EPUB (The Lost Continent Travels in Small Town America) by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson ☆ 4 SummaryIt s funny how so many Americans begin their Der Struwwelpeter reviews of The Lost Continent with statements such as I loved Bryson s other books but this one is terrible all because he treats America the same way as he treats everywhere and everyone elseSo while many Americans think it s acceptable hilarious even for Bryson to make disparaging but witty comments about non Americans and the places they call home it is an utter outrage for him to be anything other than completely worshipful withegard to America and AmericansThe unavoidable undeniable fact of the matter is that Bill Bryson s The Lost Continent is not only one of his finest works but one of the best books ever written by anyone in Greater Than a Tourist - Wadi Rum Jordan: 50 Travel Tips from a Local recent times about the USA and AmericansIt is as funny as anything you ll everead as well as being touching poignant and fascinating It is the first book I ve Reprobates: The Cavaliers of the English Civil War read since Neither Here Nor There also by Bryson that has caused me to think of calling my travel agentAmerica has never been half as interesting as it is in The Lost Continent and Americans ought to be supremely grateful it was written and publishedFive stars and highlyecommended I come from Des Moines Somebody had to When you come from Des Moines you either accept the fact without uestion and settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever or you spend your adolescence moaning at length about what a dump it is and how you can t wait to get out and then you settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and everSo begins Bill Bryson s book about Night of the Machete Man returning to his childhood home after living in England for a decade The above isn t that much different from what many people would write about the place where they grew up and from which they left at the first opportunityBut there s He goes on to write that hardly anyone ever leaves This is because Des Moines is the most powerful hypnotic known to man Okay I can see how a young man especially one who has traded Iowa for England might have the sameeaction to the place he leftBut he s not throughWhen I was growing up I used to think that the best thing about coming from Des Moines was that it meant you didn t come from anywhere else in Iowa By Iowa standards Des Moines is a mecca of cosmopolitanism During the annual state high school basketball tournament when the hayseeds from out in the state would flood into the city for a week we used to accost them downtown and snidely offer to show them how to Sacraments and Worship: The Sources of Christian Theology ride an escalator or negotiate aevolving doorAnd you know what I was beginning to believe that the condescending little smart aleck probably did just that smart aleck being a euphemism for another euphemism There s Iowa women are almost sensationally overweight I bet they loved eading this book in Iowa especially the womenHoweverAbove all Iowans are friendly You go into a strange diner in the South and everything goes uiet and you ealize all the other customers are looking at you as if they are sizing up the Ideas for a New Century risk involved in murdering you for your wallet and leaving your body in a shallow grave somewhere out in the swampsI bet they lovedeading this book in the SouthAll of this is the beginning of Bryson s first travel book which was published in 1989 when he was thirty six years old and still just as susceptible to boredom as he was as a child whining in the backseat of the car when the family took Mein geteiltes Herz road trip vacations to places that he didn t like And theeason he didn t like them was because he lacked the imagination that would have allowed him to see beyond the monotonous scenery of certain areas that could have made him appreciate the area s history and uniuenessI know the above to be true because the same tendencies were apparent in the thirty six year old man who wrote a bookHe spent a fall and a spring traveling in two huge loops one in the east and one in the west almost 14000 miles touching barely in many cases thirty eight states and found most of those miles and those states to be boring His idea of humor was to make fun at the expense of the people he encountered Kurs Auf Den Eisberg rarely ever engaging them in conversationHere is the lengthiest conversation with a local that heecorded in the book I was headed for Cairo Illinois which is pronounced Kay Zeitpunkt Der Bestimmung Des Geschlechts, Apogamie, Parthenogenesis Und Reduktionsteilung (Classic Reprint) ro I don t know why At Cairo I stopped for gas and in fact did ask the old guy who doddered out to fill my tank why they pronounced Cairo as they did Because that s its name he explained as if I were kind of stupid But the one in Egypt is pronounced Ki Ro So I ve heard agreed the man And most people when they see the name think Kio don t they Not in Kay Fraktale und Finanzen ro they