Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bill Bryson "In a Sunburned Country"

Bill Bryson must be one of the best people you could travel with:  easily amused, witty, with a curiousity that makes him seek out the world's largest (fiberglass) lobster just as avidly as any highbrow museum. 

I have read four of his books, all on different locations, and each time I crack up about the observations he makes about people and their cultures.  Right now I'm finishing In a Sunburned Country about his travels around Australia.  Ever the smart ass, he makes you want to get off the beaten path and really see things rather than hit the most tourist destinations in one short trip.  I wish I had the luxury of travelling as widely and as lingering as he does.  Someday! 

I've read Paul Theroux who writes travel in a similar way, but he's not nearly as much fun.  He does discuss more facts and details about the locations, while Bryson seems to fixate on humans and their silliness (along with the more outrageous facts, as in how many ways nature wants to kill you in Australia).  I'm starting Notes on a Small Island (about the UK) soon, but I got myself off track on an Australia tangent thanks to all-things-Tim Winton.  I have The Fatal Shore (more history) and The Long Green Shore (fiction related to WWII with Japan and Australia) next in line before I go back to Great Britain.  I did finish The Kingdom of the Sea last week, Theroux's UK adventures, and all this travel is making me crazy.

I have a small local trip next week, and I'm more worried about what books to take than what to wear.  Sort of a sad, silly life in a way, but damn if I don't love it!

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