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[[ Download ePUB ]] Down UnderAuthor Bill Bryson –

This was my first book by Bill Bryson as well as a great, educating read I understand now, why Bill Bryson is so popular, because this non fictional account of his trip to Australia is wonderful and humouristic from beginning till end I already have 2 other books by Bill Bryson on hold at the library because this is definitely an author I m curious to get much familiar with. Ok First of all I m here to tell you that non fiction is normally not my bag I think I got this book because I forgot to send in the do not send notice in a book club That said I m soooo happy that I didn t and I made myself read this OMG I lost track of how many times I laughed until there were tears running down my cheeks and how many smiles and chuckles it rang out of me This is a book about Bryson s trips I believe he combines a few trips to Oz into this one book to the really undiscovered island of Australia and his impressions of what he sees and who he meets There is history, wonderfully funny and horribly gruesome and sad stories, lodging and traveling tips and a long list of places there that I really now want to see His wit and sarcastic humor is what did it for me I will look for of his books and hope that he goes on journeys to share with his reading audience. Bill Bryson never seems to use the same approach to each of his books Is this book going to be snarky Bill Is this going to be funny Bill Is this going to be funny, yet informative Bill Is this going to be snarky, yet informative Bill I could go on, but my hands would start to cramp up with the unlimited combinations.This one is reverential, informative, and mostly self effacing humor Bill Bill loves Australians, but he hates the fact that the country is over run with hordes of killer species and there s a big hot assed desert in the middle of the continent.Australians are lovely people The one s I ve known were incredibly friendly and generous I worked with a couple who were touring the United States and working at odd jobs along the way When they were leaving, they gave me their contact information and invited me to visit at any time If they are reading this, my family will be down under in a week or so and plan to stay for about a month We don t eat much beyond shrimp and steak and don t wish to try vegemite, so thanks and keep that stuff to yourself So good onya, mates and crikey and stuff Although it s a topic that needs examining, Bryson s writing on the treatment of Aborigines seems out of place and shrill compared with the Australian lovefest and repeated warnings about deadly jelly fish, killer spiders and gun toting snakes.This was a buddy read with la doyenne of non fiction buddy reads Le Trish. I developed a taste for Bill Bryson last year when I read his Short History of Nearly Everything, an ambitious attempt to trace the history of life, the universe and everything in just 574 pages While many of the scientific discoveries outlined in the book were a little beyond me, I thoroughly enjoyed Bryson s descriptions of the larger than life personalities behind the discoveries, which really brought the science described to life So when I found out that he had also written a travelogue of a journey across the country I may soon call home Australia I simply had to read it.Australia, for those of you who have never been there, is one of the most colourful places on earth It has a history so bizarre that it makes China s seem normal by comparison It has insane expanses of the most arid desert imaginable, as well as some of the world s most beautiful beaches, where unfortunately you can t swim due to the prevalence of sharks, crocs, box jellyfish, stingrays and murderous rip currents It houses beyond a shadow of a doubt the world s most interesting flora and fauna, including twelve foot earthworms and living fossils And you thought kangaroos were exotic Ha And if all that weren t interesting enough, the locals are slightly mad They eat meat pies floating in pea soup, are crazy about cricket and consider shorts and knee length socks proper attire for middle aged bus drivers In short, it s a unique place and I love it I look forward to moving there in a few months time.Bill Bryson also loves Australia, and it shows While he likes to remind his readers of the country s amazing collection of deathly animals over and over again and poke fun at the locals and their weird habits, his affection for the place shines through in every chapter, and it s quite infectious By describing his own travels and those of early settlers, explorers and naturalists, he provides the reader with an appreciation for how vast and unwelcoming the country is, and how utterly unique He provides background information on events of which few non Australians will have heard such as the fact that a nuclear bomb may have been detonated in the outback without anyone noticing, and that an Australian Prime Minister once vanished, never to be seen again , waxes lyrical on trees and animals so bizarre that you ll want to hop on the first plane to Australia to check them out for yourself again, kangaroos are only the beginning , explains why you should go and see Ayers Rock even if you ve already seen hundreds of photos of it, and intersperses all this useful information with a winning combination of self deprecating humour, bizarre anecdotes, absurd dialogue and entertaining accounts of encounters with fellow travellers and locals The resulting book is not only completely recognisable to anyone who has visited Australia, but hugely appealing to anyone who hasn t I doubt anyone can read this book without wishing to book a flight to Oz immediately afterwards.If I have any complaint about Down Under, it is that there is too little of it While Bryson s writing is entertaining and informative, his choice of places to visit and describe seems rather random and limited I wish he had done travelling, gone further into the interior of the country and left all traces of luxury behind him for a while, so as to emulate the pioneers and explorers whose exploits he relates with such gusto I also think the book would