This volume contains two of the best books of Bill Bryson. As usual Bryson provides entertainment and education at a high level. I think that everyone who has lived in the US without having grown up there will be reminded of many own observations - of course Bryson always puts a special twist to it. This includes the apprehension that most of the notes are not restricted to the "Big Country" or the "Small Island".
It is difficult for me to read these books in some public without having to answer puzzled questions (about my outbursts of laughter). These may, however, be the start of a nice conversation including parts of the text being read aloud. What better can be said about a book?
Ein Amerikaner in GB - da muss es natürlich unzählige Gelegenheiten geben, wo er sich komisch, ungewohnt oder mißverstanden fühlt. ABER: Zurück in den USA, und das ist das phantastische an diesem Buch, spürt er fast die gleichen Gefühle und muss seine eigenen Landsleute erst wieder kennenlernen. Dabei fallen ihm so einige Ungereimtheiten und Spleens der US-Amerikaner auf. All das wird mit einer Mischung aus distanziertem Beobachten und ganz persönlichen Gefühlen erzählt. Ich musste oft schmunzeln, da ich mich in verschiedenen Situationen wiedererkannte und sehr gut verstanden fühlte. Einfach ein "must" für Leute, die GB und/oder USA Liebhaber sind.
Bill Bryson does it again in his Complete Notes. Once upon a time there was an american newspaper reporter who left his middle american roots to move to - and live in - and become - England. He then went on to write a masterpiece about the english language: where it came from, what it became, and why it is competely different in just about any country in the world that it is spoken in. But then he became ashamed of his Sears tweed sport coats and decided to be, from that moment on, a typical arrogant british journalist. And that`s when all the trouble began. `Cause as the saying goes: I took you out of Des Moines...But I could not take Des Moines out of you` (Sorry about that, Isaac!) Bill Bryson is not an arrogant british fleet street hack, no matter how hard he tries. In the first part of "Notes" he describes his experiences in the land of good old Weirdo Britain, where everything is supposed to be more or less strangely fascinating, and escaping logic. But since the book is obviousaly written for a british customer, all this hardly comes as a surprise to the reader. As the retired Rhine Army Colonel next door tells me:" I've lived there almost all "me"(sorry again)life." In the second part Bill is back on the block. Back in the U.S. of A.. In a campus town. With a new tweed coat. And he is back with a vengeance. Unfortunately he cannot resist portraying all and everything in his well-tried categories: religious prude; backwoods hick; and Jane Fonda lookalike progress worshipper. Does he really believe that his british readers are that naive and removed from the rest of the world to find this as hilarious as he displays it. But then again, maybe I am just jealous of him finding his niche in a difficult market. He obviously appeals to many people. And I do have to admit that I enjoy reading Bryson, even if it is only to disagree with him on his descriptions and proving him wrong on details. But don`t, repeat, do not, read Bryson, if you have never been to the country he is writing about. MGB