Friday, July 07, 2006

Down Under: The Book

Looking for something more to read on the long flight home from Sydney, I picked up Bill Bryson's Down Under (2001, apparently published in the US under the title In A Sunburned Country). Good choice. The only Bill Bryson book I had read before this was A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is a good overview of the history of science and technology. While that book had some humorous moments, I wasn't prepared for the laugh-out-loud flavor of Bryson's travel writing.

Bryson has seen a lot more of Australia than I could in just two short weeks, and he artfully mixes history, descriptions of nature and geology, a bit of politics, and encounters with everyday Australians in every corner of this huge, sparsely populated, and amazingly good natured and scenic country. While I would love to go back to Australia and see more of it, Bryson's book is a good way to extend the vacation right now. I'll have to check out some of his other travel writing too.


Anthony Kendall said...

"A Sunburned Country" was such a great travel essays book because it didn't just talk about interesting experiences, it gave the reader a sense of the places Bryson visited. His use of humor is disarmingly informative, too.

Pick up "A Walk in the Woods" for something a little less informative but absolutely hilarious.

Anonymous said...

some print missing on a few pages in the book