Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. This time in Australia. His previous excursion along the Appalachian Trail resulted in the sublime national bestseller A Walk in the Woods . In A Sunburned Country is his report on what he found in an entirely different place: Australia, the country that doubles as a continent, and a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet. The result is a deliciously funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance by a writer who combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiousity. Despite the fact that Australia harbors more things that can kill you in extremely nasty ways than anywhere else, including sharks, crocodiles, snakes, even riptides and deserts, Bill Bryson adores the place, and he takes his readers on a rollicking ride far beyond that beaten tourist path. Wherever he goes he finds Australians who are cheerful, extroverted, and unfailingly obliging, and these beaming products of land with clean, safe cities, cold beer, and constant sunshine fill the pages of this wonderful book. Australia is an immense and fortunate land, and it has found in Bill Bryson its perfect guide.
From the author of A Short History of Nearly Everything and The Body comes a travel diary documenting a visit to Kenya. All royalties and profits go to CARE International. In the early fall of 2002, famed travel writer Bill Bryson journeyed to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty around the world. He arrived with a set of mental images of Africa gleaned from television broadcasts of low-budget Jungle Jim movies in his Iowa childhood and a single viewing of the film version of Out of Africa . (Also with some worries about tropical diseases, insects, and large predators.) But the vibrant reality of Kenya and its people took over the second he deplaned in Nairobi, and this diary records Bill Brysons impressions of his trip with his inimitable trademark style of wry observation and curious insight. From the wrenching poverty of the Kibera slum in Nairobi to the meticulously manicured grounds of the Karen Blixen house and the human fossil riches of the National Museum, Bryson registers the striking contrasts of a postcolonial society in transition. He visits the astoundingly vast Great Rift Valley; undergoes the rigors of a teeth-rattling train journey to Mombasa and a hair-whitening flight through a vicious storm; and visits the refugee camps and the agricultural and economic projects where dedicated CARE professionals wage noble and dogged war against poverty, dislocation, and corruption. Though brief in compass and duration, Bill Brysons African Diary is rich in irreverent, poignant, and morally instructive observation. Like all of this authors work, it can make the reader laugh, think, and especially, feel all at the same time.
A classic from the New York Times bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods and The Body. After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly 3 million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliens -- as he later put it, "it was clear my people needed me"). They were greeted by a new and improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item. Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I'm a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth. The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man's attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended if at times bemused love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.