Bryson, Bill: Notes from a Small Island

Bought a copy of Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island as a birthday present for a friend now studying in London (who I doubt reads this, but if I’m wrong, ummm, hi, Laura). Though I have scruples about reading books that are gifts to other people, these don’t extend to books I’ve read before; thus, I flipped through it at lunch yesterday looking for the good bits (besides, this way it will be fresh in my mind so I can have a conversation with Laura about it).

I like the extremes about this book best: the details like This is Cinerama, the fifth Duke of Portland, and the dead-on description of what it’s like to visit Stonehenge (though Bryson apparently missed out on juggling, in the bitter cold, an umbrella, a camera, and an oversized cell phone-thing that squawks a tinny audio tour), and the overall sense of “yeah, that is what it’s like to live there.” A lot of the places mentioned I never went to in the three months I was there and don’t particularly want to go to, but I did enjoy living there and would like to visit again someday. For now, though, this will do as a nostalgia fix.

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