Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Books: The Road to Little Dribbling

If you live in the United Kingdom, then you should read "The Road to Little Dribbling" by Bill Bryson. You may pick up the book even if you are planning to visit this country. However, there is a drawback. If you are unaware of the layout of the country, and it is various subdivisions, you might be lost in the description. For people living outside the country, this book offers an excellent insight into the British way of living and also the British mindset.

This book is primarily a travelogue. It is a sequel to the author's book titled "Notes from a Small Island". At this point, I have to confess I have not read the prequel. After reading the sequel, I am interested in reading the prequel. I am now interested in reading the prequel. The travelogue contains a shade of anthropology because Bill Bryson has lived in this country for decades. Using the years of association, he can provide a unique perspective on British psyche. He conveys his adventures with a flamboyant coating of humour. As a result, we are glued to the novel often smiling if not laughing out aloud.

There are two ways Bill Bryson builds the humour. You will find this style in many of his books and is also a good pointer on creating comedy. While describing an interaction with a third party, Bill Bryson starts explaining the little voice of reason without letting the reader know that the conversation is happening in his mind. So we are surprised at the witty and insulting responses thrown to the third party by Bill Bryson. While we are shocked at the audacity, Bill Bryson tells us that this was an imaginary conversation. Bill Bryson strikes a chord with us because he describes a way in which we all would like to let our steam out in such a situation, but we do not because we are prisoners of good behaviour and upbringing.

The second way Bill Bryson adopts is equivalent to the sleight of hand tricks performed by a magician. A magician forces our attention to a different object to perform a magic act. Similarly, Bill Bryson begins with a problem. Then swiftly moves on to a different topic. As a reader, we seldom notice this shift. The new item eventually ends up in a dilemma. Then he connects the new issue with the conversation he started in the form of a hypothesis. The contrast of the new topic and the correlating hypothesis makes us end up with a belly aching laugh.

This book gives a glimpse of British life. You may be an armchair traveller, a person who loves to travel or a resident of the United Kingdom. Regardless, you will enjoy this book. Your takeaways will differ depending on who you are. You may get to know a little about the people inhabiting this island. You may realise there are stereotypes. Whatever be your personal discovery, you will be doing that with a big smile.

Tags: Books,Bill Bryson,British




1 comment:

  1. Hi Nona

    I read your review of Tim Parks' Italian Ways on Amazon and I wondered whether you would be interested in having a look at my about to be published "Living in Italy: the Real Deal - How to survive the Good Life".
    The book contains sixty short stories about my adventures as a Dutch expat who moved to Italy in 2008 to start a bed and breakfast. It is the translation of the Dutch original that met with considerable success (sold 3000 copies) and had very positive readers' reviews.

    Author bio:
    Stef Smulders was born in The Netherlands in 1960 and moved with husband Nico and their dog to Italy in 2008 to start bed-and-breakfast Villa I Due Padroni in the beautiful wine region Oltrepò Pavese south of Milan. In 2014 he published his first volume of short, anecdotical stories (in Dutch) about daily life among the Italians entitled "Italiaanse Toestanden". It was well received by readers, leading to a second volume of witty anecdotes. A third volume is to be published spring 2017.

    Book summary:
    In 2008 the author emigrated to Italy, bringing husband and dog along, to start Bed & Breakfast Villa I Due Padroni. But a lot of hurdles had to be taken before the first guests could be accommodated. In 2014 Stef reported about his adventures in buying and reconstructing the house, obtaining a tax number and a bank account, registering at the commune and at the national health service, importing their car and a range of other things that lead to a myriad of bureaucratic troubles. These problems were always resolved in a truly Italian fashion, leading to raised Dutch eyebrows and hilarious scenes. As a reader you will encounter a range of characteristic Italians, from sympathetic to villainous, from moving to shameless. Real Italians of flesh and blood, sometimes cliché, somtimes surprisingly original. But always worth encountering.

    Goodreads page:
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32572055-living-in-italy

    Have a look at my presentation page as well with fragments and a sneak preview if you like:
    http://italiaanse-toestanden.duepadroni.it/index-UK.html

    I could send you the epub or pdf if you want to.

    Hope to hear from you
    Cari saluti
    Stef

    ReplyDelete

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