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Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson

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Max The Magnificent
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
Max The Magnificent   1/13/2011 6:29:15 PM
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Darn -- I've only read the American versions -- now I'll have to go and get the international versions

chipchap42
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
chipchap42   1/13/2011 6:05:06 PM
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I love all Bryson's work. My love affair with it began when I was living in Germany in the 90s and read his comment on the dangers of German restaurants - "it's always a concern that Willi and the Bavarian boys will leap on stage and start performing. It should have been a condition of the Armistice that the Germans lay down their accordions with their arms". Anyone who can write insults in such style deserves serious praise. And the real trick is that he does it with such affection that even when it's you who is being insulted, it's hard to feel anything other than pleasure. I'm delighted that he's now Chancellor of my old University (Durham). One note though, his books about America actually come in two versions - one for the international market and one for Americans themselves, who are apparently judged to be too thin-skinned and these versions are toned down with some of the (better) insults removed. I know this because when I moved to the States, I came across what I initially thought was a whole new set of Bryson titles. They turned out to be the US versions and in starting to read them I realized they had been doctored! Cheers, Paul.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
Max The Magnificent   1/13/2011 3:31:33 PM
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Both -- I still love hard-copy books -- and I love browsing around the "bargain" section of Barnes and Noble -- but I have a Kindle with a load of books on it -- many downloaded for free -- which is wonderful when I'm traveling (I used to carry three or four books in my backpack and a bunch more in my suitcase -- now I just take my Kindle). At home I bounce back and forth between real books and the ones on my Kindle.

phoenixdave
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
phoenixdave   1/13/2011 3:24:13 PM
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@Max - A bit off but somewhat related to the topic, have you transitioned to the eReader environment or do you hold on to the "harcopy" format?

Max The Magnificent
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
Max The Magnificent   1/13/2011 3:06:38 PM
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I don't have the book here in my office -- but one of my favorites is where he has "a meal of gristle and wiffle ball at a diner appropriately named 'Chucks'" (his actual words are much funnier -- I'll try to find the full quote unless someone else gets there first)

cardinalsin
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
cardinalsin   1/13/2011 3:00:56 PM
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It's not very PC, but my favorite passage from The Lost Continent is the following: "Iowa women are almost always sensationally overweight -- you see them at Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines on Saturdays, clammy and meaty in their shorts and halter tops, looking like elephants dressed in children's clothes, yelling at their kids, calling out names like Dwayne and Shauna. Jack Kerouac, of all people, thought that Iowa women were the prettiest in the country, but I don't think he ever went to Merle Hay Mall on a Saturday. I will say this, however -- and it's a strange, strange thing -- the teenaged daughters of these fat women are always utterly delectable, as soft and gloriously rounded and naturally fresh-smelling as a basket of fruit. I don't know what it is that happens to them, but it must be awful to marry one of those nubile cuties knowing that there is a time bomb ticking away in her that will at some unknown date make her bloat out into something huge and grotesque, presumably all of a sudden and without much notice, like a self-inflating raft from which the pin has been yanked."

Max The Magnificent
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
Max The Magnificent   1/12/2011 3:01:02 PM
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I know what you mean -- this is especially true with his "A Short History of Nearly Everything", which I must have read at least four times by now...

Bob Virkus
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
Bob Virkus   1/11/2011 11:38:00 PM
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The only problem with Bryson's books is that they take too long to read. I keep putting the book down to ponder what I just read, think a little bit, then dwell on it for a few days.

Max The Magnificent
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
Max The Magnificent   1/11/2011 7:25:19 PM
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I really liked "The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America" when he drives around reminiscing about road trips he took with his family when he was a kid. Did you read Bryson's "Shakespeare: The World as Stage"? I would never have thought that I would have enjoyed a book about the Bard ... but this had me riveted to my seat. Its not a particularly long book but it's well worth the read.

cardinalsin
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re: Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
cardinalsin   1/11/2011 7:16:03 PM
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Sorry -- didn't sign it. - George H.

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