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Neither Here nor There : Travels in Europe [Paperback]

Bill Bryson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)

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Like many of his generation, Bill Bryson backpacked across Europe in the early seventies -- in search of enlightenment, beer, and women. Twenty years later he decided to retrace the journey he undertook in the halcyon days of his youth. The result is Neither Here Nor There, an affectionate and riotously funny pilgrimage from the frozen wastes of Scandinavia to the chaotic tumult of Istanbul, with stops along the way in Europe's most diverting and historic locales. Like many of his generation, Bill Bryson backpacked across Europe in the early seventies--in search of enlightenment, beer, and women. Twenty years later he decided to retrace the journey he undertook in the halcyon days of his youth. The result is Neither Here Nor There, an affectionate and riotously funny pilgrimage from the frozen wastes of Scandinavia to the chaotic tumult of Istanbul, with stops along the way in Europe's most diverting and historic locales.

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IN WINTER, Hammerfest is a thirty-hour ride by bus from Oslo, though why anyone would want to go there in winter is a question worth considering. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!! Nov. 25 2013
By W.W.T.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this book made me laugh out loud…soooo funny!! I have become a devoted Bill Bryson fan thanks to this book. :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud hilarious Jan. 11 2013
By K. Gill
Format:Paperback
For an American, Bryson writes in a refreshingly candid British style, full of stereotypes and sarcastic observations. Totally loved it and gave me a good insight into some of trials and tribulations of travelling across Europe. Only wished he had gone into Spain and Portugal, but overall a really funny read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny! June 21 2004
By Justin
Format:Paperback
A Short History of Nearly Everything was my first venture into the world of Bill Bryson, but I don't think I truly enjoyed his writing until I read his travels in Europe.
If you've ever been to Europe, or long to, you will enjoy this book. You may not, however, enjoy this book if any of the following is true:
A) You can't read.
B) You do not want to go to Europe.
C) You eat "Freedom Fries".
D) You refuse to read anything writtin by someone named Bill.
And lastly:
E) You've got a fetish for J.W. Bell.
Seriously, though. Neither Here nor There is a classic travel epic. Bryson does an amazing job keeping the reader entertained throughout the book, and I couldn't help but make a fool of myself laughing out loud in the most inopportune times. Thanks, Bill. Keep on truckin'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Almost as much fun as traveling yourself Feb. 22 2003
Format:Paperback
Before embarking on a longish trip, Jill and I like to read about the places we are going to visit. Not just guidebooks--although I must admit we buy those by the pound--but travelogues, histories, and novels set in those areas. Sometimes this is easy. Italy and the Galapagos are well represented in literature. Other places are not so visited by those whose inclinations are to put pen to paper or hands to keyboard, including Ecuador and Costa Rica. At the present, I am unsure of where Austria and Switzerland will fall, but the thought has crossed my mind that a well-placed proposal might nab me a book contract.
As histories go, Austria is completely overshadowed by its larger German-speaking neighbor. This is unfortunate. While it is understandable that historians be interested in Germany, Austria has plenty to answer for in the last century as well. The same goes for the Swiss, who sorely need some bright lights shone in their shady vaults and executive suites, as the recent findings about Jewish bank accounts proves.
The problem in travelogues lies in the fact that no travel writer seems to go to either of these countries by themselves. Nestled in the heart of Europe, they are waystops between places--like from Germany to Italy or France to Russia--and while travelers may make it a point to stop in, say Salzburg or Zurich, for the night, the urge to stay never comes over them. According to Bill Bryson, the lack of this urge may not be wholly the blame of the visitor.
Austria and Switzerland each get a chapter (out of the total 22) in Bryson's Neither Here Nor There. Similar to his first travelogue, The Lost Continent, this one has Bryson still trying to recapture earlier days, but in Europe. Although American by birth, Bryson is thoroughly British in his writing and wit.
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Format:Paperback
