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Bryson, who could make a pile of dirt compelling--and yes, Australia is mostly dirt--finds no shortage of curiosities. When he isn't dodging Portuguese man-of-wars or considering the virtues of the remarkable platypus, he visits southwest Gippsland, home of the world's largest earthworms (up to 12 feet in length). He discovers that Australia, which began nationhood as a prison, contains the longest straight stretch of railroad track in the world (297 miles), as well as the world's largest monolith (the majestic Uluru) and largest living thing (the Great Barrier Reef). He finds ridiculous place names: "Mullumbimby Ewylamartup, Jiggalong, and the supremely satisfying Tittybong," and manages to catch a cricket game on the radio, which is like
listening to two men sitting in a rowboat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren't biting; it's like having a nap without losing consciousness. It actually helps not to know quite what's going on. In such a rarefied world of contentment and inactivity, comprehension would become a distraction.
"You see," Bryson observes, "Australia is an interesting place. It truly is. And that really is all I'm saying." Of course, Bryson--who is as much a travel writer here as a humorist, naturalist, and historian--says much more, and does so with generous amounts of wit and hilarity. Australia may be "mostly empty and a long way away," but it's a little closer now. --Rob McDonald --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
If you like Bryson and enjoy reading about travel, you should love this book.
In this installment of travel writing, Bryson shares with the reader his love of and fascination with the island/country/continent of Australia.
I enjoyed reading about Australia, the book gave me a good idea of what that place is like...makes me want to got there...
Having visited Australia several times, I find this book to be just . . . "delicious!"Published 9 minutes ago by Margo
Another great book from Bryson. If you like his style, you'll like this book.Published 17 hours ago by china blue
Mr. Bryson can always be relied upon to give the real scoop on any given destination. My travel book of choice.Published 1 day ago by Amy
Excellent book almost convinced me to visit Australia! Very humorous.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Very enjoyable and it appears it will be a great resource!Published 3 days ago by Robert L. Mentzer
I've always joked that just about everything in Australia can kill you. Bill Bryson proves it with this gem of a travelogue. A must read for anyone thinking of visiting.Published 4 days ago by TJB
I cannot get enough of Bill Bryson...now I want to go to Australia
Love Bill Bryson's writing. A very informative, historical and hysterical look at the dangers and wonder of this incredible land.Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
As is usual with Bill Bryson, a great story told abruptly and well. I am sorry the book has been read, I could read this story forever. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Wesley J. Szypszak