GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / BOOK MY PLACE – I rarely laugh out loud when I am reading but do so with almost every page of Bill Bryson‘s Notes From a Big Country. His Notes From a Small Island was written during his twenty years living in the small village next to my home village on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. That saw the quirks of the English through the eyes of an American.
Notes From a Big Country was the fruit of his return to the USA with his English wife and family. The weekly essays are just three pages long (perfect for a bedtime read) and in each of them, he examines yet another quirk of the American way of life, seen through the eyes of someone who is now feeling rather like an outsider.
Moose hunting, for example, astounds him. How can his fellow Americans fork out for one of the treasured licenses to shoot one of the dumbest creatures on earth? Machines, beaurocracy, baseball, basements,the horrors of American TV, 75 flavours of ice cream – the list is endless. “Bitch, bitch, bitch!” says his wife as he complains about the absurdity of his fellow Americans, but he also evokes the beauty of New Hampshire winters and the joys of living in the country he left in his youth.