travels through Britain, as a farewell to the country before he moved to the US for a number of years. It is a platform to allow Bryson to vent his spleen against public transport and the poor planning decisions that have blighted some of our most wonderful cities, to present his awe and wonder at some of the many lovely places that can be found around Britain and to give a potted history of a number of places. But the unexpected content did not detract from the entertainment value of the book, helped by the excellent narration of William Roberts. A very good read (listen) although I did feel it did become a bit repetitive towards the end, hence 3* rather than 4.
What others thought at the time of writing
Amazon.co.uk; 2,260 reviews, of which 93% were 3* or more, giving an average of 4.4*
Amazon.com; 7,154 reviews, of which 93% were 3* or more, giving an average of 4.4*
Goodreads.com; 82,935 ratings (3,798 reviews), with 94% of 3* or more, giving an average of 3.9*
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