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Notes from a Small Island Paperback – Mar 12 1998

4.1 out of 5 stars 219 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (March 12 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771017049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771017049
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.9 x 20 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 219 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #81,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“Bill Bryson is a funny writer…doubled over belly shakes and seltzer through the nose funny.”
Globe and Mail

“The year’s best travel book…funny and witty and truthful.”
Toronto Sun

“The funniest book I read this year – winded by its humor, tears on the cheeks.”
Ottawa Citizen

“Bryson is first and foremost a storyteller – and a supremely comic and original one at that.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“A kind of Dave Barry-meets-Paul Theroux in a British commuter train.”
Sunday Express

From the Back Cover

“Bill Bryson is a funny writer…doubled over belly shakes and seltzer through the nose funny.”
Globe and Mail

“The year’s best travel book…funny and witty and truthful.”
Toronto Sun

“The funniest book I read this year – winded by its humor, tears on the cheeks.”
Ottawa Citizen

“Bryson is first and foremost a storyteller – and a supremely comic and original one at that.”
Winnipeg Free Press

See all Product Description

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E.G on Dec 14 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Funny for the first bit... but then a bit boring. I got into this after having read some of this other novels, and this one is ok, but not as funny as some of his other work. Great novel if you live in England, or can relate to the humour... but if you've never visited the places he is talking about, then it's hard to be 100% engaged with the content...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even more enjoyable the second time around! I first read Bill Bryson's 'Notes From a Small Island" nearly twenty years ago and after many subsequent visits to the 'Small Island,' I enjoyed it even more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been to most of Britain many times and could relate immediately to Bryson's very colourful descriptions and stories. Hugely entertaining even if you've never been there but even so much better if you have.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the tone as much as anything. It is wry and dry and sly - suited to the British subject matter! The narrator is keen to make himself the butt of jokes - also appreciated by this reader. Then there is the lucid and light hearted storytelling, and the pithy essays on all manner of things. Whether I know more about the British as a result, I'm not sure. This is an impression of Britain more than a sober inventory, or something stiff and anthropological. Having read this I had a go at the contemporary retracing of Bryson's journey undertaken by a young English author - Aitken. It was called Dear Bill Bryson and was erudite and irreverent and certainly engaging. Aitken's book lead me to one by JB Priestley - English. I can certainly champion that as well. Let's hope one of this lot drops in on Canada. Any suggestions for women travel writers?

Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island

English Journey
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm from Scotland and just cracked up when he discribed the Glasgow taxi driver's comments. Absolutly
Hilarious. .......had to leave the book for a bit.... Laughing non stop at the verbal dribble!!!!!!!!!!!
Great book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I will say that Bryson's writing improved over the years, it's hard not to enjoy reading his perspective on the United States. He is in a unique position as someone who has spent nearly two decades in each of the U.S. and the U.K. These experience are on display in this series of articles as his wit and sarcasm nicely reflect both American and British styles of humour.
A must read for anyone who is a fan of Bill Bryson and worthwhile for those looking for an easy, fun read.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book I have been meaning to read for quite some time. It was recommended to me by one of my friends who I spent 4 months with in Oxford, England. I don't know what took me so long to finally get to it, but I am glad that I did.
As an American living in England, Bryson is familiar with their culture, their way of life, their idiosyncrasies. His descriptions of English manners and formalities are dead-on. He speaks often of the dry wit and humor that he admires so much in the English people; Bryson himself is a master of this, making me laugh out loud with his summaries and interactions.
This truly is an "affectionate" portrait of Britain, as the book is subtitled. Part travel-narrative, part memoir, "Notes From a Small Island" gives the good along with the bad. As Bryson ruminates between his recent travels along Britian to memories of past trips/his experiences living there, he offers what he loves and loathes about the nation he has come to call home and will miss when he returns to his native land. He speaks with admiration and enthusiasm on the vast number of treasures and historical sites the English have in such a small area, yet many of these have been neglected when they should be revered.
Bryson's final tour around Britian before heading back to America, takes him to some typical tourist destination cities, but he offers an insider's view of places the average tourist may never encounter. As someone who has lived in England, it is usually the places off the beaten track that are the best places to visit. I miss it almost as much as Bryson.
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Format: Paperback
Like many people, I read this book during an airplane flight, while returning from one of my semi-regular trips to the UK. This is one of those books that make you howl with laughter despite the odd looks from strangers alongside. It's a perfect book to read while travelling, or indeed just about anywhere. If you are at all familiar with England (and I mean on a first-hand basis, NOT by watching Hugh Grant movies), you are going to find this book screamingly funny. If not, it will probably make you want to visit the UK. Bill Bryson is no twee, chocolate-boxy travel writer - he relates all the disasters along with the fun, in a manner that reminds you that most so-called travel disasters are never as bad as they seem. Bryson is not entirely uncritical of his adopted nation (and that's the fun part), but he's never nasty - and it's plain that his enthusiasm for England and all things English comes from deep in his heart.
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