NOTES FROM A BIG COUNTRY by Bill Bryson (hier online bestellen)

The story:
Notes from a Big Country is a collection of some 80 independent episodes (weekly columns) which Bryson wrote for the American magazine Mail on Sunday, Night & Day. Reading the book, each episode brings home to you observations which people who are familiar with the American society have also made, but never been aware of their backgrounds and implications. And what is best about each episode is that they are all written in a fantastically humorous, often ironical way. Bryson was asked to write his observations about America right after he came back from England in 1997 having lived there for 20 years.
It is obviously easier to look at America more critically after you have lived for so long with people from a different culture. Bryson's advantage is that he didn't have language problems (except for some words..).
When Bryson criticizes things, he has substantial reasons to do so and never is really unfair. So he makes fun of America's governmental institutions like the US Immigration and Naturalization Service or the Internal Revenue Service (Finanzbehörde) for their extreme bureaucracy. Comparatively, German bureaucrats seem to be generous. But Bryson likes his countryfellowmen for their friendliness, hospitality and honesty. At least people in rural New Hampshire (where B. settled) wouldn't dream of locking their homes, even when they leave it for a couple of days. Americans like it convenient and always want instant gratification. E.g. an advertisement in Britain for a cold relief capsule...would promise no more than it might make you feel a bit better....A commercial for the same product in America would guarantee total, instantaneous relief. An American would take the medicine and would actually feel better than he had for years and finish the day having the time of his life at a bowling alley.
On the other hand Bryson is dismayed at the wastefulness of Americans and their love for predictable uniformity (e.g. hotel chains, shopping chains, restaurant chains). But he obviously likes waste disposals (in kitchens) and the free availability of ice in every hotel (I think it was guaranteed in the Constitution, just above the right to bear arms and below the right to shop till you drop).
In comparison to British people, Americans generally lack a sense of humour. John Cleese should once have said, An Englishman would rather be told he was a bad lover than he had no sense of humour. At least in this respect Bryson rather seems to be British...

Extract from book:
"Here's a fact for you. According to the latest "Abstract of the United States", every year more than 400,00 Americans suffer injuries involving beds, mattresses or pillows...That is more people than live in greater Coventry. That is almost 2,000 bed, mattress or pillow injuries a day. In the time it takes you to read this article, four Americans will somehow manage to be wounded by their bedding."

About the author:
Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. A backpacking expedition in 1973 brought him to England where he met his wife and decided to stay. He wrote for the English newspapers for many years, writing travel articles to enhance his income. He lived with his family in North Yorkshire before moving back to the States in 1995. He now lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his wife and four children.
The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson's hilarious first travel book, describes a trip in his mother's Chevy around small town America. Since then, he has written several more about the UK and the US, including bestsellers, A Walk in the Woods, I'm A Stranger Here Myself (published in Britain as Notes from a Big Country), and In a Sunburned Country (published in Britain as Down Under). His other books include Bill Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words, Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe, Made in America, The Mother Tongue and Bill Bryson's African Diary. His latest book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, is available now.

Notes from a Big Country
Sprache: Englisch
Broschiert - 448 Seiten - Black Swan
Erscheinungsdatum: 16. September 1999
ISBN: 0552997862
Preis: € 13,30

More works from the same author:

hier online bestellen

Mother Tongue
hier online bestellen

Notes from a Small Island
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A Short History of Nearly Everything
hier online bestellen

Down Under
(= Sunburned)
hier online bestellen

Neither Here Nor There

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