Featuring a special introduction written for the audiobook edition and read by the author
After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson, the acclaimed author of such best sellers as The Mother Tongue and Made in America, decided it was time to move back to the United States for a while. This was partly to let his wife and kids experience life in Bryson's homeland, and partly because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another. It was thus clear to him that his people needed him. But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of modern-day Britain, and to analyze what he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, zebra crossings, and place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, and Shellow Bowells. With wit and irreverence, Bill Bryson presents the ludicrous and the endearing in equal measure. The result is a social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain.
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©1995 Bill Bryson (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jo on 05-11-08

A Note From A Small Islander

I love Bill Bryson's book and this is, by far, my favourite.

It's a while since I heard this originally broadcast on Radio 4 and I'd forgotten how much better it is as a native Brit to hear it read in an american accent as it makes Bryson's journey and experiences more charming and entertaining.

I thoroughly recommend this, even for diehard fans of the book - it gives it a whole new perspective!

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Lizziecm on 21-09-15

Occasionally Mildly Amusing

Any additional comments?

On the whole, I really enjoy Bill Bryson's books, and I find William Roberts to be a capable and amusing narrator. I found Notes From A Small Island, however, to be a rather different sort of book.

Aside from obvious but unavoidable issues that Bryson skims over or misses out rather large areas of the country (e.g. the Midlands, Wales...), I found that another aspect of this book bothered me more. While Bryson does spend a small amount of time making his trademark witty observations of local culture, architecture, attitudes etc., I found him to spend rather too long on brash tirades in this work. His reporting of encounters with unsuspecting members of the public in which he verbally assaults them with little provocation implies that he takes some pride from this sort of interaction. This is not only unpleasant for the reader/listener but must have been most unpleasant for the individuals involved.

I found some parts of this book uncomfortable and others rather irritating. A shame since I've had plenty of fun from his other works.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Donna on 01-08-10

Great Read, Great Laugh

I've been a Bill Bryson fan for years now, and as funny as his books are, listening to this one definitely made it even more enjoyable. It was a bit embarrassing when I kept bursting out laughing in public, but it's a very small price to pay for the great entertainment.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Garry on 05-12-12

Bill at his Best

Would you consider the audio edition of Notes From a Small Island to be better than the print version?

Yes, in a book like this is better than printed.

What other book might you compare Notes From a Small Island to and why?

Well it has to be Down Under by Bill Bryson too. I am English by birth but now an Australian, I learned more about Australian history from Bill reading Down Under than others as he seems to pick those stories that is well, just darn more interesting. He does the same here about the English.

Which scene was your favorite?

Bacon and Eggs, early morning rain and cold... I remember it so well. Cold wind Swept port towns dark and closed. Yep remember those well.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Cringe maybe, as I have memories like these myself. Cringe in a nice way Bill.

Any additional comments?

Enjoyable, if you grew up in England through the 70's and 80's a lot of this will hit home. But for anyone else, it is still a fun read/listen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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