don t he said a little hotly There didn t seem to be much to be gained by pursuing the point so I let itest there and I still don t know why the people call it Kay Report on Radiation and the Quantum-Theory, 1914 (Classic Reprint) ro Nor do I know why any citizen of a free country would choose to live in such a dump however you pronounce itThe shame is that if Ian Frazier the author of Great Plains had wondered about the name and why people lived in such a town he would have found out and he would have let theeader know And so would have Rinker Buck who traveled the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon from St Joseph Missouri all the way to Oregon and wrote about it in The Oregon Trail A New American JourneyMuch of Buck s journey was along the Platte River in Nebraska a state that Bryson barely nicked in the southeast corner of the state proclaiming that Nebraska must be the most unexciting of all the states It isn t but even if it was he didn t know enough about the state to make that judgment This was my second Clay-Pot Cookbook reading of Bryson s book Iemembered that when I ead it in the early 90s that there was some humor that made me chuckle but there was also much that was so obnoxious that it made me cringe a little of that went a long way My eread doesn t change that assessmentWhat it did do was cause me to Prey By The Ganges read Great Plains for the third time and The Oregon Trail for the first time They sit side by side on my favorites shelf Iecommend them bothAs for Bryson he mellowed somewhat in the many books that followed I have no way of knowing but perhaps he Amandas Guide to Love (Bistro La Bohème received some blowback about the harshness of the humor that heesorted to at other peoples expense I have ead nearly everything that
"he later wrote "later wrote through the years and the humor is still prevalent but it has lost some of the bitter edge that characterized this book And that s a good thing This is the worst book ever Bryson is a fat cynical white guy traveling around the country proclaiming in the subtitle Travels in Small Town America But like most fat white guys Bryson is scared of small town America He hates every small town he comes to whether they e on Indian eservations small farming communities in Nebraska southern towns full of African Americans where the author is too scared to even stop the car or small mining communities in West Virginia also where the author is too scared to stop How can you write a book about small town America when you e too scared to stop in any small towns His favorite towns Pittsburg and Charlotte Definitely small in my worldDriving through the north woods crossing the border from Maine to New Hampshire The skies were still flat and low the weather cold but at least I was out of the montony of the Maine woodsIn Littleton on the Vermont border People on the sidewalk smiled at me as I passed This was beginning to worry me Nobody even in America is that friendly What did they want from meAt a cemetery in Vermont I stood there in the mile October sunshine feeling so sorry for all these lukles speople and their lost lives Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century reflecting bleakly on mortality and my own dear cherished family so far away in England and I thought Well fuck this and walked back down the hill to the carAt least he freelyefers to himself as a flinty hearted jerk offMaybe Mr Bryson should get off his lazy ass stop whining about England and actually stop the car once in a while This book spouts so much hateful white guy Queenie and Tom a Feline Romance racism that I can t even bring myself to give it away While I am 100% against burning or destroying any kind of book I simply cannot let this one leave my hands It will probably just find someone who agrees with it s horrible twisted and pessimistic point of view I haven t decided if I m going to just bury it in my storage space which may mean when I leave my apartment someone else might pick it up or accidentally drop it in a snowbank outside At least in spring the pages would all be glued together and no one would be able toead it ever again I come from Des Moines Somebody had to When you come from Des Moines you either accept the fact without uestion and settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever or you spend your adolescence moaning at length about what a dump it is and how you can t wait to get out and then you settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever Bill Bryson The Lost Continent Give me chance to explain I know that Bill Bryson is a hugely successful internationally bestselling author I know his books are on the shelves of millions Heck even I own one the entertaining easily digestible One SummerBut The Lost Continent is not good It is in fact an absolute bummer I would not ecommend it at any time but especially not in these particular days of division discord and fear Part of my eaction I see now was shock Shock that this super popular writer could have produced something like this I stumbled across The Lost Continent uite by accident It was
