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Notes from a Small Island af Bill Bryson

Notes from a Small Island (original 1995; udgave 1997)

af Bill Bryson

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
8,926198662 (3.79)337
En munter, meget personlig beretning om England, skrevet af en amerikaner efter 18 års ophold.
Titel:Notes from a Small Island
Forfattere:Bill Bryson
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (1997), Paperback, 324 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

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Notes from a Small Island af Bill Bryson (1995)


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» Se også 337 omtaler

Engelsk (190)  Hollandsk (2)  Tysk (1)  Catalansk (1)  Italiensk (1)  Fransk (1)  Svensk (1)  Portugisisk (Brasilien) (1)  Alle sprog (198)
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Author Bill Bryson, in anticipation of returning permanently to the U.S. after having lived in Great Britain for some time, embarks on a journey around his adopted country by footpath, train and bus, offering alternatingly heartfelt, humorous and facetious commentary about the cities, villages, ruins, people and scenery he encounters.

I've enjoyed everything I've read by Bryson up until now, and this is no exception. However, there was something about the snide remarks in this book that rubbed me the wrong way. Despite his clever way with words, his tendency in this book to "punch down" felt somewhat awkward. That said, I definitely felt inspiration well up inside me to go rambling in Great Britain. ( )
  ryner | Sep 8, 2021 |
This is my first book by Bill Bryson.

It describes his trip around England, Scotland and Wales (though not Northern Ireland).

I didn’t think the book was as good as Paul Theroux´ one on his trip, but Bryson was funnier.

I will now be reading all Bryson’s books if I manage it in this incarnation (but I’m told we can read books on the other side so I may read them there if not here).

The reason for Bryson being so funny is partly because he tells us all his thoughts and deliberations, including everything and everyone he doesn’t like.

He is an American, so when he first came to Britain, there were many words and phrases unfamiliar to him.

Among other things, he was admonished by a guest house madam that he needed to remove his counterpane before sleeping, and had to wrack his brains to find out what on earth a counterpane was; he eventually had to go to a public library and look up the word in a dictionary, (If it had been me, I would have directly asked the woman - Mrs Smegma - what a counterpane was – we can’t know everything.) She also criticized him for numerous things, justly or unjustly, including why twice in a row he had neglected to eat his fried tomato at breakfast,

When in Dover again, he passes by Mrs Smegma´s hotel and reflects that she will now be dead or in a nursing-home. He hopes she is in a nursing-home being reprimanded and demeaned as he was by her.

He begins his trip in London, which he deems to be “the most wonderful city in the world”. He had formerly been a sub-editor at The Times.

Everything was strange to him in Britain. “I saw a man in a newsagent’s ask for “twenty Number Six” and receive cigarettes, and presumed for a long time afterwards that everything was ordered by number in a newsagent´s, like in a Chinese takeaway. I sat for half an hour in a pub before I realized that you had to fetch your own order, then tried the same thing in a tea-room and was told to sit down.”

All the shop ladies called him “love”.

He is travelling around the country by public transport.

He visits the cathedral in Salisbury and is in no doubt that Salisbury cathedral is “the single most beautiful structure in England”. As far as I recall, H.V.Morton believed that Durham cathedral was the absolute loveliest. (The only cathedral I¨ve seen is the one at Chartres, so I wouldn´t know.) Subsequently, Bryson also votes that Durham cathedral is the best “on planet Earth”.

He also visits Stonehenge and finds that you can no longer go up to the stones. I was lucky enough to visit it long ago when I could touch the stones and try to feel their energies.

He goes to Sutton Courtenay where George Orwell is buried and finds the inscription on it to be “curiously terse””, in that it didn’t mention he was a famous author.

He also finds the grave of Herbert Henry Asquith, stating he had been “Prime Minister of England”, which he notes is incorrect, he having been a prime minister of the U.K. Thank you, Bill! The grave was sinking into the ground “in an alarming manner”.

He notes that in Britain people from unprivileged backgrounds are often mysteriously well-educated and “how the most unlikely people will tell you plant names in Latin or turn out to be experts on the politics of ancient Thrace or irrigation techniques at Glanum”. The grand final of a programme like Mastermind is frequently won by “cab drivers and footplatemen”,

Princes Street, in Edinburgh, has been spoilt; all that is left of value/interest being the Balmoral Hotel, the Scott Monument and “part of the front of Jenners Department Store”.

