Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Road to Little Dribbling

By Bill Bryson

Some twenty years ago, Bill Bryson traveled throughout Britain and recorded his experiences in a book, Notes from a Small Island. He decided to repeat the experience, and the resulting book is The Road to Little Dribbling.
Bryson compares his memory of his trip from twenty years ago to the current situation and often finds things have changed for the worse. Places he wanted to revisit are gone or so changed as to bear little resemblance from what they were the first time. However some are much improved, among them being Stonehenge. He also finds little museums chock full of interesting trivia and engaging displays. But he also finds that Britain is awash in trash and litter and wonders how a country with such beautiful, gracious landscapes can be so indifferent to littering.  On the other hand, he enjoys how much British cuisine has improved since his first trip, as he eats and drinks his way across the land.
Bryson obviously loves his adopted land, warts and all, and finds Britain and it people endlessly fascinating, even when he feeling rather snarky and disagreeable, which is a lot of the time.
Twenty years later, Bryson seems a bit crankier than before but his sense of humor remains firmly intact as he laughs at himself and at the quirky British people.

I enjoyed the book, for the most part, although I did lose interest in it towards the end and let it sit unread for several weeks.  Since I never get to travel and probably never will, this is the closest I can come to going to Britain myself. It was a fun and entertaining read for this "armchair traveler".
For more see The New York Times review at

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