on my wife s personal bookshelf which is to say it was in a cardboard box under our bed and Imy wife s personal bookshelf which is to say it was in a cardboard box under our bed and I it while looking for a shoeThe premise a thirty eight state tour of America purportedly focusing on small towns seemed charming and sweet a marvelous opportunity to hit the backroads and find beauty in simplicity Sure there d probably be some light ibbing at the expense of ural folk yet I was certain we d ultimately end at a place of warmth and conciliation Well turns out my assumptions were wrong This book is garbage I hated it with every fiber of my being From the first page to the last This is awful It is spiteful mean heartless uninspired offensive insulting unfunny uninterested and dreary At its best it is punching down At its worst it is close to hateful The Lost Continent is a book to take your mood whatever it is and drive it down like a nail pounded into soft mud by a sledgehammer In other words not the best thing to be eading in 2020 while America falls apart In all honesty this might have played a part in my eaction As noted above Bryson has an incredibly lofty Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes reputation This was also his first book so he was probably still working on his voice But these pages many of them filled with my furious annotations feel like the work of an anti intellectual knuckle dragging mouth breatherThe execution of The Lost Continent is coldepetitive an. 'I come from Des Moines Somebody had to'And as soon as Bill Bryson was old enough he left Des Moines couldn't hold him but it did lure him back After ten years in England he eturned to the land of his youth and drove almost 14000 miles in search of a mythical small town called Amalgam the kind of trim and sunny place where the films of his D soul wearying Bryson goes to a place spends five minutes there declares it boring and leaves in a cloud of gutter level playground insults He uses that descriptor boring so many times I stopped counting Over and over again It is the absolute height of obnoxiousness My three year old says it s boring a lot Bryson was thirty six when he wrote this I would never slap my kids Bryson on the other handnever mind The only joke that works in The Lost Continent is a meta one To wit Bryson despite all his sneering at the non people he meets comes off as the dumbest asshole in the ealm He adds nothing to any conversation He does not make a single acute observation He is a lackluster faux adventurer who finds only one thing in each new place a eason to despise it Mostly his easons contradict themselves The waitresses are either too friendly or not friendly enough The hotels are either too small or too large The small towns are either too dumpy or too perfect In the midst of this mess of ill considered thoughts Bryson somehow avoids putting two ideas together even by accident There is not a single insight about America worth Darkness Light repeating I loveoad trips Like eally eally love them When I first got married my wife and I blazed a path thousands of miles long through Missouri Tennessee Mississippi Louisiana Texas New Mexico Arizona Kansas and Oklahoma sniffing out historic sites and accumulating est stop maps and collecting gas station sunglasses and having the best time of our lives Every day we just woke up and drove finding someplace new Sometimes when our four kids are simultaneously complaining about everything in a Bryson like manner we think back to those days when every oad was an opportunity You almost can t go wrong with a oad trip With Bryson as your seatmate though I d prefer Third Class tickets on the Titanic His gimmick is aging frat boy a tired m lange of casual misogyny occasional f bombs and an inability for self eflection the constant fat shaming of women for instance is odd since based on his cover photo he s not exactly Brad Pitt from Thelma and Louise One has to uestion how with the oad before him a map beside him and all the time that he needed Bryon went into this project with the mindset of a person on a death marchI had fair warning within the first few pages Things start off badly and get worse Bryson begins by claiming his birthright as a Midwesterner Specifically he is from Des Moines Iowa This opening gambit is a transparent pose For some eason people believe that claiming membership of a group gives them an open season license to fire at will Here Bryson thinks he can be as outrageous as he wants since he s ostensibly just another small towner no different from the people he s slagging But that s not true Bryson was born in Iowa but he s lived the majority of his life in London and he wastes no time establishing his superiority and Anglophilia You see that in the way he talks about Des Moines a description that is just at odds with Not Handsome Enough reality Yes Des Moines is in Iowa No despite Bryson s allegations it is not comprised solely of overweight women at the Merle Hay Mall Rather it is the state capital of Iowa with a cool capitol building a college town Drake