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02 June 2010

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This sharpness is what I like most about Bryson, and why his gentler, non-travel (ok, and later) books are less appealing to me. That bit about the old people? I cackled at my desk just now. I did really love this book, but I'm also a fan of both road trips (as long as I'm driving) and the odder bits of American history.

I'll be curious to hear how you compare this to A Walk in the Woods, if you've read it or are planning on reading it.

Rachael,
Yes, I like his sharpness too. Sometimes I wonder about what he's like to know personally, if I would get a total charge out of him, or if he'd be a little harsh even for me. I have a feeling he's gentler off the page, but I could be wrong on that.

Have you read Robert Sullivan's book "Cross Country"? About both road trips and some American history, and Robert Sullivan is one of my favorite authors EVAH. Super talented guy. (He also wrote a micro-history titled "Rats" and a hilarious little book called "How Not to Get Rich.")

Glad you liked the old people bit, I did too. I've already read "A Walk in the Woods," a long time ago, and enjoyed it, although not enough (at that point) to read more Bryson. On his non-travel stuff, I'm just not interested: I also found his memoir about his 50s boyhood totally boring.

Sullivan? I'll have to read him--I think I bought Rats as a gift for someone. I'll have to borrow it, and grad the others, too.

That memoir thing was really not great. Not horrid, but not great. I honestly think he'd be fun in person--like a cross between your favorite professor and the guys from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (minus the costumes).

I am off and on about his work. It has always seemed to me that in his traveling books, he gets cranky and grouchy about 2/3 of the way in, and I've always wondered if he is tired and ready to go home!

I've enjoyed a lot Bryson's books, but I didn't care for "The Mother Tongue" at all. There were interesting parts but it felt like a book of lists, "These things are bizarre for this reason, those things are bizarre for that reason..."
And yet, again, I've enjoyed his travel books and his Short History of Nearly Everything.

I read "Streets of Laredo" recently. I don't think it was as good as "Lonesome Dove", but I did enjoy it.

Huh, I wasn't even aware of this one. How was the Williamsburg section? I grew up nearby and I am always interested in reading about the area from outsider's eyes.

I really liked “The Mother Tongue”. I like languages in general and am a bit pedantic (or so I am told). I was able to shoot down this Irish guy at a party years ago when he was going on and on about “Americanisms” and our misuse of English. Because I had just read the book, I was able to point out that many of the words he was claiming were “American” were actually “British” in origin. Ha, take that! He turned out to be a really nice guy and we became friends. But the real point is I was right, and he was wrong.

I also remember liking “The Lost Continent”. I laughed out loud while reading it and again just now when reading your post.

I have never read “Lonesome Dove”, but have also heard good things about it. I saw parts of the miniseries way back when. The only book by McMurtry that I have read is “The Evening Star”, the sequel to “Terms of Endearments”. I thought it was pretty terrible, actually.

Rachael,
I completely agree about Bryson's memoir (something about "Thunderbolt Kid"?). My only memory of it is that I found it really, really unfunny.

Nan,
Well, he does get pretty grouchy throughout most of the travel stuff, usually earlier than 2/3 of the way in. I wonder if he's as mercurial in real life--he often seems to go from having a terrible day to being amused by something very quickly. I would imagine there's also a time on his travels when he does want to go home; I suppose his travel, undertaken for work, is different than my travel, which is very rare, and NEVER really finds me ready to go home.

Surprises,
Yeah, I just don't think I'll be including "The Mother Tongue" or his book about Shakespeare in my summer reading. Thanks for the heads up!

Tripp,
You might enjoy this one, actually. He wasn't at Williamsburg very long but seemed to react to it much the same way he reacted to all tourist destinations: overpriced, not exceedingly well done, etc. But if I remember correctly he was fairly positive about Williamsburg, at least for a while. Before, as Nan points out, he got cranky.

Ruthiella,
Let's hear it for the pedantic! And the always right. Hurrah! I can't say, though, I've ever been a huge fan of reading things about linguistics or languages, so I will probably give "Mother Tongue" a miss, at least for now.

I'll keep you posted on "Lonesome Dove," if and when it happens. Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing the movie "Terms of Endearment" again. A tear-jerker, but a pretty good movie, if I remember correctly.

Okay, CR, how about this? I solemnly swear to read, finally, Something Wicked This Way Comes if you read Lonesome Dove. Hey, sounds like a natural pairing for the next Menage!

Oh and Lonesome Dove is astoundingly good. Do read it. Also his little memoir Book is worth a read.

You Know,
I have ordered Lonesome Dove from the library. Consider the gauntlet thrown down where the Bradbury is concerned (although, I'd happily wait to hear results until October--this may be the wrong time of year to read "Something Wicked..."

Tripp,
Okay, already, I'm reading it! :) I did enjoy "Books," although it wasn't my favorite bookseeling/collecting memoir ever. That's still "The Yellow Lighted Bookshop," or of course, Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road.

Since this was the first Bryon book I ever read, I've always been a bit fond of it. After reading many of his books, I think Sunburned Country is my favorite.
Nice blog. I will have to drop by more often.

Maphead,
Yes, I think I may always feel the same way about Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods," which was the first book of his I read. Next I think I'm going to try "I'm a Stranger Here Myself."

Thanks for popping in! Do visit anytime.

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