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Neither Here, Nor There: Travels in Europe (Bryson) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 260 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Corgi Audio; Abridged edition edition (17 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552152145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552152143
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.5 x 14.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"'Hugely funny (not snigger-snigger funny, but great-big-belly-laugh-till-you-cry funny)'" (Daily Telegraph)

"'This is the travel book that every Inter-Rail vagrant would love to write'" (New Statesman)

"'It's very, very funny'" (The Sunday Times)

Book Description

Bill Bryson's second, achingly funny book, retracing his own steps as a student backpacking through Europe, twenty years later.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'd heard all the hype about Bill Bryson being the best travel writer of the current generation so I figured I should read some of his stuff to make my own opinion. The first Bryson book I bought was this one and in all probability (at time of writing) I think it's my favourite. Bryson is an American who settled in Britain in the late 70s (and has since returned to the US).
The basic style of a Bryson book is simple - get a train to a place, wander around aimlessly, check into an average hotel, wander round a bit more, sit in a pub on your own and go to bed. And yes, many people will say that's all there is to a Bryson book. I'd have to disagree with that though - what makes this book is the humour.. a strange combination of British sarcasm and American expectation make Bryson's commentary on the places he visits and the people he sees really rather good.
In this book Bryson decides it's high time he ventured beyond Britain and visited as much of Europe as he can. To this end, he starts in Norway although he manages to visit when it's permanently dark, returns to England before venturing away on a longer trip, taking in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Rome, Florence (probably the funniest part of the book for me), before travelling further south-east towards Sofia and Istanbul.
If you're only going to read one Bill Bryson travel book, I'd probably recommend this one. Yes, there may be better travel writers, there may be funnier writers, but in terms of humorous travel writers I think Bryson is probably the best (although Peter Moore may come close).
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Format: Audio CD
Bryson isn't your typical travel author. He makes an effort to describe the places he visits, but does so in broad strokes. It's like an impressionist painting more than any attempt at detailed realism. He spends 1/3 of his time on the history of the places he visits and it's contemporary reality, 1/3 of his time on what sees and experiences, and 1/3 of his time on how he interprets what he sees as a confused foreigner.
For example, Bryson often goes on at length about the architecture of a building he loves or hates. He'll then describe when such building was erected and how it has been treated over the years since. Then ruminate briefly on how he can't understand the host nation's predeliction for building carparks so as to most efficently despoil an area's natural beauty. He'll finish up by wondering how such perverse actions are the nature of humanity.
Bryson writes with incredible ease, an incredible self-deprecating humor, a lust for travel and new adventures, and an overall wonder of the world around him. You get the impression he's just happy to be alive and could write with joy regarding his most recent attempt to buy chewing gum.
Some people Bill Bryson obnoxious and offensive. But if you like sarcastic and droll humor you'll love Neither Here Nor There.
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Format: Paperback
Needing to clear some space on my bookshelves I have decided to reacquaint myself with Bill Bryson's travel books before Bookcrossing them.
This one was written in 1990, first published in 1992 and the edition on my bookshelf in 1998. I enjoyed reading this travelogue of his tour of some of the major cities of Europe, many of those mentioned which I have visited myself during the last forty years. Of those that I have not I think that Sofia in particular may well have changed beyond recognition, Eastern Europe having undergone the most changes in the last eighteen years.
Whilst one might not always agree with Bryson's viewpoint it is none the less an amusing read, though one must also accept that in some aspects it can seem very dated.
Certainly worth reading if you are at all interested in any of the places in Europe he writes about but remember it was written nearly twenty years ago now.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This one's frankly a little disappointing. As was the one set in Australia. Bryson's one of my very favourite authors, yet this one for me was an off-the-boil effort compared to what he's written in the past. At his best he's a double-you-up, snort-coffee-down-your-nose level of funny, but after a week or so of having read this one I don't remember one such occasion whilst reading it.

It's well enough written of course, but whether Bill's lost some of his earlier fire or perhaps just didn't enjoy himself as much this time around - after all, he's a much older man than he was before he transplanted his family to New England - for me, the result's the same. To my mind, his works since his return to the UK are less amusing than the earlier Brysons, and not by a narrow margin either. Although the fun aspect of his stuff might be inhabiting a lower plane these days, the quality of his prose is always high, his perceptions, though tending towards the acid end of the spectrum, are usually pretty incisive and to the point.

Bryson at half-throttle is still better than most others working hard - so don't let my mediocre rating stop you from reading this one; chances are you'll love it. But if you're a new Brysonite, take it from me that his earlier stuff is superior to this one.

He's reprised his 100% excellent "Notes from a Small Island" twenty-year old masterpiece a couple of weeks ago, visiting different places this time - only just started that one so hopefully it'll show a return to former levels of real Laugh Out Loud - and few are the writers who can do that with me, crusty old sourpuss that I suspect I probably am... :)
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