University founded in 1881 and host to a uniue internationally known event the Drake Relays It is a modern city But to hear Bryson describe it everyone is still going potty in an outhouse while looking upwards in abject horror whenever a flying machine passes overhead Bryson is clearly a brainy guy Yet oddly The Lost Continent presents very little by way of factoids or trivia in contrast to One Summer which was constructed entirely of factoids Here though Bryson is absolutely un curious and unuestioning Take the Merle Hay Mall It s not just a gathering place for the overweight It s named for Merle Hayeputed to be the first American soldier killed in World War I Why do I know that Because I used to drive through Des Moines on a bimonthly basis I saw the name thought it was interesting and I went home and looked it up In all the thousands of miles
THAT BRYSON TRAVELED I DON T THINK HE ONCEBryson traveled I don t think he once something down and said I should look that up In short He Does Not Care The Lost Continent is oughly divided into two parts East and West In both the setup is the same Bryson who has been overseas for twenty years setup is the same Bryson who has been overseas for twenty years in his mom s Chevette and starts driving It s a simple excellent idea and it jumpstarted a long and lucrative career in which he has morphed into a beloved literary figure That s uite a turn because The Lost Continent is mostly about Bryson badmouthing all that he surveys Unsurprisingly Iowa gets slammed Surprisingly Bryson slams it by comparing it to the Sorrentine Coast which is in Italy and is also a place where the land meets the ocean Is it eally fair no strike that Is it Busy Park really coherent to compare a landlocked state to an ocean coast No it s not That doesn t matter to Bryson because he has only three tools in his toolbox Fat Women Jokes Corn Jokes and Euro elitismThat s not entirely accurate He also finds time for some sub Seinfeldiffs on the commercials he watches in his hotel Beer Law: What Brewers Need to Know room You haven t been introduced to Not Funny until you ve seen Bryson crack wise about Preparation H Honestly you d be better off sniffing a ton of modeling glueather than exposing yourself to this The list of places that Bryson goes is long and merges together into one endless complaint He doesn t like Hannibal Missouri or Mark Twain s home He doesn t like the Mississippi River dull or Gettysburg boring or the Smokey Mountains beautiful but too many fat tourists Because he wants to spread his unamusing misanthropy as far as possible he even goes to big cities Las Vegas New York City so he can complaint about them tooNothing can possibly please him The incident that GIS and Fr�uleins: The German-American Encounter in 1950s West Germany really stands out is when Bryson goes to Yosemite National Park one of the most beautiful places in the entire world Of course he concludes it is nothing but a massive disappointment Why you might ask Because it is busy that is filled with tourists who are you guessed it fat and because he got lost Two uick points The first of course it s busy it s Yosemite National Park one of the most beautiful places in the world It s not some dank chippy in Lambeth where you can just sit all day by yourself in a dark corner sipping Carling and despising everything The second Bryson getting lost is his own stinking fault I went to Yosemite with friends some years ago Since it was packed being one of the most beautiful etc etc we drove directly to the Ranger Station and simply asked the Ranger where we could go to get away from the crowds The Ranger answered our uestion and we hiked for five days With the exception of the day we went up Half Dome we didn t see another soul The point of course is that Yosemite is massive You can get lost in it and not on theoads like Bryson but in the miles and miles and miles of backcountry paths Bryson though goes to this place of incredible wonder and beauty and is just disgusted because there are others around him Then he leaves and goes to a crappy hotel oom to drink beer and watch television like he does every night If he had put forth the minutest effort instead of whinging about every damn thing he might have experienced something That s not his way though He prefers to take drive by potshots at the world which he clearly believes is meant for him alone without ever getting out of his Chevette and interacting with his environment It is striking how few people Bryson actually speaks with in
