The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island (Bryson) Paperback – 7 Apr 2016
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"Warm, funny, thoughtful, sometimes grumpy. An absolute joy.
+ in Country Life:
I snorted with laughter…The Road to Little Dribbling is consistently and unendingly fabulous…I intend on buying a copy for everyone I know." (Clare Balding)
"Fans should expect to chuckle, snort, snigger, grunt, laugh out loud and shake with recognition…a clotted cream and homemade jam scone of a treat." (Sunday Times)
"Is it the funniest travel book I’ve read all year? Of course it is." (Daily Telegraph)
"There were moments when I snorted out loud with laughter while reading this book in public…He can be as gloriously silly as ever." (The Times)
"Bryson has no equal. He combines the charm and humour of Michael Palin with the cantankerousness of Victor Meldrew and the result is a benign intolerance that makes for a gloriously funny read." (Daily Express)
The number one Sunday Times bestseller: Bill Bryson’s first travel book for fifteen years – a brand new journey around Britain.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
Bryson loves Britain. He’s confessed it enough times and this latest offering proves it in spades, despite his belief that the entire country appears to be crumbling around his ears. It’s that which makes so many of his observations so damned funny for he’s at his best when he’s having a rant and he does that frequently here, inevitably with hysterical results.
Having said that, I confess, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure this was as funny as his earlier works, until I came upon his first swipe at a moronic British institution, at which point I ended up laughing like a drain, unable to see the pages for tears. That continued throughout my reading. Another prime example being the segment in which he lists the closures of several local firms in East Anglia. Despite the circumstances involved, it does end on a very funny note, trust me.
It'll be interesting to read reviews on Amazon.com. Bryson’s humour is essentially British rather than American – well he is a citizen of the UK now, after all – so he does not feel the need to write ‘only joking’ after several howlingly funny paragraphs, which from my own experience (and his) I know some American readers will take literally, one of which concerns a lady he meets while she is walking her dog. Enough said. You’ll see what I mean.
If I’m being picky, he probably spends a little too much time down south and there are a couple of instances where he gets it wrong. German torpedo boats were called E-Boats (Enemy Boats), not U-Boats and he refers to Everton’s ‘blue uniform’.Read more ›
There's a bit of duplication of material from "Notes From A Small Island" and even a couple of his other books. He might have taken the trouble to re-read the former before writing this one (he says that, at 63, his memory isn't what it was; he's not kidding) - several observations are repeated, sometimes almost word for word, and there's a whole argument with a McDonald's employee repeated almost verbatim. (He makes reference to an editor, but what he does for his money isn't clear). His usual rich-man-bitches-about-paying-any-money-for-anything schtick isn't as funny as he (presumably) thinks, just annoying. In fact he seems to be moving into the stage of life where grumpiness becomes one's default setting; where everything old is good and everything new bad and all contemporary culture is dismissed as moronic. Old age: it's not, as Bryson suggests, about sprouting a forest of nasal hair or even losing your memory, it's about deciding that everything good or interesting in life is behind you, and closing your mind for good.
Still a good read, though, albeit not in the league of his best books. There's perhaps a little less flattery of Britain and the British than in the first book, and more serious points about what's wrong with it, which is no bad thing - when it comes to the need to preserve the Green Belt, the way that the relentless pursuit of profit above all else is wrecking our quality of life, the folly of the (thankfully now abandoned) plan to add another runway to Heathrow, and much, much more, he's right about everything. I think we need Bryson more than ever; sometimes it takes a foreigner to see it. To paraphrase his description of Yorkshire folk (which he was so pleased with he put it in both books): if you want to know your shortcomings, you won't find a more helpful man anywhere. I just hope he cheers up a bit for his next book.
In "...Little Dribbling" we see him return to his travel writing, taking another tour around the UK, twenty years after his last. Sadly, in those intervening years, Bryson has aged into a Grumpy Old Man. I put it in capitals because it is a particular type of Grumpy Old Man. It is a type particularly favoured by those BBC shows where you get a bunch of celebrities to sit in their front room and talk to camera about how terrible the modern age is and how much more stupid everyone is than them and how much better things were when they were younger. This is precisely what Bryson does for big chunks of this book and, to be honest, it is a bit insufferable. Sometimes these sections are done in a self-deprecating way, where Bryson is an ageing guy a bit lost at sea in the modern world and these are easier to cope with. Unfortunately, a lot of the time he just comes across as whiny and it is not that enjoyable to read. There is an awful lot of nostalgia for some sort of non-existent golden age but, as is often the case, it is really just the author bemoaning the fact that he isn't as young as he once was.
The sections of the book that work best are the autobiographical parts (reminiscent of the Thunderbolt Kid) or the historical asides (reminiscent of Short History or At Home). These sections do go a long way to making this an enjoyable read, hence the three star review.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd been given a copy of The Thunderbolt Kid and had ignored it ,I had been meaning to give it to a charity shop ,but stuck my nose in it one day and was impressed ,so much so I... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Mr. Glen D. Fryer
A good yarn, easy to pick up and put down. Quite a few interesting (if obscure) facts about the UK. A real shame that the "F" word had to be used, unnecessary as it didn't... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Made me laugh and was informative and interesting.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
I gave this as a gift - I am sure the person I gave it to would appreciate the gift,Published 7 days ago by dorothy Illing
Great account of his simultaneous love of Britain and dismay of its modern failings. Here are four more words. Another.Published 7 days ago by MB123