Notes from a Small Island

Paperback | March 12, 1998

byBill Bryson

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After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson made the decision to move back to the States for a while, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him.

But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had for so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation’s public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyze what precisely it was he loved about a country that had produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, and Shellow Bowells, people who said “Mustn’t grumble,” and shows like “Gardener’s Question Time.”

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From Our Editors

Arriving in England by ferry on a foggy night in March of 1973, Bill Bryson begins his tale about his adventures touring across the United Kingdom. Notes from a Small Island recounts with remarkable detail the hilarious personalities Bryson experiences on his travels. The Canadian bestseller, Notes From a Small Island is a hilarious co...

From the Publisher

After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson made the decision to move back to the States for a while, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by al...

From the Jacket

“Bill Bryson is a funny writer…doubled over belly shakes and seltzer through the nose funny.”— Globe and Mail“The year’s best travel book…funny and witty and truthful.”— Toronto Sun“The funniest book I read this year – winded by its humor, tears on the cheeks.”— Ottawa Citizen“Bryson is first and foremost a storyteller – and a supremel...

When The Lost Continent was published in 1989, Bill Bryson’s savagely funny account of his journey back to his roots in small-town U.S.A. took the reading public by a storm of guffaws. It was followed by Neither Here Nor There, in which Bryson applied his unique brand of wry humour to the foibles of Continental Europe and the Europeans...

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see all books by Bill Bryson
Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 7.88 × 5.02 × 0.76 inPublished:March 12, 1998Publisher:McClelland & Stewart

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771017049

ISBN - 13:9780771017049

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from O.K., but not as good as some of his others. In a Sunburned Country and I'm a Stranger Here Myself were much better books.
Date published: 2014-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I loved this book and could relate to it 100%. I read most of it on an overnight flight-not a good idea as it's definately a laugh out loud book.
Date published: 2000-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious! An excellent read! It is not often that one finds a book so full of information that can also make you laugh out loud. Bryson made me think of all the silly British quirks I'd chosen to ignore!!
Date published: 1999-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Out-loud Chuckler of a Book An off-beat travel book of Great Britain, written with a wry sense of humour that has you chuckling out loud and looking for someone to share the laughter with. Bryson visits well-known and unknown places, evaluating them not only for the tourist sites each location is known for, but also for the people experiences he had. His concerns about preservation of old buildings, natural sites, and hospitality come very much to the fore. Throughout, he gently and lovingly mocks the foibles of British types and their values. One would love to invite him to one's own urban centre and let him turn his wit and cynicism on it.
Date published: 1999-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Out-loud Chuckler of a Book An off-beat travel book of Great Britain, written with a wry sense of humour that has you chuckling out loud and looking for someone to share the laughter with. Bryson visits well-known and unknown places, evaluating them not only for the tourist sites each location is known for, but also for the people experiences he had. His concerns about preservation of old buildings, natural sites, and hospitality come very much to the fore. Throughout, he gently and lovingly mocks the foibles of British types and their values. One would love to invite him to one's own urban centre and let him turn his wit and cynicism on it.
Date published: 1999-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it and weep.... Bryson gets to the heart of the British culture. This is very much more than a travel book. It goes a long way to explaining what makes Britian a great country to visit plus exposes (hilariously)the foilbles of the society. Anyone who has lived in Britain will love this book. I was reduced to tears of laughter several times. The book is incredibly well researched -- Bryson in his years in the country learned much of its history and institiutions and communicates it well.
Date published: 1999-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazingly Funny! Whether or not you have had the pleasure of experiencing the places Bryson speaks of in this book, you will still find yourself unable to stop from laughing! If I was stuck on an island with only one book to read for a year, this would be it! *Please Note: If you HAVE travelled the U.K., please don't read this book at night while others are sleeping!
Date published: 1999-01-30

Extra Content

From Our Editors

Arriving in England by ferry on a foggy night in March of 1973, Bill Bryson begins his tale about his adventures touring across the United Kingdom. Notes from a Small Island recounts with remarkable detail the hilarious personalities Bryson experiences on his travels. The Canadian bestseller, Notes From a Small Island is a hilarious commentary of a North American in England.

Editorial Reviews

“Bill Bryson is a funny writer…doubled over belly shakes and seltzer through the nose funny.”— Globe and Mail“The year’s best travel book…funny and witty and truthful.”— Toronto Sun“The funniest book I read this year – winded by its humor, tears on the cheeks.”— Ottawa Citizen“Bryson is first and foremost a storyteller – and a supremely comic and original one at that.”— Winnipeg Free Press“A kind of Dave Barry-meets-Paul Theroux in a British commuter train.” — Sunday Express