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In a sunburned country / by Bill Bryson.
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Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 May 2000
/*Starred Review*/ A new book by the world's funniest--and perhaps most eccentric--travel writer is always cause for rejoicing. Unlike many of his peers, who focus on typical destinations or touristy experiences, Bryson seeks out the odd, the little known, the one-of-a-kind, and the just plain weird. In his latest offering, which chronicles his exploration of Australia, he introduces us to a town that went without electricity until the early 1990s, a former high-ranking politician who hawks his own autobiography to passersby, an assortment of coffee shops and restaurants (Bryson is particularly fond of meal breaks), a type of giant worm, and the world's most poisonous creature, the box jellyfish. Bryson's use of language is unparalleled (he's also written two excellent books about the English language), and it is sheer delight to sink into his prose, especially his hysterical, enlightening, and sometimes moving descriptions of people and places we've never even imagined. His books are, quite simply, among the best and most rewarding travel literature ever written--head, shoulders, and torso above most of the competition--and this new title is a guaranteed winner. ((Reviewed May 1, 2000))Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews
LJ Reviews 2000 January #1
Bryson toughs it out in Australia. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2000 June #1
Bryson (A Walk in the Woods) is one heck of a witty, intelligent, wry, opinionated, frequently salacious, and always entertaining writer whose books are a treat not to be denied. Here he tackles Australia, basing his views of this unique continent on a tour he took of the entire country something few people, including Australians, have ever done. It's all here: the convict history, the love/hate affair with England, the vastness, and Australia's most fascinating inhabitants (apart from koalas) its colorful, quirky people. Bryson has a gift for making common things seem exceptional; everything from cricket to politics to place names is described in a manner that both educates and entertains. Anyone planning to attend the Sydney Olympics, thinking of an Australian vacation, or simply looking for a darn good book should must read the latest from an author who has covered everything from the origins of the English language to the marvels of rural America with skill and humor. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/00.] Joseph L. Carlson, Lompoc P.L., CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
PW Reviews 2000 May #3
With the Olympics approaching, books on Australia abound. Still, Bryson's lively take is a welcome recess from packaged, staid guides. The author of A Walk in the Woods draws readers in campfire-style, relating wacky anecdotes and random facts gathered on multiple trips down under, all the while lightening the statistics with infusions of whimsical humor. Arranged loosely by region, the book bounces between Canberra and Melbourne, the Outback and the Gold Coast, showing Bryson alone and with partners in tow. His unrelenting insistence that Australia is the most dangerous place on earth ("If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback") spins off dozens of tales involving jellyfish, spiders and the world's 10 most poisonous snakes. Pitfalls aside, Bryson revels in the beauty of this country, home to ravishing beaches and countless unique species ("80% of all that lives in Australia, plant and animal, lives nowhere else"). He glorifies the country, alternating between awe, reverence and fear, and he expresses these sentiments with frankness and candor, via truly funny prose and a conversational pace that is at once unhurried and captivating. Peppered with seemingly irrelevant (albeit amusing) yarns, this work is a delight to read, whether or not a trip to the continent is planned. First serial to Outside magazine; BOMC selection. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
While there is only a few reviews, it strikes me as weird this book only gets 2.8. There are obviously a few people who are hard to entertain. This is a beautiful book. I need not shout from the the roof tops, Bryson is a treasure. This might be his best.
Entertains and informs
I loved this book. It is possibly my favorite travel book I've ever read. Bryson's voice is endearing. Besides his own entertaining stories of travel, he has great research. I thought I knew most of the weird things in Australia, like platypuses, Portuguese-man-o-wars, and all the poisonous critters, but Bryson tells of so many more strange things I'd never heard before. Such as the missing Prime Minister and giant worms. I am recommending this book to everyone I talk to lately.
This was the first Bryson I've read and I am hooked. I loved all the scientific and geological background info sprinkled in. Reminded me of Michener in that respect. A great book for aficionados of travel writing, Australiaphiles, or appreciators of satire.
Bryson is one of the best known and most well-written travel writers today and In a Sunburned Country is an excellent introduction to his work. He takes readers on an outrageous tour of the land Down Under that goes far beyond packaged-tour routes, leaving no Vegemite sandwich unsavored. As he explores Australia, the reader is introduced to the majesty of Ayers Rock, the peril of a country that boasts more poisonous creatures than anywhere else on Earth, and the vast size and considerable diversity of the continent. Bestselling author Bryson Part travelogue, part history, and always entertaining, In a Sunburned Country does for Australia what Bryson''s other books have done for the U.K. and the Appalachian Trail.
An Evergreen Library favorite!
Bryson has gone well and truly off the beaten track to explore many different parts of Australia including the cities, the outback, the tropics, and everything else in between. It is stereo-type free - finally! - MW
Mr. Bryson writes well on a good subject, supplying odd & intersting info and local color. However, every 15-20 pages he inserts a bit of bathroom humor or very explicit sexual innuendo, none of which is needed.
Australia’s outback: barren, vast, and scolding temperatures. It’s thousands of kilometers both north-south and east-west, big enough for a Japanese doomsday cult to set off the world’s first non-governmental atomic bomb and it not be discovered until four years later. It is home to “more things that will kill you than anywhere else” (Bryson 6). All of this is nothing for 57-year old Bill Bryson and Trevor Ray Hart, who venture out into this, one of the world’s largest deserts. Traveling both land and air Bryson crosses the barren wasteland that, even now, we do not know much about. Bryson’s educational writing, along with his own brand of witty humor, makes for a side-splitting page turner. I highly recommend this book for anyone ready for an educational adventure laced with humor.
In a Sunburned Country
After traveling several times to the continent of Australia, Bryson attempts in 307 pages to give us an overview of this amazing and largely ignored continent/country. Doing extensive reading and research before venturing out, Bryson entertains us with unique factoids such as the country's prime minister going for a dip in the sea and disappearing never to be seen again and yet news of this is barely publized outside the borders of Australia. And as a twist of irony, the Australian government names a public pool after the prime minister as a memorial! Traveling by air and car, Bryson crisscrosses the continent from north to south and east to west observing the quite distinct differences in climate, topography, flora and fauna. He humorously points out that Australia contains more poisonous plants and animals than any other continent on Earth yet we rarely hear about them. For anyone traveling to Australia or just wanting a good read about a relatively unknown country, Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country" would be an excellent start.