Read: because I always pick up a book when I visit somewhere (Black Swan, 368 pages)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (finished 4/27/10)
Synopsis: This celebration of the English countryside does not only focus on the rolling green landscapes and magnificent monuments that set England apart from the rest of the world. Many of the contributors bring their own special touch, presenting a refreshingly eclectic variety of personal icons, from pub signs to seaside piers, from cattle grids to canal boats, and from village cricket to nimbies.
Overall Impression: This book was compiled to show off England’s hidden treasures — things that most people wouldn’t glance twice at, but that make England, well, England. The royalties for the book support the Campaign to Protect Rural England, of which Bryson is the president. As with most books of essays, this one had some that I liked a lot and quite a few that were completely unmemorable. Most fell somewhere in between — a nice little diversion but nothing special. Each essay was short — between 1 and 3 pages, which meant that Bryson was able to cram A LOT of different essays into this book. My favorite essays included Let’s Talk About the Weather, Those Special Places, Reading the Signs, The Bard’s Own River, and The Light of Day.
Pros: A nice little diversion. I read a few here and there until one day there were no more. A couple essays were absolutely wonderful. It was a nice way to raise money to support the upkeep of Britain’s less-valued treasures.
Cons: I don’t remember half of the essays — many of them were just “meh.”
Other books I’ve read by Bill Bryson: A Walk in the Woods, In a Sunburned Country, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, The Mother Tongue, Shakespeare, and Notes from a Small Island
Other books I’ve read from authors featured in this book: none
Other blogger reviews: none