Reading Across America: The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson

I really enjoy Bill Bryson’s work, have you noticed that?  Though I’m slowly working my way through his travelogues, I’m quite excited to start reading his other books.  The first one on my list?  A History of Private Life, it sounds fascinating!

For now, however, we’ve just finished his travels through America.  Now, I have a confession to make, I’ve seen such a proportionally small bit of America.  Especially in comparison the the amount of places I’ve visited in England and Italy.  I went to the west coast when I was two, there’s photographic proof.  Other than that?  Well, I’ve been mostly an east coast girl.

Of course, this lack of knowledge made the book all the more enjoyable.  In typical Bill Bryson style, it reads more like a comedic novel than a traditional travelogue.  You want to see what he sees and to hear what he has to say about it. Those endless hours driving through the middle of America?  Well, they all seem delightful when told through Bryson’s eyes.

One of the aspects that surprised me about this book in comparison to his other works was his outspoken nature on certain groups of Americans.  Now, they probably aren’t reading his book (they probably aren’t reading much as a general rule), but it wasn’t what I was expecting.  Did his comments about their backwards nature make me laugh out loud?  Absolutely.  Could they rub certain people the wrong way?  Maybe.

But that’s what’s so fun about this book.  It’s ridiculous, just like America.

Have you ever taken a long road trip in America?  Do you want to?


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