Bill Bryson has the ability to make me laugh out loud. His observations are keen. The lure of Europe has remained for Bryson, but now he looks at Europe with the eyes of a middle-aged man and not a pot-smoking teenager. As always, very funny.
An account of the travel writer's voyage through many European countries in his attempt to recreate le grand tour of his youth. Bill Bryson is a witty, if sometimes whiny, writer. I really enjoyed this book.
One of Bryson's better books, and true to form it's both funny and insightful. When the time comes to plan my trip to Europe, I'll be taking hints from this book on which cities to absolutely see and which to skip altogether. Bryson looks for the best in the countries he visits - charm, beauty, and a dedication to the true nature of a place. He's quick to denounce "tourist traps" and is frank about places that cost a lot but offer little in return. Regardless of your itch to travel, it's a fun read and good armchair vacation!
Carol H. (cdholl) reviewed Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe on
Helpful Score: 1
This is the funniest book I have ever read. If you have traveled in Europe you will appreciate the humor in it much more. My husband and I briefly lived in Europe and every weekend when we went traveling we would pick the book up and read the section on that particular country we were visiting. It's even funnier to read it aloud!
Bill Bryson is outrageously funny. He begins his tale by retracing his footsteps on a previous journey during the early seventies. Starting in Scandanavia there is absolutley no rhyme or reason but to wander. If you love to travel or want to please pick up this book. You will gain another perspective or two from Bill.
Good book-- not my favorite of his. Some places I wanted to visit in Europe I probably won't because of his take on them but that's ok as there is alot of traveling I want to do so it is good to narrow the choices a bit. Worth a read but a bit superifical. I find his sexual innuendos a bit tiresome in places.
If you like Bryson, you'll like this. In middle age, he sets off alone to recreate a tour of Europe he took as a young man. Highly entertaining as his writing always is, this has the bonus of being a fairly good travel book on the cities of Europe. You'll find out which ones are still charming or beautiful, and which have been overrun with Burger King, which are costly or a bargain, which are rude or friendly, which are worth seeing and which are not. A bit outdated by now but probably still pretty accurate.
A quick, fun read overall.
I've read a number of Bryson's books and really enjoyed them, but this is my least favorite so far. He covers too much ground with not enough thoroughness, and by the end I felt like all I'd read about was a middle-aged white guy traveling alone through countries where he did more or less the same thing over and over. I didn't feel like I got much sense of what the places or people were like in the places he visited, nor did I get any real idea of which of those places might be enjoyable to visit. This book doesn't lean much on interesting facts and history about the places he travels -- his Australia book, "In A Sunburned Country," is much better in that respect -- and lingers instead over Bryson's bad experiences, giving more detail to the poorness of the service in restaurants and difficulty in finding hotel rooms than he does about what the places are actually *like*. Bryson manages to come off as a whining, annoying American/British tourist and often when he was playing a recollection for humor I just wanted to cringe.
I'd recommend instead his books "In A Sunburned Country" (Australia), "A Walk in the Woods" (the Appalachian Trail), and "I'm A Stranger Here Myself" (notes on returning to America after 20 years away). Part of what disappointed me about this book was that, having read those others, I knew he was capable of much better. I'd give this one a miss just to avoid being disappointed.
I just couldn't keep reading this book. I guess he's not really my style. Of course it probably doesn't help that I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love! I guess I was still looking for some spirituality and instead got a man who sounded like who would rather have been anywhere other than Here or There most of the time!
Neither Here nor There Travels in Europe is my least favorite Bill Bryson book which I have read to date. This is a recounting of his mid-life solo travels through Europe - city by city, train ride by train ride -somewhat attempting to follow the trail of his youthful adventure across the continent. And while it is filled with Mr. Bryson's typical whit and candid, whimsical reflections on observations of life around him, much of the book felt forced, as if he were trying to fill the pages and kept finding himself short; as if he were working hard to turn "ride train, check into hotel, visit museum, wander aimlessly, eat dinner, drink beer" into something entertaining for the reader. While there is a sprinkling of history lessons throughout, "Neither Here Nor There: Travel in Europe" contains less spontaneous presentation of useless facts than typical for his books; leaving me wondering what he was going to complain about next with regards to his travel accommodations or his meal - fun a few times, but it got old quickly.
But even a bad Bill Bryson book is better than many others! And 'Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe" accomplished what I intended it to do - give me some mental respite from my work with something a little less serious. Good read, not great, but I would still recommend, especialyl to a Bill Bryson fan.