British people have an “innate sense of good manners” and almost any encounter with a stranger begins with the words “I’m terribly sorry but” followed by a request of some sort.

Princes Street was “a scar of architectural regrettabilities”, but George Street and Queen Street looked “positively ravishing”.

Aberdeen was prosperous and clean, but was so much like everywhere else.

He liked Inverness with its 19th-century sandstone castle, fine river, splendid river walks and cathedral.

But it was spoiled by two “sensationally ugly modern office buildings”. They ruined the entire town. One of the buildings, overlooking one of the “handsomest rivers in Britain” was “awful, awful, awful beyond words”.

Bryson takes the train from Inverness to Thurso, the northernmost town on the British mainland. He heads for John O´Groats which he had heard about for years but it turned out it was just a place to stop and buy postcards and ice-cream. He neglects to tell us what he had heard about John O´Groats.

Back in Glasgow, he entertains us by his reproduction of Glaswegian speech, which he doesn’t understand a word of. “D’ye nae a lang roon?” and “D’ye dack ma fanny?” (I don’t know what the person meant either, though in my own experience I always have understood Glaswegians. But then I’m Scottish, not American.)

“D’ye hae a hoo and a poo? - If ye dinna dock ma donny.” He responds by saying “I’m sorry, my ears are very bad.” It seems to me that Bryson is somewhat scared of conflicts. Why doesn’t he just say “Sorry, I don’t understand."

He takes a look at George Square, “the handsomest in Britain”.

Glasgow had “new-found prosperity and polish” but also a sense of “grit and menace” which he found “oddly exhilarating”.

H returns to the Yorkshire Dales, where he lives. He tells us that people there walk right into your house, usually without knocking, so he often had to scurry away in his underwear to hide. (If it were me, I would lock the front door.)

Yorkshire people have the reputation for being mean-spirited and uncharitable when actually they are decent, open and helpful.

He realized what he loved about Britain – all of it. “Every last bit of it, good and bad” - people saying “I’m terribly sorry but”, people apologizing to him when he “conks them with his elbow”, marmite, beans on toast, etc, etc.

What a wondrous place it was, “crazy as f---”, of course”, but adorable.

Lovely to hear that Bill Bryon loves my birth country, and thanks for the book. ( )
  IonaS | Aug 14, 2021 |
Fun all the way, though it is a grumpy, low-key sort of fun. I appreciated his description of himself as a cheap but yet demanding tourist. I learned a few things but I can't remember what they are now. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
Quite well written and fun to read. Of course, I should've picked it up BEFORE I went to live in the UK... ( )
  geoff79 | Jul 11, 2021 |
The first few pages of this are a delight. The rest - eh. Though I do appreciate his feeling for his subject. ( )
  MuggleBorn930 | Jul 11, 2021 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (28 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Bryson, Billprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Bauer, JerryFotografmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Case, DavidFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Gower, NeilMapasmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
McLarty, RonFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Pék, ZoltánOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Roberts, WilliamFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Ruschmeier, SigridOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Torndahl, LenaOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Wilde, Suzan deOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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To Cynthia
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My first sight of England was on a foggy March night in 1973 when I arrived on the midnight ferry from Calais.
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My AA Book of British Towns included lavish and kindly descriptions of every obscure community you could think to name ... but of Retford it maintained a stern and mysterious silence.
I found in My AA Book of British Towns an artist's illustration of central Edinburgh as it might be seen from the air. It showed Princes Street lined from end to end with nothing but fine old buildings. The same was true of all the other artists' impressions of British cities ... You can't do that, you know. You can't tear down fine old structures and pretend they are still there.
[At Blenheim] I took the opportunity to study the miniature steam train. It ran over a decidedly modest length of track across one corner of the rounds. The sight of fifty English people crouched on a little train in a cold drizzle waiting to be taken 200 yards and thinking they were having fun is one that I shall not forget in a hurry.
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En munter, meget personlig beretning om England, skrevet af en amerikaner efter 18 års ophold.

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