Thursday, September 29, 2016

An Utterly Charming Book

And I've rarely said that about any book reviewed.  "The Road to Little Dribbling" by Bill Bryson   Doubleday   380 pages   $28.95

Bryson is an American ex-pat living in England.  He is acutely aware of the differences and, in fact, revels in them.  He is not particularly pro either one of them, recognizing easily that both have their pros and cons, but he can be funny about both.  He wrote, apparently in explanation,  "I came from Des Moines; someone had to."

This is his 19th travel book and I was delighted to see that because it means there is more of him to laugh at and learn from.  He is 64 and he and wife Cynthia have been married since 1975.  As he has spent the last 20 years traveling and writing about it, they may not have seen each other that often which is frequently the reason for long and affectionate marriages.

History is an important part of his narrative and he is knowledgeable indeed about it.  But more than that, he's funny.  On the construction of Stonehenge, with tons of rock having to be moved 18 miles from A to B, plus the additional work of erecting them to the vertical and adding blue stone from another site, he remarks that the guy who thought it all up and got workers to do it must have been a helluva motivator.

In another book, he wrote this:  "To my mind, the only possible pet is a cow.  They love you.  They'll listen to your problems and never ask a thing in return.  They will be friends forever.  And when you get tired of them, you can kill and eat them.  Perfect."

Get over yourselves, PETA - he was joking which you may not have grasped being the humorless drones that you are. 

Before we get into it, PETA, let me say that I would love this book for no other reason than he calls a surly shopkeeper in it a "cheerless prick."  If that doesn't totally describe some humans, nothing ever will.  .Carry on, old chap.  Doing splendidly so far.  And regards to the wife next time you see her.

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