have benefited from slightly rigorous editing, as parts of it seem rather hastily written For all its small flaws, though, Down Under released in the US as In a Sunburned Country is a fascinating read which has whetted my appetite for Bryson travelogues And for a return to Oz, but that s another story. As expected this was a mix of fun facts and a companion travel piece Being Australian I m sure I enjoyed this than the average non Australian reader but I could see that some parts especially the parts apart about politics and cricket could bore a few readers who aren t already familiar with our peculiar sports and politicians I enjoyed the read and found it fun when injected with Bryson s humourous anecdotes along the way I also realised how very little I ve seen of my own ridiculously large country Makes me want to pack up the car and go for a road trip and see something other than the East Coast of Australia and the main cities It s always a shame when tourists see of my own country than I have. I love Australia, even though I have never been there It has amazing wilderness and is the setting of beautiful movies it exports talented actors, actresses and directors it has that Great Barrier Reef thingy, which is apparently so wonderful that is is a Natural Wonder of the World and it is home to the stunning Sydney Opera House And oh yeah, Aussies gave us UGGs So we have a lot to thank them for.Bill Bryson also loved Australia, so much so that he spent months touring its cities and the Outback Bryson employed his usual humor in this travelogue, and numerous sections had me laughing out loud, sometimes embarrassingly so But he would also wax rhapsodic about how amazing the land was There was no place in the world like it There still isn t Eighty percent of all that lives in Australia, plant and animal, exists nowhere else More than this, it exists in an abundance that seems incompatible with the harshness of the environment Australia is the driest, flattest, hottest, most desiccated, infertile, and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents Only Antarctica is hostile to life This is a place so inert that even the soil is, technically speaking, a fossil And yet it teems with life in numbers unaccounted For insects alone, scientists haven t the faintest idea whether the total number of species is 100,000 or than twice that As many as a third of those species remain entirely unknown to science For spiders, the proportion rises to 80 percent This is a country that is at once staggeringly empty and yet packed with stuff Interesting stuff, ancient stuff, stuff not readily explained Stuff yet to be found Trust me, this is an interesting place.Bryson gets into his fair share of scrapes during his Australian journey, and at one point he and his traveling companion are in danger of running out of both fuel and water while in the Outback Luckily, no serious harm was done.Another close encounter was with a bluebottle jellyfish Bryson and his guide, Deirdre, were boogie boarding at Freshwater Beach near Manly, when Deirdre suddenly grabbed Bryson s arm and stopped him from advancing toward the bluey, as Deirdre called it At the time, Bryson didn t know what she meant by bluey Is it dangerous I asked.Now, before we hear Deirdre s response to me as I stood there, vulnerable and abraded, shivering, nearly naked and half drowned, let me just quote from her subsequent article in the Herald s weekend magazine While the photographer shoots, Bryson and his boogie board are dragged 40 meters down the beach in a rip The shore rip runs south to north, unlike the rip further out which runs north to south Bryson doesn t know this He didn t read the warning sign on the beach Nor does he know about the bluebottle being blown in his direction now less than a meter away a swollen stinger that could give him 20 minutes of agony and, if he s unlucky, an unsightly allergic reaction to carry on his torso for his life. Dangerous No, Deirdre replied now as we stood gawping at the bluebottle But don t brush against it Why not Might be a bit uncomfortable I looked at her with an expression of interest bordering on admiration Long bus journeys are uncomfortable Slatted wooden benches are uncomfortable Lulls in conversations are uncomfortable The sting of a Portuguese man of war even Iowans know this is agony It occurred to me that Australians are so surrounded with danger that they have evolved an entirely new vocabulary to deal with it Footnote The statement is inarguable However, the author would like the record to show that he did not have his glasses on he trusted his hosts he was scanning a large area of ocean for sharks and he was endeavoring throughout not to excrete a large house brick into his pants.HAHAHA Bryson is a hoot, you guys There is so much great stuff in this book, and I could type out pages of other funny stories, but I shall leave you to discover it for yourself Like all of his travelogues, he shares interesting historical details about the places he visits, and he s good at making fun of himself and his bumbling ways I enjoyed this so much and I laughed so hard and so often that this has become one of my favorite Bryson books If you like audiobooks, I highly recommend listening to Bryson narrate this It s marvelous My rating 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 Having travelled briefly through parts of Queensland and New South Wales several years ago, I d been waiting to catch up with Bryson s book ever since I now wish I d read it before I travelled or even during the trip itself It s full interesting information and ideas for places to visit and gave me loads of laughs A really good read whether you re planning a trip or just looking to enjoy BB s hilariously entertaining anecdotes I ve read a few of his books in the past and I do find him to be an interesting companion, as I ve travelled with him His books on visits to the UK in particular are great fun even if he pokes fun at some places quite close to my heart I m not sure how accurate some of his adventures are they seem a bit tuned for laughs to me but that s ok, it s what you pick up a book like this for I think I d recommend this book to anyone