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In a Sunburned Country [Paperback]

Bill Bryson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (259 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read. July 8 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been to Australia twice, once to Perth (12 days) and once to Cairns (10 days). En route to a 3 month stay in Brisbane, so decided to get stoked about it by reading more on the country. Normally, not a travel book reading type of guy, I prefer historical books (such as Fatal Shore or Graveyard of the Batavia - super read!!) however, I have to give credit to the author for this is a good read. Relates some interesting facts and makes some good observations, but what I enjoyed most was his humour. I read the reviews of it being funny, but was skeptical. However, I have to admit it is pretty hilarious at times. The chapter on Canberra cracked me up so many times. Funny stuff. Anyway, book is highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best travel books I've ever read June 29 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bryson is at his very best here. His adventures in Australia are a tour de force of humour, historical and cultural insights, and an excellent list of the sorts of poisonous and deadly creature down there to both embrace and avoid. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I can't even remember how many times I've read this fantastic, hilarious, well-researched and touching account of author Bill Bryson's travels across distant Australia. There are endless anecdotes which are worked seamlessly into an already wonderful piece of writing. The chapter on cricket on the radio always stands out for me, my mom often quotes favorite lines from that particular section.

But most of all, when I first read this book I was 13. I didn't really know anything about Australia aside from the fact that it was the home of kangaroos and dingos. Well, In A Sunburned Country made me fall in love with Oz. Now I see it as a kind of Canada of the Southern Hemisphere, rugged and very nature driven with a small population and friendly peacful citizens.

Now that I'm 19? I've been accepted to study abroad in Melbourne, Australia and I'm planning on rereading my favorite Bill Bryson book over and over until I'm standing on Australian soil.

What higher praise can there be for an travel author than to inspire his readers to pick up and fly 15,000 km to see the place he's painted so vivid a picture of?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb CD Book Listening Experience Dec 10 2003
Format:Audio CD
I love to hear Bill Bryson read his books aloud. His 10 disc monologue on Australia was, by turns, fascinating, LOL amusing, astonishing, informative, good natured and good company. I won't describe the book's content here - others have done a fine job in their reviews. My focus is, instead, on the experience of LISTENING to Bill Bryson. I regularly listen to books on CD as I drive around Upstate New York for work. After spending many hundreds of hours hearing recordings of books, I fancy myself an experienced and discriminating listener. IMHO, Bryson is an engaging and sociable reader as well as a superb (virtual) travelling companion. I believe he genuinely enjoys the act of reading aloud for others. After hearing this generous yet informal treatment, I am reluctant to read the print verion. I fear that the inevitable change in my experience of Bryson's Voice, caused by experiencing him visually instead of with my ears, would strike me as a loss. Listening to the CD version of In a Sunburned Country, it was my happy experience to feel that Bryson was sharing his stories of Australia directly with me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By C. J. Thompson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Bryson loves England - that is obvious in Notes from a Small Island. In Australia, however, he is an outsider on a visit (not a resident) and the difference is obvious in the style and character of this book.

In 'Notes from a Small Island', Bryson skips easily from topic to topic, highlighting whichever particular memories strike his fancy. Here, however, we are presented with much more of a standard travelogue in which a good deal more historical and geographical detail provided. Most of it though, I am glad to say, is presented in the light, humorous way in which this author usually entertains me and I enjoyed it immensely. I am cognizant that some reviewers have criticized Bryson for being less than accurate and not 'in-depth' enough, but I didn't buy this book as a sociological, political, or 'what-have-you' treatise, I sometimes just liked to hear a story about somebody's experiences... that's what this book is. I should add that, while my wife and I have very different tastes in literature, I gave her this book before she took a trip to a conference in Sidney and she enjoyed it very much.

My only quibble about this book is as follows: When Bryson is at his most fluid and honest, his humor is easy and very natural. When he *tries* to be funny, however, the prose becomes noticeably forced and the resultant humor declines proportionately. In this book, he confesses to a fear of dogs and goes into a lengthy description of an encounter with one in suburban Sidney. Unfortunately, his particular reaction to canines is not one shared by most people so this whole attempt at to provide a comic 'filler' ended up being little more than tedious... for me at least.

Still a great book though :)
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3.0 out of 5 stars An amusing light-hearted read. June 4 2011
By Michael TOP 1000 REVIEWER
First off. I haven't lived in Australia and I'd never read any of his books before this one. I went in to this book with limited expectations but found myself quite pleasantly surprised. Like some of the other readers say, he doesn't quite cover the entire country. Maybe I'm strange, but I just didn't care. I quite happily read his amusing self deprecating anecdotes, his take on Australian historical tidbits. To a Bill Bryson book virgin such as myself, I was rather gleeful as I sped through this happy little book. Though some of his loyal fans might proclaim this far from his best, I was more than happy with my investment. How often do you have so much useless information tossed at you and wind up laughing as a result? Exactly.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Habituelle - Montreal
I ordered a used paperbound book on December 19th from Habituelle-Montreal but it was never received. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2012 by First-time Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Off to a really slow start (but it gets better)
The first 40% of the book is made up of lame non-adventures (he hikes through endless suburbia, is chased by dogs in a park, goes on and an meandering search for drinking... Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2010 by Leslie Carmichael
5.0 out of 5 stars In A Sunburned Country
Bill Bryson is a wonderful writer, witty and descriptive. I laughed alot while reading this book. Having just been to Australia myself for the first time, I enjoyed all the extra... Read more
Published on May 2 2010 by L. Penner
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Laughs
This funny account of travel in Australia isn't necessarily the greatest of Bryson's works, but it is worth a read! Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2008 by Mark Nenadov
5.0 out of 5 stars A very witty story told about visiting and history of Australia
This book was originally recommended to me by a co-worker when he found out I was taking my annual 3 week vacation this year to Australia. This will be my first trip Down Under. Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2007 by Petra Mehner
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quirky Take
The day I picked up this book, I was sitting at the bus stop reading the first couple of pages, chuckling to myself at Bryson's turn of phrase and ability to see humour it the... Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2006 by marji
2.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressed
Picked up this book after having heard it was funny, informative, and easy to read. Within the first few pages i became disillusioned! Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2004 by alistair w
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