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Notes from a Small Island
Notes from a Small Island
Author: Bill Bryson
"Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it."
After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson-bestsellingauthor of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to returnto the United States. ("I had recently read," Bryson writes, "that 3.7 m...  more »
Info icon
ISBN-13: 9780380727506
ISBN-10: 0380727501
Publication Date: 5/1/1997
Pages: 282
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 244

3.8 stars, based on 244 ratings
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 318 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Love Bill Bryson. Even though I often have no intention of traveling to the places he's writing about, his "take" is still very interesting and amusing.
nascargal avatar reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 352 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I didn't enjoy this book as well as the other Bill Bryson books I have read. I've never been to England, so I think I missed much of the humor.
oolalatte avatar reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Hmmmmm....I usually like Bill Bryson's books but for whatever reason, Notes from a Small Island just wasn't a great read. He's usually witty and I love his sarcasm but I felt like this was the never ending book. It just seemed like the same observations and comments chapter after chapter. But maybe that's the point he's trying to make (which I think he does state at the end)...that's it all the same in England...small town is small town. He would have done better had he taken some time to get to know the locals instead of just walking around by himself all over England. Maybe then we could have seen the little something that makes each town or city different from the next one. Not my fave but will definitely continue to read his books...am especially curious about the ones in the states since he's from the US.
reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 61 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
It is obvious that Bryson absolutely loves Britain. And as always, he's good for a laugh!
lillinda avatar reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 175 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I read this and felt like I had been there!
Read All 41 Book Reviews of "Notes from a Small Island"

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reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 5 more book reviews
I always enjoy Bill Bryson's books--whatever the subject. This was no different in terms of being entertained and enlightened.
reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 13 more book reviews
This book was about 1/3 longer than it should have been. I really enjoyed the beginning, but the ideas and observations kept repeating themselves over and over- I felt like I'd read the book twice by the time I'd finished. I generally enjoyed it, just not as much as I thought I would after the first few chapters.
reviewed Notes from a Small Island on
Nice quick read.
kcrouth avatar reviewed Notes from a Small Island on
England is on my list of places I'd like to visit, and I enjoy Bill Bryson's writing, so what better way to get introduced to England than by a American writer i enjoy who has lived in England for over 20 years? I love Bryson's irreverent smart-ass humor. He is not politically correct nor proper, but I think he is funny. When Bryson tells a tale, he throws in enough creative embellishment to make his point without making it unbelievable. He is fun to read. I enjoyed getting a feeling for many of the little details and quirks of the places and people of England. Mr Bryson traveled over the entire island for this travelogue, and gives a good sampling of the island.

I'm glad that I read this book, but i'm not sure that I could recommend it to others. I came away from the reading with the feeling that Mr. Bryson spent about half of the book, spread out through the entire volume, talking about how England is not what it once was, especially architecturally. He spent a significant number of pages lamenting the recent poor architecture, and the lack of preservation of the very old traditional buildings and infrastructure. I am not sure why he dedicated such a large part of his book to this criticism, except that perhaps in his twenty-plus years in England, he had witnessed some of the economic and sociological policy that caused this change. Sadly this distracted from the richness of the journey. I did enjoy the perspective and knowledge gained on a large array of things English. I especially enjoyed the insights into the people, food, and history. But even with all his misgivings and laments, a few closing quotes sum it up for the author.

"It looked so peaceful and wonderful that I could almost have cried, and yet it was only a time part of this small, enchanted island. Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that i loved about Britain - which is to say, all of it."

"All of this came to me in the space of a lingering moment. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I live it here. I like it more than I can tell you. And then I turned from the gate and got into the car and know without doubt that I would be back."

Mr. Bryson was indeed true to those words. He moved back to England in 2003 to live, and serve as chancellor of Durham University from 2005 through 2011. A fun read, if you can overlook the recurring criticisms.
reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 4 more book reviews
Bill Bryson is up to his usual travelling with much witty and insightful enthusiasm. Quite a bit of railing about British city architectural woes, but a great, satisfying read, expecially if you're an Anglophile.
reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 35 more book reviews
a view of England from a newspaper man who lived there for many years. some very funny stuff in this book.
reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 120 more book reviews
a good read in Bryson style
reviewed Notes from a Small Island on + 24 more book reviews
"... before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. ........With characteristic wit and irreverence, Bill Bryson presents the ludicrous and the endearing in equal measure. The result is a hilarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain."


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