thinking about a trip to Oz or readers who just enjoy tales of travel and amusing things that can happen when you re in the hands of a natural raconteur. Bill Bryson is on a short list of go to writers when I need a thoughtful but not too taxing book His travel works seem to follow the Bryson formula 1 Bryson travels around a country and gets drunk in hotel bars.2 Bryson gets pissed off at rude and stupid people but is usually forgiving and self depreciating.3 Bryson assiduously researches the locales beforehand and integrates history into his itineraries and narratives.4 Bryson writes with impeccable skill.5 Bryson balances mundane details with broader musings about wherever he s visiting.Bryson makes travel writing look easy but I don t undervalue his talent He s funny often than not, like when he describes the joys of tacky roadside attractions and his decision to trespass through a suburban backyard when he thinks a dog is chasing him through a park He keeps the text moving and harmonizes the personal and cultural with respect but without sanctimony Bryson maintains a willingness to criticize and even mock a culture when, well, the culture deserves criticism or mockery Bryson doesn t look or sound like one might expect from a travel writer he s a fat middle aged guy who grew up in Iowa, not some tanned and overtly fit mountain climber with flowing locks and a beard styled to look un styled He can dispense with all pretense of coolness and write about his travels from a laid back perspective 6 In a Sunburned Country outlines four central messages about Australia 1 The country is so huge and varied that comprehending all the disparate elements as representative of one cohesive nation is very difficult.2 The rest of the world kind of forgets about Australia most of the time, except for New Year s Eve or whenever there s reason to show fireworks over the Sydney Opera House.3 You can get killed in many interesting ways there.4 While many white Australians are preternaturally friendly the country still shits on the Aborigines Bryson faces a curious paradox when addressing Australia When describing the country s expanse and diversity he runs the risk of repeating himself He seems to get a little frustrated with the idea that, for example, while he doesn t have the space or time to describe all the nuances of the huge, barren bush country that comprises much of non coastal Australia he s essentially describing, you know, the bush country over and over again You can say we are way out in the middle of nowhere but communicating exactly what that means is difficult than one can expect from even the best travel writer Bryson does his best by adding key details e.g describing how much he hates the ocean and fears jellyfish and his best is damn good He also avoids the cliches, never once mentioning vegemite or Men at Work I liked In a Sunburned Country and I don t want to downplay Bryson s hard work and excellent narratives His humility is admirable and I think he s underrated possibly because he s so damn uncool And I d rather drive around Australia with someone uncool but courteous and appreciative of decent hotel rooms than a guy who wants to mine the trip for hipster stories he can tell at coffee shops back home Bryson delivers with In a Sunburned Country The next time my brain is slightly fried I ll work through the next book in his catalog and be happy, I imagine, I did. I love Bill Bryson Yep, it s a full blown, one sided bromance Bryson could write a book about the history of the individual rooms within the typical house and I would love it he did and I did So, when I discovered he d written about his experiences while traveling Australia, I knew I d found my next good read In a Sunburned Country takes in the Land Down Under, from today traveling all the way back to its earliest historical findings You expect and get a look at modern Australia, its UK convict days, Sydney and other cities, the bush, the outback, and the plight, trials and importance of the aborigines All of the above also comes with a healthy dose of Bryson humor It s self deprecating, it s consciously delusional for comedy s sake, it s honest and it gives me the chuckles I appreciate that he puts himself in awkward situations and really enjoy his description of scenes in which he is a participating victim Australia has countless ways to kill a person, what with all its deadly animals, so there s plenty of opportunity for hair raising hilarity, especially considering Bryson s the sort of guy who could get himself savaged by a hedgehog Fun is fun and all, but in the end this book is about the knowledge, so if you have an interest in learning about Australia, I couldn t recommend another book highly The author is a full on philomath and he loves this country, so the reader is treated to a veritable love fest spewed all over the pages of In a Sunburned Country A CLASSIC FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ONE SUMMER Every Time Bill Bryson Walks Out The Door, Memorable Travel Literature Threatens To Break Out His Previous Excursion Along The Appalachian Trail Resulted In The Sublime National Bestseller A Walk In The Woods In A Sunburned Country Is His Report On What He Found In An Entirely Different Place Australia, The Country That Doubles As A Continent, And A Place With The Friendliest Inhabitants, The Hottest, Driest Weather, And The Most Peculiar And Lethal Wildlife To Be Found On The Planet The Result Is A Deliciously Funny, Fact Filled, And Adventurous Performance By A Writer Who Combines Humor, Wonder, And Unflagging CuriousityDespite The Fact That Australia Harbors Things That Can Kill You In Extremely Nasty Ways Than Anywhere Else, Including Sharks, Crocodiles, Snakes, Even Riptides And Deserts, Bill Bryson Adores The Place, And He Takes His Readers On A Rollicking Ride Far Beyond That Beaten Tourist Path Wherever He Goes He Finds Australians Who Are Cheerful, Extroverted, And Unfailingly Obliging, And These Beaming Products Of Land With Clean, Safe Cities, Cold Beer, And Constant Sunshine Fill The Pages Of This Wonderful Book Australia Is An Immense And Fortunate Land, And It Has Found In Bill Bryson Its Perfect Guide