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In the world of contemporary travel writing, Bill Bryson, the bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods, often emerges as a major contender for King of Crankiness. Granted, he complains well and humorously, but between every line of his travel books you can almost hear the tinny echo: "I wanna go home, I miss my wife."
Happily, I'm a Stranger Here Myself unleashes a new Bryson, more contemplative and less likely to toss daggers. After two decades in England, he's relocated to Hanover, New Hampshire. In this collection (drawn from dispatches for London's Night & Day magazine), he's writing from home, in close proximity to wife and family. We find a happy marriage between humor and reflection as he assesses life both in New England and in the contemporary United States. With the telescopic perspective of one who's stepped out of the American mainstream and come back after 20 years, Bryson aptly holds the mirror up to U.S. culture, capturing its absurdities--such as hotlines for dental floss, the cult of the lawsuit, and strange American injuries such as those sustained from pillows and beds. "In the time it takes you to read this," he writes, "four of my fellow citizens will somehow manage to be wounded by their bedding."
The book also reflects the sweet side of small-town USA, with columns about post-office parties, dining at diners, and Thanksgiving--when the only goal is to "get your stomach into the approximate shape of a beach ball" and be grateful. And grateful we are that the previously peripatetic Bryson has returned to the U.S., turning his eye to this land--while living at home and near his wife. Under her benevolent influence, he entertains through thoughtful insights, not sarcastic stabs. --Melissa Rossi --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Ex-expatriate Bryson, who chronicled one effort at American reentry in his bestselling A Walk in the Woods, collects another: the whimsical columns on America he wrote weekly, while living in New Hampshire in the mid-to-late 1990s, for a British Sunday newspaper. Although he happily describes himself as dazzled by American ease, friendliness and abundance, Bryson has no trouble finding comic targets, among them fast food, computer efficiency and, ironically, American friendliness and putative convenience. As he edges into Dave Barry-style hyperbole, Bryson sometimes strains for yuks, but he's deft when he compares the two cultures, as in their different treatment of Christmas, pointing out how the British "pack all their festive excesses" into that single holiday. Bryson also nudges into domestic territory with regular references to his own British wife, the resolutely sensible Mrs. B. In a few columns, Bryson adopts a sentimental tone, writing about his family and his new hometown of Hanover. In others, he's more sober, criticizing anti-immigration activists, environmental depredation and drug laws (though he draws out the humor in these as well). Not all the columns hit their mark, and they are best read in small groupings, but this collection should sell well enough, although not likely to the heights of A Walk in the Woods. Agent, Jed Mattes. Author tour; BDD audio.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“I’m a Stranger Here Myself” is the 3rd Bill Bryson book I’ve read. The other two books (“A Short History of Nearly Everything” and “One Summer -- America 1927”) taught you... Read morePublished 7 days ago by F. Moyer
One of my favorite books -- I keep a copy of it in the car in case I get stuck somewhere and need something good to read.Published 18 days ago by Avid reader
Bill Bryson is a very engaging writer. I laughed many times about his episodes with America.
It was a fun read and brought back memories.
My favorite Bill Bryson. I re-read it regularly. Some hilarious paragraphs are particularly well-suited to reading out loud to my kids, who invariably fall off their chairs with... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Marieko
First book I've read from this author and have begun to read another. Funny and interesting, a good combination. I plan on reading many more of Brysons books. Read morePublished 28 days ago by freezing in wisconsin
Bryson had some amusing and interesting stories to tell. Not quite up to "A Walk In The Wood's" but I enjoyed it.Published 28 days ago by roger gobler
Well-written and witty as always, this is a great tongue-in-cheek perspective on British and American cultures.Published 1 month ago by katw
I really enjoyed this book by Bill Bryson. His books are always entertaining and but this one in particular happens to catch the ironies of some of our cultural practices here in... Read morePublished 1 month ago by 63 hawkeye