I believe there are more than enough reviews here to decifer whether or not you plan to read this charming, witty and candid book. However, as an Australian raised in both Europe and America, I must heed a warning to those of you who read the negative reviews by Europeans and Asians. DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM!! They obviously lack a sense of humour and the ability to laugh at themselves (unlike Bryson). Bryson can be provincial at times, but he is so charming indeed! One who has traveled for days in a foreign land can understand his exhaustion and frustration and will howl with laughter.
Yes, Bryson at times can be brutally honest with his opinion of foreign countries and their inhabitants and culture, but they are HIS OPINIONS and they are frankly FUNNY and quite observant. I suppose those who take offense to his opinions neglected to understand that Bryson is a brazen self critic and will unabashedly admit to his lack of sophistication due to his stereotypical midwestern American upbringing. Please take no notice to the malevolence of the quazi-sensitive and humourless French and Germans who negatively reviewed this charming and engaging work.
Give the man a break and give this book a READ...Unless you possess absolutely no sense of humour, you will find it quite enjoyable!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his other books Oct. 4 2000
Format:Paperback
I was quite curious to see what Bryson would make of Milan, the city where I live. I'd already read quite a few of his other books so I was looking forward to an interesting, intelligent read. Instead, I was amazed: the man was unable to find a coffee shop in the centre of town.
This makes me have my doubts about Bryson as a travel writer. If he couldn't find a coffee shop in a town that has at least two on every block, who knows how many other things he is wrong about? Can I trust his observations on other countries?
On the positive side, the book is amusing, the anecdotes about his youth are funny and his observations are interesting even if after a while they become somewhat trite and predictable. They usually run along the lines of "Why would anyone in their right mind tear down this <insert word here> to put up a modern <insert word here>"). This is a book that's certainly worth reading, even if it's not worth taking seriously.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Neither Here Nor There
Not for the serious travel buff. I have been to almost all the same places and found it incredible that Bill Bryson made such little effort to interact with the locals. Read more
Published 12 months ago by travelguy
2.0 out of 5 stars Funny read, at times annoying
I would rate this book as the witty, clever ramblings that are to be expected from an American who has spent around half of his life living in England. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2012 by KafkaSmooth
3.0 out of 5 stars Neither very funny nor terribly annoying
This is the first book by Bill Bryson I've read. I was attracted to the fact that he wrote light and funny books. Read more
Published on April 4 2007 by richard tremblay
2.0 out of 5 stars A tailspin into mundanity
after reading "A Walk In the Woods", I was extremely excited to get my paws on another Bryson book. I was dissapointed. Read more
Published on July 14 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Bryson's best
Bryson's best book is "Notes From a Small Island," about traveling in Great Britain. It's one of the funniest books I've read. Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Thomas D. Kehoe
4.0 out of 5 stars Rucksack traveling through Europe.
"Traveling is more fun," Bill Bryson (aka "Bernt Bjornson") observes in this hilarious account of his backpack travels through Europe, "hell, life is more fun--if you can treat it... Read more
Published on May 29 2004 by G. Merritt
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre at best
Sure he's kind of funny, but this book was more frustrating than rewarding for me. Bryson here seems to be extraordinarily ethnocentric and much of the humor is from looking down... Read more
Published on May 17 2004 by R. Dean
4.0 out of 5 stars Bryson could make anything funny
I love Bill Bryson. I've read almost all his books, and each time I finish another one, I get a little sad thinking there are now fewer left for me to get to. He is that good. Read more
Published on March 19 2004 by Jerry Brito
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Memoir
I picked this book up on a whim. I found myself near the Travel section and it just called my attention. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by Daniel M. Perez
5.0 out of 5 stars Bryson's a Treasure, Wherever He Goes
It can't truly be said about many authors, but Bill Bryson is laugh-out-loud funny. Especially if you like your humor with a little edge to it. Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2004 by Brian D. Rubendall
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