Guide The Lost Continent

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I admit I was chuckling a lot during his first few pages, and even occasionally throughout the rest of his book. However, it wasn't before too long that his book just began to annoy me. Every attempt at humor in his book, besides some self-deprecation or making fun of his family, is targeted shots at those who are different from him. Bryson's book seems like a good example of how to enact the construction of "normal. Here's a few jokes thrown at you.

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An accent that isn't accepted as standard? He'll mock you incessantly. Differently abled and in the same room as Bryson? You're there for one purpose alone: to stare at because you're a freak. I haven't quite finished the book, and I probably will I only have about 50 pages left , but I have to say I'm greatly disappointed. The sour icing smothered the cake when he announced that, feeling incredibly visible and alone in a nearly all black Southern town, that he now knew what it was like to be black in South Dakota.

I beg your pardon, Mr. Bryson, but you have no idea what it's like to be black anywhere. It seems like the only group not worth mocking in his book are queer folk, and that's probably because they are so invisible to him that they're not even on the radar to mock. Jokes about other people can be amazingly funny, but a book constructed completely on mocking others, a book that seems to function mostly as a reinforcement of normalcy, fails to continue to be funny.

It's just tiring. I should have picked up Atwood's book instead. Mar 29, Adam rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Americans, Midwesterners, People coming to America and those that want to 'get outta here'.

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Shelves: travel , humor , autobiographical-novel , travelogue. Ha, oh America! As much as I hesitated to read a travelogue about America while living abroad I mean, shouldn't I be reading about my host country , my diminishing pile of books from home lead me to this humorous Bryson tale. I've now had a couple of encounters with Bryson's writing and each time, seem to grow more and more fond of his haphazard style of not only traveling but writing as well. How many other authors dare pay tribute to their deceased housmaid in the middle of a book or drop in ra Ha, oh America!

How many other authors dare pay tribute to their deceased housmaid in the middle of a book or drop in random facts about world happenings in irrelevant places? Now that's the type of stuff that keeps you on your toes! As for the undying cynicism, well, what do you expect? The man left America to live in Britain of all places! I mean, come on, obviously he's going to find Friday night football and town hall meetings a bit trite! Personally I find his accounts of each state absolutely hilarious!

Bryson's omnipresent cynicism and nack for pointing out the obvious with out regards to political correctness bring a bit of truth to 'small town America' that is probably often lost or overlooked in any other true 'guidebook. Each trip through each state is as steroetypically perfect as is the idea of a fat white man calling a long circular drive across an entire continent with no particular destination a 'vacation. Jul 16, Tara rated it did not like it Shelves: our-modern-malaise , landscape-politics. How can a man think he's seen America if he refuses to get out of his car?

Bill Bryson perfectly embodies what Wendell Berry would describe as a "failure to encounter": Bryson doesn't encounter America.

He doesn't find it. He treats it like a disposable tissue, with as little interest in where it came from and in where it's going.


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Our nation does have a problem in rampant, mindless consumption, but along with our possibly fatal flaws are millions of fascinating people, good hearts, heartbreaki How can a man think he's seen America if he refuses to get out of his car? Our nation does have a problem in rampant, mindless consumption, but along with our possibly fatal flaws are millions of fascinating people, good hearts, heartbreaking tales, catastrophic disasters, systematic abuses of horror and hatred, and sublime skies and lands which claim our devotion even when our nation's history seems like one long, miserable tragedy.

How did Bryson have the audacity to write a book about America and not visit an inner-city slum? How could he fail to get out and talk to the Native Americans in South Dakota, rather than just dismissing the state as 'empty'? How could he treat the Sequoias so thoughtlessly, be so little moved by the sadness and beauty of the Old South, the haunting eeriness of West Texas, how could he miss the pretty, solid, dependable beauty of Maine, or the sorrow of loss that arises as each new suburban development imposes the same mask over the gorgeous landscape that is our home?

