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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It�s just a bunch of news articles stuck together, and yet�
Much as I find myself trying to convince myself otherwise, I'm rather a fan of Bill Bryson books, his style of writing, his choice of places to visit. Notes from a Big Country is a little different to his other books as it's not really a book with a story at all - it's a collection of articles Bryson has written for a national newspaper.
Bill Bryson was born in Iowa,...
Published on 7 Oct 2003 by Darren Simons

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty but true, an insght into life in small town America
This may not be one of the best Bill Bryson books about , but if you enjoyed any of the others and lets face it, most if us have, then you'll find this an interesting addition the Bryson family.
The book is a compliation of news paper articles, written for the Mail on Sunday, which may not be the best format for a book, but lends itself to a good travel...
Published on 4 Mar 2002


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It�s just a bunch of news articles stuck together, and yet�, 7 Oct 2003
By 
Darren Simons (Middlesex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Much as I find myself trying to convince myself otherwise, I'm rather a fan of Bill Bryson books, his style of writing, his choice of places to visit. Notes from a Big Country is a little different to his other books as it's not really a book with a story at all - it's a collection of articles Bryson has written for a national newspaper.
Bill Bryson was born in Iowa, USA, moved to England in the late 70s and then returned "home" with his new family in tow. On his return, he wrote a weekly column for the Mail on Sunday's Night and Day magazine, about, well, pretty much whatever he wanted, and has now put them into a book.
Generally Bryson writes about things he missed from Britain, or things he cannot understand how he managed without - a same selection of topics include TV advert breaks, visiting a movie theater (cinema to you and me), weather and friendliness. Everything is written in the quite unique style of Bill Bryson which means that at times you feel rather sorry for him, and at times even more sorry for his wife!
I chose to read the book continuously which in hindsight I regret - far better to read a bunch of his articles, leave the book for a few weeks, read a few more and so on.
Definitely a recommended read - Bryson at his irrelevant best!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brevity at its Best, 13 Feb 2007
By 
Gavin Jackson (Addlestone, UK) - See all my reviews
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Bryson brilliantly combines comic asides with the most serious of subjects. If you like Bryson's dry wit, you'll love this book. At first I didn't like the format (exactly four pages per chapter) but after a while I liked the thought that if I had ten minutes to spare, I could read a chapter. And new chapter, new topic. Brevity at its best.

My only regret is that I missed the columns when they appeared in The Mail on Sunday's Night and Day Magazine. Hope the editor intends to commission more soon.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go and buy it !, 9 Sep 2004
By A Customer
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Like the rest of the correspondants have said, this is a fantastic book that will have you laughing out loud. Without a doubt this is my favourite Bill Bryson book so far and is great to dip in and out of as each chapter is only 3/4 pages long and easily read in 5 mins. I can't pickup this book without knocking out 4 chapters and have re-read it on numerous occasions. I still, in moments of quiet reflection, wonder whether they ever found that small plane in the woods ?? Everybody I've leant this book to, has loved it and bought copies themselves or have gone on to buy his other books... I wish I was on commission ! Just buy it, you'll love it !
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best preparation for moving to America I could have had!, 22 Feb 2003
By 
C. M. Perkins (Stirling, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
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I read this book before moving to California in 1999. It was a fantastic way to prepare for the culture shock that ensued. I had a great time in the States, largely because I could recognise the absurdity that Bryson talks about.
His unique perspective (American living in Britain, moving back to the US) puts a delightful spin on all the things we Brits make fun of the Americans for. His wonderfully witty writing style is laugh out loud funny - especially beacuse it's all true.
So much American culture is already part of life here in the UK, I would say anyone will identify with this send up of all things from across the pond.
Great travel writing, very humorous and hugely entertaining!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughed out loud on a plane!, 31 Aug 2005
I read this book on holiday and finished it on the way home on the airplane. I wonder what the guy in the seat next to me must have thought because I just couldn't help myself laughing out loud every few minutes. Once I even had tears running down my cheek, I was laughing so hard. This is definitely one of the funniest books I have ever read. It captures the US mentality and way of life so well and with such enormous humour. If you haven't read it, you've deprived yourself of a treat! Well done, Mr Bryson!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Witty but true, an insght into life in small town America, 4 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This may not be one of the best Bill Bryson books about , but if you enjoyed any of the others and lets face it, most if us have, then you'll find this an interesting addition the Bryson family.
The book is a compliation of news paper articles, written for the Mail on Sunday, which may not be the best format for a book, but lends itself to a good travel companion,which you can dip in and out off, without loosing the plot and and without loosing any of the humourous threads.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb; Absolutely fantastic, 10 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Notes From A Big Country (Audio Cassette)
This is bryson at his very best... Witty and serious. Superbly written about the contrasts between the UK and US. Best read after 'Notes from a small island. Have lent it to everyone i know. Just Brilliant. Forget all the other travel books... This is the one for you, providing you have a sense of humour
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Bill Bryson: read it, enjoy it!, 22 July 2000
By A Customer
Bill Bryson is not only a witty travel writer, a deep connoisseur of the peculiarities of American English and one of the greatest homour writers of our age; he is also an acute and dispassionate observer of the defects and the petty follies of our fellow humans. In "Notes from a Big Country" he shows once more this ability of his in its full glory: after living in Britain for almost 20 years, he decided to go back to his native country with his whole family. So, whereas his wife and children are fascinated and charmed by their new life in the USA, he sets to criticize his fellow Americans with unquenchable humour and deep understanding of their inner worlds.
Some of the columns collected in this book will be regarded as outstanding specimens of Bryson's best prose: the columns on Xmas decorations, on plane travels, on computerand on the maddening tax system in the USA are small masterpieces that one can't read without feeling the urge to laugh out loudly, regardless of where one is.
My favoutite column is the one concerning seaside vacations; it chanced that I read it on a crowded noisy beach of the Adriatic Sea, amid busloads of German tourists and Italian holidaymakers. Needless to say, in Bill Bryson's witty pages I found something familiar...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very funny, very clever, very snappy read., 8 Aug 2007
Bill Bryson has a somewhat unique point of view for writing a book on American life, born in America but living a long time in England before returning to America with his English wife and children. The result was a regular series of newspaper articles (unsure what newspaper) which are collected together here.
The articles are observant, witty, and wonderfully funny. Bryson is so normal and easy to relate to that the articles are infectiously funny, his strange obsessions and neuroses are not only hilarious but also quite sweet and infinitely endearing. His unique take on American life is what really drives the book since there's no continuous narrative of any kind due to the episodic structure.
I can't really describe the book in any particular detail except to say that this is something very funny that more than once an article is guaranteed to cripple you with laughter. You should really give this a try, you won't regret it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight to american life, 26 Mar 2002
This has got to be Bill Bryson's finest yet. This book differs from his others, a this one is just little, bite-size chapters. It is easily digestable, and is a wonderful insight into some ways of American life, and is filled with witty humour.
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