Bill Bryson Notes from a Small Island

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is an American author that is renowned for writing some beguiling travel books, as well as detailed works about language, science, and history. Born in the rural, midwestern United States, in Iowa, he moved to Great Britain for about 20 years, where he met his wife and raised a family. He returned home to America for a bit, but now lives once again in his adopted home in Britain.

Book of Note – Notes from a Small Island

This humorous book by Bryson is something of a travel log of his adventures on the mainland of the United Kingdom. Bill Bryson, after living in the U.K. for almost 20 years, has decided that he and his family will move back to his birth home, the United States, where he will settle in New Hampshire. Before he leaves, he makes up his mind to do one more tour of the nation and island that he has fallen in love with. Bill Bryson has a knack for words, and his take on some Britishisms are quite hilarious. Apart from being funny, he is vastly curious, and he writes in a way that paints a detailed and accurate picture in the reader’s mind. He tells local tales, talks about British heritage, and complains in an endearing way; listeners of BBC Radio 4 voted Notes from a Small Island as the book which best represented Britain during World Book Day in 2003.

Bryson is by far my favorite travel-writing author, and just about my favorite author of any kind. With Notes from a Small Island, he delivers at the very top of his game. For the places he describes throughout the book that you may be familiar with, Bryson’s words will cause a smile of fond recognition as it is read; for those you may not be familiar with – he does talk about dozens of small towns – his expert writing describes each destination or establishment in such vivid and colorful detail that you most definitely feel as if you are familiar with it. Bryson, the American so enamoured by Britain, communicates this book in such a way that Americans and the British alike are equally proud of the man and delighted with the book, as you are sure to be soon after you pick it up.


This “Recommended Reading” column is a short dedication to books that I believe are relevant to travel. They may be fiction, biographies, recounts of a specific adventures, and I’ve fully read the mentioned book and recommend it for one or more reasons to other travelers. Disclaimer: I do not consider myself a writer of any particular strength or merit, but these are not reviews. I will not consider grammar, style, or locution, unless it is in a positive light. I recommend these books simply for the fact that I believe that they contribute to inspiring a desire for travel, a consciousness of cultures and traditions, and/or a thirst for learning about the world. For more “Recommended Reading,” click HERE ->

*Photo of Bill Bryson taken from Visit Bryson’s official page HERE.

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