From the home of Stylist


Four reasons why you should read this very amusing travel tome

• The place names. After two decades living in the UK, Bill Bryson decides to return home to America. But before he goes, he takes a solo tour of Great Britain to learn more about its history, buildings and eccentricities. Along the way, he encounters the kind of brilliantly-named places you only get here: Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells.

• Eating alone. Bill has many solo dining experiences in the book. He shows us that with a good book and bit of confidence, dining out alone can actually be a fun, life-affirming experience.

• It bigs up GB. We were 16 years old when Note From A Small Islands was published in 1995. Back then, the idea of a staycation was ‘sad’ and our idea of travelling was a sunburnt week spent drinking Bacardi Breezers on the Costa Brava. Reading this book made us more appreciative of the tiny island on which we live.

• The language. Bryson’s writing style is lovely to read, especially some of the comparisons he makes such as: “‘Might turn out nice,’ he announced, gazing hopefully at a sky that looked like a pile of wet towels.” A pile of wet towels. Genius.

Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson (Black Swan, £8.99)


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