Tuesday, May 12, 2015
In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is a good and prolific writer. Previously he generated a best seller on his walk over a large portion of the Appalachian Trail called "A Walk In The Woods". He generated this book in time for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Over the span of multiple visits, he experienced all the major Australian cities and quite a few road houses throughout the country to give a humorous and reasonably factual look at this large country (about the size of the U.S. lower 48) with somewhat fewer people than live in Canada.
The result is a fun read that is worthwhile even if you never visit Australia. Having gone there once and seen just a little of what he writes about, he captures the essence of the country nicely. His description of their maddening little flys is just right. His description of all the snakes, spiders, plants, aquatic animals and who knows what else that can kill you in an instant is right on target. When Jackie and I visited a remote park with a sign of all the dangerous denizens within, we could encounter not only something called a Death Adder, but a different snake called a Common Death Adder. Somehow knowing something with death in the name is that common was a bit off-putting. Bryson has many stories giving Australia its due as a country to be respected and admired, and you'll probably laugh out loud a number of times while reading them. A good summer read.