Tuesday, March 21, 2006


#11: In a Sunburned Country

Sorry I don't have a picture to offer because I'm not posting this from my own computer. I am actually at Venus the Reader's favorite library. I have been enjoying my visit with my good friend Venus and I have been anticipating posting from her library for the past several days. Unfortunately I have not completely finished the book that I am posting about. I am only about 50 pages from the end so I promise not to go to bed without finishing the book. I will never do this again but this is a special circumstance.

Before I discuss the book, I would like to take a moment to discuss the library. I would imagine the library is about 500 billion square feet with about 300 trillion books on 3 different floors. It is very modern and pleasant. When I walked in I almost pooped my pants. But who's to say if it is this library or the fact that every time I go to a library the smell of the books stimulates my bowels in such a way that I almost always have to visit the restroom. What is wrong with me!?!?

Alright review time! As I said before I am almost finished reading In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. This book has done nothing but amaze me from the very first page. Bill Bryson is a popular travel writer with great wit, sarcasm, and a wealth of knowledge. In a Sunburned Country documents Bill Bryson's travels around the great island, country, and continent known as Australia. I will make a couple comments about the book and then I will leave you with a thought from Bill himself.

Much of Bill's travels are slightly mundane but I find myself laughing out loud often as I'm reading. He spends a great deal of time driving around the giant island of Australia and seemingly an equal amount of time in local bars. What is so fascinating about this book is Bryson's knowledge of the history, culture, wildlife, and whatever else you ever wanted to know about Australia. He presents this information in such a way that I want to fly to Australia right now to experience the people and the land. I have learned about the Australian Gold Rush, the prime minister who vanished in the ocean, the many breeds of poisonous snakes and spiders, box jellyfish, Australian politics, the crazy people from Queensland, patterns of immigration to Australia, the infamous Ned Kelly, Aborigines, and much much more. As I sit and watch Jeopardy! everyday at 4:30, I find myself hoping for a category or even a question about Australia because I am certain that I have obtained a wealth of knowledge from this book that will not fail me in a gameshow even as difficult as Jeopardy!. The most important thing I have to say about this book (and anything by Bill Bryson for that matter) is check it out and read it. I will leave you with a one his thoughts from the book.

Writing about a small town in the outback: "The permanent population is about 80. They exist in a listless world of heat and dust. If you were looking for people with the tolerance and fortitude to colonize Mars, this would be the place to come."

Two items:

1. Incredible quote. It is both true and awesome, so kudos to Bill for writing it and to Super Anne for quoting it.

2. Way to go stick to your guns in terms of putting that exclamation point in the title of "Jeopardy!" even though it was at the end of your sentence (thus ending with the semi-awkward !.) I'm in total agreement with the decision you made. Sure, the !. is not seen often, but it's not your fault that the title of the show has some puncuation in it. Putting the exclamation point in shows your commitment to the truth, which I as a reader really appreciate. Oh also, the book seems cool.
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