In a Sunburned Country Author:Bill Bryson Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion up, down, and over the Appalachian Trail (well, most of it) resulted in the sublime national bestseller A Walk in the Woods. Now he has traveled across the world and all the way Down Under to Australia, a shockingly under-d... more »iscovered country with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet. In a Sunburned Country is his report on what he found there--a deliciously funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance by a writer who combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiosity.
Australia is a country that exists on a vast scale. It is the only island that is also a continent and the only continent that is also a country. Despite being the most desiccated, infertile, and climatically aggressive of all inhabited continents, it teems with life. In fact, Australia has more things that can kill you in extremely nasty ways than anywhere else: sharks, crocodiles, the ten most deadly poisonous snakes on the planet, fluffy yet toxic caterpillars, seashells that actually attack you, and the unbelievable box jellyfish (don't ask). The dangerous riptides of the sea and the sun-baked wastes of the outback both lie in wait for the unwary. It's one tough country.
Bill Bryson adores it, of course, and he takes his readers on a rollicking ride far beyond the beaten tourist path. Here is a place where interesting things happen all the time, from a Prime Minister lost--yes, lost--while swimming at sea to Japanese cult members who may have set off an atomic bomb (sic) entirely unnoticed on their 500,000-acre property in the great western desert.
Wherever he goes (and Bryson goes just about everywhere) he finds Australians who are cheerful, extroverted, and unfailingly obliging--the beaming products of a land with clean, safe cities, cold beer, and constant sunshine. On occasion the Aborigines, a remote and mysterious race with a tragic history, make a haunting appearance in this book. But by and large Australia is an immense and fortunate land, and it has found in Bill Bryson its perfect guide. Published just in time for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, In a Sunburned Country offers the best of all possible introductions to what may well be the best of all possible nations. Even with those jellyfish.« less
I stumbled onto Bill Bryson a couple of years ago and really enjoyed A Walk in the Woods, so I decided to get a copy of this book. As good as A Walk was, this was even better! There were passages that had me laughing so hard I was afraid of waking up my sleeping husband. Passges that I found so funny that I read them to my loved ones - sometimes more than once (oops!) What I like about Bryson is his passion, his quirky sense of humor, and his ability to throw in tons of useful knowledge and not make you feel overwhelmed by it. He makes some profound points about important issues without getting preachy but rather so simply you wonder how there's ever been any debate on that particular matter. He notices things that I would likely overlook - and then shows me how much I would have missed by doing so. I love that he is a lover of people and a deliberate loner BOTH at the same time. This book made me take a long hard look at whether or not my ambition to go to Australia is such a good idea - and at the same time made me wish I was already there. I HIGHLY reccomend this book!
Australia really is a very, very different country. Another great mix of history, information, wit and humor. GReat descriptions of the people and culture of Oz. And after all, the worst sunburn of my life was in Australia so I think it is a very fitting title.
Read this over several lunches and laughed so hard I snorted salsa (twice) and diet coke (once). He's informative, descriptive and can turn a phrase sharper than he can turn a corner! You're reading along and suddenly something hilarious just sneaks up on you and BAM!
The beginning was a little slow for me, but I really got into the book a few chapters in. Bryson is very descriptive and you can almost picture yourself enduring some of his hilarious encounters with the Aussie animals or traveling through the outback! I've always wanted to visit Australia, and after reading this book - and learning quite a few new facts - I want to visit even more! Highly recommended!
The only thing that drove me nuts, is the print seemed to be a little smaller than most books (or maybe it was just my eyes...) But it was kind of difficult to read, sometimes I felt like it needed to be magnified. If you have trouble reading small print, I'd suggest getting the audio book or finding out if there is a large print version.
Bryson relates stories from 3 different trips to Australia. Sort of grows on you, Bryson is pretty good at appearing non-heroic in his vacations. In fact, I think I had just as much adventure as he did in Australia; I, too, like visiting roadside attractions shaped like giant fruit; I had the added bonus of not having experience driving on the proper side of the road.
HILARIOUS! Bill Bryson is, truely, the best best author of humor writing on the market!! Having been to Australia twice myself, I found many of the tales outrageously funny from exerience! Be assured that if Bill Bryson wrote it, you will laugh your funny bone off!
I had read Bill Bryson's book "Down Under" and enjoyed it so very much with all his witticisms, history, travel info, blunders and adventures that I thought I'd read this other book about Australia. Imagine my surprise when "In a Sunburned Country" turned out to be an alternate name for "Down Under"!! Read it again just for a second round of enjoyment.
Absolutely hilarious and fascinating! This book made me want to move to quirky ol' Australia, except that I recently read in National Geographic that the Australians are working just as hard as the rest of the world to destroy their rather large expanse of the planet. I'd at least like to visit, though.