"the course of "course of interminable pages Unlike Tony Horwitz in Confederates in the Attic which is how you do a travel memoir Bryson can t engage in any meaningful interactions This is not terribly shocking since he comes off as a gaseous prick Nevertheless it is worth mentioning as it is symptomatic of Bryson s extremely dark view of humanity To him the people in these small towns are not people at all They are creatures They are lower lifeforms without thoughts dreams loves interests ambitions The way he writes about them is almost a literary cleansing a condescension so vast and powerful that it denies men and women their basic humanity The funny thing is the joke is on Bryson Published in 1989 we are now in the midst of a full fledged culture war pitting urban Americans against ural Americans The Lost Continent was not the cause of course But it was a harbinger It turns out that a lot of Americans knew exactly what smug elites like Bryson were saying all along It alienated them and that alienation has turned to anger Somewhere along the line Bryson must have changed At the very least his persona must have changed I m making this assumption because I get Bryson Big Bad Detective Agency recommendations all the time Almost everyone I know has A Walk in the Woods on their shelves This includes people who would not be okay with the way that Bryson talks about poverty and poor people including snideemarks to beggars about having no dignity or the way he The Placer refers to Truman Capote as a mincing little f g Aside Bryson s views on poverty are both thoughtless heartless and fact less Indeed there are times this feels like a high school kid s unfortunate Twitter feed the kind you eventually erase hoping no one saw itather than the work of a middle age man who should know betterI have not looked into the matter but I wonder if Bryson Otto Freundlich: Cosmic Communism realized that childhood and nostalgia would work better and sell books than this toxic stew I wonder if he did the calculations and changed his style accordingly If he did only he can say if the change was than skin deep To be fair though I shouldn t have to be fair Bryson isn t the final third of The Lost Continent is palatable This covers the time heading westather than east and he lightens up a bit acknowledges some of his own shortcomings and also manages a glimmer ofwell it s not happiness per se but it s a step above his usual griping The final page is beautifully written and if the book had used that tone The Tattooist of Auschwitz (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, rather than being the exact opposite of that tone this might have been a great bookather than one of the worst I ve ever encountered It also would ve helped if there had been of Bryson s dad a figure who appears far too infreuently and seems a much better traveling companion Bryson s dad was excited to go places excited to meet people excited to be on the Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness road The final thing I have to say I promise is that travel is an incredible privilege Aside from being extremely fun it is also among the finest ways that exist in our universe to make connections and create empathy across the lines national culturalacial economic eligious that separate us It is an absolute shame that Bryson took this gift this gift of opportunity of time of ability to make his journey a parade of nastiness In all his miles he never found any common ground he found only chasms In all his miles he never shared an awesome sight he felt only bitterness that sights had to be shared In all his miles he never once seemed truly happy As. Outh were set Instead his search led him to Anywhere USA; a lookalike strip of gas stations motels and hamburger outlets populated by lookalike people with a penchant for synthetic fibres Travelling around thirty eight of the lower states united only in their mind numbingly dreary uniformity he discovered a continent that was doubly lost; los. A Other People's Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America result The Lost Continent is awfully sad on top of everything else I come from Des Moines Somebody had to Thus begins Bill Bryson his travelogue setting the tone for what is going to follow he is a smart aleck and he is going to be at his sarcastic best in taking down small town America through which he is going to travelDes Moines in Iowa is a typical small town in America where nothing ever happens and nobody ever leaves because that is the only life they have known and they are happy with it But not so young Bill he watched one TV show on Europe when he was ten and was consumed with a desire to become European After a steady diet of National Geographics during his adolescence Bryson left for England and settled there However during his middle age he was filled with a sense of nostalgia for small town America and the journeys he had across them with his family as a childBryson s father was an inveterate traveller who compulsively took his family on vacations every year These would have been extremely enjoyable except for two issues Senior Mr Bryson s penchant for getting lost as well as his unbearable thrift as Bill says he was a child of the Depression and where capital outlays were involved he always wore the haunted look of a fugitive who has just heard blood hounds in the distance which made him avoid goodestaurants and forced them to stay almost always in undown motelsBut as happens to most of us the onset of age made Bryson view these journeys and favourably through the ose tinted glasses of fond memory until one day he came back to the home of his