Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country (Bryson Book 6)

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Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country (Bryson Book 6)

Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country (Bryson Book 6)

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I think my favourite episode in the whole book is when Bill and his increasingly tetchy companion drive around Darwin several times trying to find a hotel whose name is unaccountably different from the name it went by when he booked it. The author also supplies plenty of humor in the form of historical accounts of early explorers and settlers of Australia. Among the general subjects that outstripped it were balloons and balloonists, the Church of Scientology, dogs (though not dog sledding), Barneys, Inc.

Bryson's books seem so simple - solipsistic narrator, quick tour of country, lots of anecdotes, dash of humour, a few all-embracing conclusions - that some reviewers dismiss the skill with which they are put together. Ignoring such dangers - and yet curiously obsessed by them - Bill Bryson journeyed to Australia and promptly fell in love with the country. Now living in the UK, Bill Bryson made his name with his iconic, insightful and very, very funny books of travel writing including: The Lost Continent, Neither Here Nor There, Notes from a Small Island (voted the book that best represents Britain in a national poll) A Walk in the Woods and The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island. The Lost Continent (1989) was a rite of passage: when his father died it prompted him to discover the continent lost with his youth. Because he did not spend long in Australia, occasionally the material in Down Under is so thin that even Bryson can't raise a good joke, and is obliged to wheel out Jurassic specimens ("a place where men were men and sheep were nervous").In A Sunburned Country is his report on what he found in an entirely different place: Australia, the country that doubles as a continent, and a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet. Never mind that Captain Cook didn't discover Australia and that he wasn't even yet a captain at the time of his visit. we meet many of the strange and unique animals, fish, and plants that have developed that haven't changed since even before the dinosaurs. This section of the book starts off with historical accounts from the time when Australia was discovered and goes on to illustrate how the Australians built a dynamic and prosperous society from a modest and unpropitious beginning.

Just in time for the 2000 Olympics-the bestselling quthor of A Walk in the Woods takes listeners on a truly outrageous tour Down Under. The group's avowed aim was the destruction of the world, and it appears that the event in the desert may have been a dry run for blowing up Tokyo. The laugh out loud passages on his introduction to cricket I applaud, the game makes as much sense to me as it did to Bill. I am forever doing this with the Australian prime minister--committing the name to memory, forgetting it (generally more or less instantly), then feeling terribly guilty.Just before I set off on this trip I went to my local library in New Hampshire and looked Australia up in the New York Times Index to see how much it had engaged our attention in recent years. I felt, when reading this book that here we have an author who's churning out one book after another, thinking he's found a winning formula when really it all gets a bit same-o. You almost don't feel like you don't need to go and see the Sydney Opera House or journey through the Outback, because Bryson has told you all you need to know.



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