Books - Review


Showing all books by: Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods
Bill goes hiking on the 'AT' (Appalachian Trail). He and his friend Stephen Katz go for lots of interesting walks in the woods carrying very heavy backpacks.
Very good. Nice light reading, with some smiley humour - well done Bill for making relatively dull subject material quite entertaining for so many pages.
Score: 7.5
Published: 1997
Read: November 28th 2002

A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill's funny travelogue of science - particularly geology, bit of physics, fossils, evolution and anthropology. Especially anthropology.
Pretty good in fact, although too much on origins of man at the end of the book, it started to feel like we were going round in circles a bit. Re-read in April 05. Enjoyed it more probably and the anthropology bit at the end seemed much better balanced.
Score: 7.5
Published: 2003
Read: July 2nd 2004

The Lost Continent
Bill travels round America making scathing comments about people and places he encounters.
Pretty funny and entertaining.
Score: 7
Published: 1989
Read: November 7th 2005

Notes from a Small Island
Bill travels round UK making scathing comments about people and places he encounters.
Pretty funny in places.
Score: 7
Published: 1995
Read: November 10th 2005

Neither Here nor There
Bill travels around Europe dealing with grumpy hoteliers, waiters, other tourists etc.
Very entertaining, especially the flashbacks to previous trips with the dreadful Katz, and the way he is so rude about the French, amongst others.Re-read this Feb 2010 - pretty funny in places still.
Score: 7.5
Published: 1991
Read: May 3rd 2006

The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
Autobiographical thoughts from Bill, reminiscing on his childhood, and how funny and quaint the 50's were in the USA.
Very funny, laughed out loud several times!
Score: 8
Published: 2006
Read: July 10th 2007

Shakespeare
Bill's biography of William.
In fact, due to the almost complete lack of hard facts about Shakespeare, this is mostly Bill's round-up of conjecture, assumptions and scholarly guesswork. Still, it makes a very interesting history of the times.
Score: 7.5
Published: 2007
Read: August 8th 2010

At Home
A social history of mostly Britain. Using the rooms of a house (his own) as chapters and themes.
OK, some really interesting facts and figures like how much glass was used in the Great Exhibition's Crystal Palace (a lot), and how much sewage Londoners generate (a lot), and how much sewage used to flow into the Thames (a lot) etc.
Score: 7.5
Published: 2010
Read: August 21st 2010

One Summer: America 1927
A history of events of the titular time/place. Very interesting bio of Charles Lindbergh, quite a bit of aviation stuff in fact, Henry Ford, lots of baseball (made interesting!) and the build up to the Wall St. Crash.
Excellent. Readable, entertaining, interesting. Lots of facts I wish I could remember.
Score: 8.5
Published: 2013
Read: December 3rd 2014

The Road to Little Dribbling
Bill does another tour round a few bits of England making humourous comments as he goes.
Not great, I'm afraid. Not funny enough, a bit dull and repetitive and he does quite a lot of ranting about preserving the countryside and the problems of modern life.
Score: 5.5
Published: 2015
Read: April 15th 2016

The Body: A Guide for Occupants
Bill tells us many interesting things about the human body.
Hmmm. Not as good as some of his other work, this one seemed like just a lot of information presented in a bit of a dry way. Lost his knack sightly of the funny wry presentation of details and facts. Good in parts though.
Score: 7
Published: 2019
Read: December 22nd 2019