youth and set across the country of his birth in an ageing Chevrolet Chevette He made two sweeps in all one circle to the East in autumn and another to the West in spring His experiences during these two journeys are set forth in this hilarious and compulsively Der Bilderwächter readable book If one is familiar with Bryson one knows what to expect from his books sarcastic humour bordering on the cruel enthralling snippets about history and geography andeally expressive descriptions of the places he visited All these trademarks are in evidence here By the time I finished this book I found that I possessed a surprisingly large amount of information about America what landmarks to visit and what famous personalities lived where Bryson writes with great feel and the place comes alive for you His predilection for staying in small towns and seedy motels the latter actually not by choice many of the towns he ended up in the night did not have any other type of accommodation shows up a facet of America the tourist is unlikely to seeBut it s when he writes about people that Bryson gives free ein to his biting wit The Illinois barmaid with Ready for Sex written all over her face the Mississippi policeman who asks Hah doo lack Miss Hippy How do you like Mississippi the Indian gentleman who would not stop uestioning a hungover Bryson about the possibility of smoking inside a bus who ultimately had to be shouted down the geriatric pump attendant spraying petrol all over the place with a burning cigarette butt stuck in his mouth I can go on and on Even though these people were used as the butts of jokes I ended up loving them they were so humanAnd of course one can t forget Bryson s signature comments about America The whole of the global economy is based on supplying the cravings of two per cent of the world s population If Americans suddenly stopped indulging themselves or an out of closet space the world would fall apart When you grow up in America you are inculcated from the earliest age with the belief no the understanding that America is the ichest and most powerful nation on earth because God likes us best It has the most perfect form of government the most exciting sporting events the tastiest food and amplest portions the largest cars the cheapest gasoline the most abundant natural esources the most productive farms the most devastating nuclear arsenal and the friendliest most decent and most patriotic folks on earth Countries just don t come any better So why anyone would want to live anywhere else is practically incomprehensible In a foreigner it is puzzling in a native it is seditious And this hilarious uip about ONE PARTICULAR AMERICAN On Fifth Avenue I went into the Trump Tower a new skyscraper A guy named Donald Trump a developer is slowly taking over New York building skyscrapers all over town with his name on them so I went in and had a look around The building had the most tasteless lobby I had ever seen all brass and chrome and blotchy Schätze Aus Dem Musée Picasso, Paris red and white marble that looked like the sort of thing that you would walk around if you saw it on the sidewalk Here it was everywhere on the floors up the walls on the ceiling It was like being in somebody s stomach after he d eaten pizza One may ask whether after the journey was Bryson satisfied Well maybe not fully there are three things you just can t do in life You can t beat the phone company you can t make a waiter see you until he seady to see you and you can t go home again This is something which all of us must have felt one time or the other the landscapes of our youth can be visited only through memory I do like my arm chair travelling with a hint of cynicism and much like Australians who are expert at taking the Mickey out of ourselves it was Letters to Rollins refreshing to see an American being able to take the pissHe may not be politically correct but who hasn t had a variation of the same thoughts going through their head about other tourists when travelling through touristy hot spots I can t express how much I enjoyed hearing about boring god awful places as much as I did during theeading of this book When people Britain, Europe And The Third World regale me with their travel stories I usually glaze over but I was strangelyiveted and the dismal a place he visited the fun I seemed to have I m officially a Bill Bryson fan I Scotland Yard really don t know why it took me so long toead him but now I just want On to the next adventure
The Lost Continental A Look at Bill Bryson Bill Bryson s travel books are mostly likeLost Continental A Look at Bill Bryson Bill Bryson s travel books are mostly like one a constant whining about everything His other books I love It s not that I don t get the humor in this book I just think that it isn t funny not in the least I should also say that I have lived a full one uarter of my life outside of the United States and I don t care if someone makes fun of anything and everything American I ve done a bit of bashing myself A dyspeptic man in his middle thirties whose constant bad mood seems like someone in their mid seventies drives around the US and complains about absolutely everything he sees smells hears and eats If this sounds like your idea of a good time ead Bill Bryson s The Lost Continent Travels in Small Town America Abacus 1990He constantly mocks small towns in America by eferring to them by such names as Dog Water Dunceville Urinal Spigot and Hooterville and this is in the first five pages Don t worry about the intrepid