How did Bryson get paid for this? How did he miss his own country? I cannot understand.

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Jan 14, Sharon rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , memoirs. Probably just as hysterical as Neither Here Nor There: Travels Through Europe , but I enjoyed it a tad less, as it was more of the same thing Europe , I suppose, was far too fresh in my mind.

For that reason alone, I'll be spacing the rest of Bryson's books out. Nonetheless, what an absolute gift to travel alongside Bryson as he makes his way through America. I learned so much along the way I've added Colonial Williamsburg and the Henry Ford museum as "must-sees" as a result of the read but wh Probably just as hysterical as Neither Here Nor There: Travels Through Europe , but I enjoyed it a tad less, as it was more of the same thing Europe , I suppose, was far too fresh in my mind.

I learned so much along the way I've added Colonial Williamsburg and the Henry Ford museum as "must-sees" as a result of the read but what was the most charming, was how the book is now quite dated it was first published in Two of my favorite examples: "As we were driving we listened to a radio talk show hosted by a man named Howard Stern. Howard Stern had a keen interest in sex and was engagingly direct with his callers. Oh, god yes. Some of my favorite random passages: On his homestate, Iowa: "In Iowa you are the center of attention, the most interesting thing to hit town since a tornado carried off old Frank Sprinkel and his tractor last May.

Everybody you meet acts like he would gladly give you his last beer and let you sleep with his sister. Everyone is happy and friendly and strangely serene. On Amish Country, Pennsylvania and the different sects: " He was involved in the daintiest questions of decor, even when he was away on military campaigns.

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson

It was strangely pleasing to imagine him at Valley Forge, with his troops dropping dead of cold and hunger, agonizing over the purchase of lace ruffs and tea cozies. What a great guy. What a hero. When you see what a tranquil and handsome place Mount Vernon is, and what an easy and agreeable life he led there, you wonder why he bothered. Almost all the portraits of him were done by, or copied from the works of, Charles Willson Peale.

For ninety seconds the machine just poured out money, a waterfall of silver. When it stopped, the woman regarded the pile without pleasure and began feeding it back into the machine. I felt sorry for her. It was going to take her all night to get rid of that kind of money. He sits there in his big high chair looking grand and yet kindly. There was a pigeon on his head. There is always a pigeon on his head. I wondered idly if the pigeon thought that all the people who came every day were there to look at him. Big bowls of ice!

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You could take Mother Teresa to a K Mart and she would get depressed. K Marts are always full of the sort of people who give their children names that rhyme: Lonnie, Donnie, Ronnie, Connie, Bonnie. The woman always weighs pounds. Nov 07, Miranda Reads rated it really liked it Shelves: audiobook.

As my father always used to tell me, 'You see, son, there's always someone in the world worse off than you. He reflects on many a good adventure with his family and, in particular, his father. Wholly entertaining and engaging! Audiobook Comments Read by William Roberts - and he did a fab job. But, it's a pet peeve when an author tells such a personal story but doe As my father always used to tell me, 'You see, son, there's always someone in the world worse off than you.

But, it's a pet peeve when an author tells such a personal story but doesn't narrate his own house. Blog Instagram Twitter It was fun to have her chuckle also. It also made the wait go by so much quicker.

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This book was like experiencing a road trip across small-town America with a very witty and observant travel guide. Everywhere else in America towns are named either after the first white person to get there or the last Indian to leave. But the Amish obviously gave the matter of town names some thought and graced their communities with intriguing, not to say provocative, appellations: Blue Ball, Bird in Hand, and Intercourse, to name but three. Intercourse makes a good living by attracting passers-by such as me who think it the height of hilarity to send their friends and colleagues postcards with an Intercourse postal mark and some droll sentiment scribbled on the back.

While Bryson can be funny at times, I quickly grew tired of him and eventually he just annoyed me with this one. I would have stopped in the middle, but for my book club's sake, I plodded through, skimming some sections toward the end.