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In a Sunburned Country [Paperback]

Bill Bryson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)

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Book by Bryson, Bill

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Most helpful customer reviews
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Bryson's A Great Guide June 16 2003
Bryson delivers the world's biggest, best kept secret in IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY. Australia is a truly miraculous place. This is a country where a prime minister impetuously dives into the water while strolling on the beach with colleagues, never to be seen again, where the world's most lethal and otherwise poisonous species are concentrated in mind boggling numbers above and beyond the rest of the planet, where the ecosystem is the most diverse of any, where the ores and minerals have yet to be tapped for anything near their full potential, where the features of the landscape vary dramatically, with no look-alikes anywhere else. The world's largest living organism is there-the Great Barrier Reef; also, the world's oldest living organisms, stromatolites. It is the last continent to be colonized by Europeans, and then it was used as a penal colony at first, and as a nation it is barely a century old. It was been the scene of wretched racism and maltreatment of natives; more recently, it has chosen to throw the doors open to all nationalities. And does any of this make it to American news media? Noooo. There's lots to learn from this country and Bryson is an informative guide. In the manner honed in his earlier travel books, he imparts an amazing amount of information thoughtfully, in graceful, witty prose that evokes all the eccentricities and ironies of this mysterious, ancient place. Bryson is happy to tell the jokes, but in the end, he is much happier imparting the wonder.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh Out Loud May 10 2002
This was my first Bill Bryson book and as a result of reading it, I have now read all of his books. It is informative and full of neat facts without being scientific or dull. And, as always with Bill Bryson, truly funny. I am always amazed at how a middle-aged guy travelling alone can make his days sound so interesting.
I read this book before my husband had the chance and was constantly interupting him to read him passages, even though they were sometimes incomprehensible because I was laughing so hard!! The interesting thing is that once he started reading the book, he read the same passages aloud to me, even though he knew full well that I knew exactly what he was going to say. The best part was they were just as enjoyable the second time.
I love how Bryson seems to portray himself and his experiences honestly. Sometimes I am reading along thinking what a jerk he is for describing people or places with so little tact, but then I realize that he is only daring to write the things so many of us often think. I respect, too, that he applies those same critical eyes to himself and his own behavior.
There is one thing that ticked me off - this book is also published under the title "Down Under". So, I, of course, grabbed it off the shelf in the airport, thinking I was getting volume two of Bryson's escapes in Australia. It is a great book, but I don't need two copies!! Don't make the same mistake as me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Bryson Jan. 11 2002
Bill Bryson is not so much a travel writer as a teller of shaggy dog stories. He has travelled to Australia a number of times and this is the recounting of adventures that he had on one longer trip where he rented a car and drove huge distances around the country.
Each place he visits gives rise to a story. Thus he visits a small pub in the Norther Territory which used to be a stop of air strip in times when planes had shorter ranges than they do now. He gives a description of the "town" and some background and then recounts the exploits that he had staying there. The device he uses is to describe waking up and having a coffee with his travel companion. Both are hung over from a solid night on the booze and they work out what has happened by looking at the items they have in their pockets. As they do so the memories of a rightous and funny night come back.
One of the other great stories in the book are the description of listening to five days cricket commentary when Bryson is completely unaware of the rules of the game. His attempts to work out what is happening from the jargonised language of the broadcast is a classic.
The only slightly strange thing in this book is Bryson's gentleness in talking about Australia. He can be a little more biting but in this book he is rather complementary.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
How can I review when it has never been able to be downloaded. Failure of Kindle.
Published 24 days ago by Ron Bourgeois
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read.
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... Read more
Published 13 months ago by JC
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best travel books I've ever read
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... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Dr. Duncan M. Taylor
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 An amusing light-hearted read.
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... Read more
Published on June 4 2011 by Michael
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
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm biased in favour of Bryson, I admit ... this is still a good buy
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... Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2010 by C. J. Thompson
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Even after a dozen or so reads I still laugh every time
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. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2008 by Ayla Slessor
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
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