"insulter unning out "running out clever names for hick towns Bryson has a million of them and he uses every single oneThe only things about which Bryon has a favorable view are natural wonders and the homes of ich people He marvels at the obscenely posh esidences of ultra wealthy early 20th century industrialists on Mackinac Island which were built before income taxes and most labor laws He would probably be thrilled with pre evolutionary France or Czarist Russia One of his very few favorable UFO Crash at Roswell: The Genesis of a Modern Myth reviews of American cities was of the ski town of Stowe Vermont which caters almost exclusively to theichWhen he is traveling through the southwest he complains about the Mexican music on the Peig: The Autobiography of Peig Sayers of the Great Blasket Island radio He seems content toesort to bigotry than to come to some sort of understanding about the culture he is visiting In my opinion it s always interesting to praise something that you understand than to mock something that you don t I d have taken the time to translate a few of the songs and tell Löwen wecken readers what they are about In fact I ve done this and Mexicananchera music is all about stories of love heartbreak and often violence which describe the cowboy culture of Mexico s northern territories Bryson implies that the people who listen to this music are just too stupid to Fathers and Sons: Roads Classics realize that it s only one tune played over and overHe gripes about a weatherman on TV who seemsather gleeful at the prospect of a coming snow storm yet Bryson seems to elish in the idea of not liking anything that he experiences in his journey His entire trip is like a storm he passes through Just once I wanted him to oll into some town that he liked and get into an interesting conversation with one of its Star Trek - New Frontier 15 residentsHere are examples of the cheeriness with which Bryson opens a few of his chapters I drove on and on across South Dakota God what a flat and empty state What is the difference between Nevada and a toilet You can flush a toilet Oneeviewer called Bryson witty I was headed for Nebraska Now there s a sentence you don t want to have to say too often if you can possibly help it In 1958 my grandmother got cancer of the colon and came to our house to die This last event must have brought untold joy to the young writerTell us Bill His narrative is tiresome than any Kansas wheat field he may have passed on his oad trip through hell Most Americans seem to be either fat or stupid or both in the eyes of Bryson I can only assume that Bryson himself is some sort of genius body builder although in his photo on the book jacket he s a fat schlub Just one time I wanted him to talk to a local esident over a beer or a cup of coffee I wanted him to describe his partner in conversation as other than fat or stupid Not even one time do we hear about a place from somebody who lives there We could just as easily have Deadly! read the guidebooks as Bryson did and he could have stayed home and saved himself thousands of miles of miseryWhenever someone starts to tell me about somewhere they ve traveled I ask them to describe their favorite thing about the trip be it a special spot food the people or whatever If they start to complain about the place I either change the subject or walk away if I can Travel is supposed to broaden the mind not make it narrower In which a bilious Brysoneturning to the US after living in England borrows his mom s car with her permission and sets out to find the perfect American small tow Well ain t it somethin for dat The Spirit Master rascally Mr Bryson wit all o dat funny Northern talk to make his way down here to Dixie and spend some time wid us We sure do ppreciate you takin us into yourich and well knowed book Mr Bryson And yer gosh darn ight God save all those poor folk who done shopped at K Mart They should ve spent their nickels at Crate Barrel had they knowed what to do wid demselves This was the book that made me fall in love with Bill Bryson s writing many years ago It helps a little bit that we both grew up in Iowa but this man is so funny I cannot imagine any eader not having a great time with his books Enjoy a fun Anything But Neutral About Going (Carbon) Neutral road trip across America in thisollicking tal. T to itself because blighted by greed pollution mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a stranger in his own landThe Lost Continent is a classic of travel literature hilariously stomach achingly funny yet tinged with heartache and the book that first staked Bill Bryson's claim as the most beloved writer of his generati.