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Shakespeare: The World as a Stage Hardcover – Illustrated, Special Edition
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'A brilliantly funny and gently insightful travel guide to 16th century England. Bryson is great at picking out of the morass of Elizabethan fact the small details that illuminate and amuse…he also uncovers from the world that surrounded the theatre some fascinating examples of Elizabethan eccentricity…As an abbreviated tour around the world of Shakespeare, this could hardly be bettered.' Sunday Times
'Bill Bryson has always been able to spot a market; and there ought to be a market for his latest book…an accessible, sensible Life of Shakespeare…surely a fine gift for someone encountering Shakespeare for the first time…Bryson is shrewd…and as funny as you'd expect…he sets down all the important bits of evidence, and assesses them in a measured scholarly way. He's good value too.' Daily Telegraph
'Measured, sensible and, at times, as wryly humorous as you'd expect.' The Times
'Fast paced jaunt through Bardolatry…wittily evokes Elizabethan England.' Sunday Times
'A work worthy of one of the greatest writers in the English language.' Daily Express
'Bryson uses an inimitably light touch and squeezes a vast subject down to manageable proportions…he is a warm and funny guide through the whole complicated morass of Shakespearean scholarship.' Financial Times
About the Author
Bill Bryson's many books include, most recently ‘The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid’ as well as ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything‘, ‘I'm a Stranger Here Myself’, ‘A walk in the Woods’, ‘Neither Here Nor There’, ‘Made in America’, and ‘Notes from a Small Island’. He edited ‘The Best American Travel Writing 2000’. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, USA, he now lives in Norfolk with his wife and four children.
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His blend of cultural and historical information coupled with subtle humour and gentle ribbing is so infectious. He makes quite dry facts interesting. For example the history of Australia and random facts about the background of it's cities are so well delivered, and keep you wanting more.
His self deprecation is so endearing as he tells us about his lack of social success when eating alone in various hotels and restaurants and his interactions with the natives. I love his very honest descriptions of those he comes across minus the usual political correctness. With Mr Bryson we are told about the nation's quirks as well as hearing it praised.
For example he recounts a story sent to him by an Australian friend who has recently passed on about a family she knew of and the interpretation of such events by the families little girl. So funny.
Another example would be when he is describing the different unusual names of towns down under, even without comment he makes it funny in his relay of such information.
This book informs as much as it entertains and it will take you on an interesting and very funny journey through the country of Australia because Mr Bryson is a very fun and well informed travelling companion indeed.
I was left wondering whether the author actually likes Brits, but think he must do as he is still here.
His observations on modern architecture and the 1960 s and 1970s Brutalist design crimes are more than justified and I agree with them whole heartedly. It makes you think of what we lost when old beautiful places were removed. Who allowed this to happen?
Observations on the strange quirks of Brits are hilarious. Reminds one of how different their culture is from ours. Mr Bryson does not seem to think very highly of the British transport system ( and it has probably not improved greatly since then) but he cannot really compare the resources of our small island with the USA.
His enthusiasm for tourist attractions is infectious but I was irritated by his frequent mention of the admission charges and that he resented paying. If he admires the places so much, why resent it?
He is quite knowledgable about geography and how towns / settlements develop and seems to be able to analyse places quite intricately. Town planners should read this book.
In this gallop round Australia Bill takes us to some very well known places as well as some that are well off the beaten track, Having been to Australia and tried to find some of these places I know how tough that can be. "A few miles from the main highway" takes on a whole new meaning in Australia. He left me with an urge to go back and see some of the places that so few people have seen they can't actually find the places again. You are left in no doubt that this is a big, big, big country.
Bill has also given me an unshakeable fear of going into the sea and makes me extremely nervous about going anywhere on land as well, but that is also the nature of Australia. There are things that can kill you just by looking at you, or so it seems. However, he also transfer his deep affection for the country and its people. Again, having been there I can tell you that not all the people are nice, but Bill makes it seem so.
Well worth a read even if you aren't going to Australia any time soon.
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