A trip down memory lane & the back roads of America

Book Title: The Lost Continent. Travels in Small-Town America

Author: Bill Bryson

Book.jpgPromotional Blurb: ‘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 returned to the land of his youth, and drove almost 14 000 miles in search of a mythical small town called Amalgam, the kind of trim and sunny place where the films of his youth 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. He discovered a continent that was doubly lost; lost to itself because blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a stranger in his own land. (Source: http://www.penguin.co.uk)

My Thoughts:  This is one of Bryson’s better reads with a laugh, or at the very least a smirk, at every turn of the page.

After living in the United Kingdom for many years, he returns to the USA to travel around all the small towns his father dragged him to as a child. Bryson is equal parts amazed and disappointed as the sites do not match his memories, or he discovers whole new aspects of American culture that have been lovingly preserved. When perhaps they are better forgotten.

An easy and entertaining read as Bryson takes you on a long, and sometimes pointless, journey. He paints clear and amusing pictures of small-town America (perhaps in some ways similar to small-town Australia?), and he certainly inspires you to get into the back blocks of the USA.

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Bill Bryson. Photo: penguin.com

Author bio: Bill Bryson’s bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent and Notes from a Small Island, which in a national poll was voted the book that best represents Britain. Another travel book, A Walk in the Woods, has become a major film starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. His new number one Sunday Times bestseller is The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island.

His acclaimed book on the history of science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Royal Society’s Aventis Prize as well as the Descartes Prize, the European Union’s highest literary award.

Bill Bryson was born in the American Midwest, and now lives in the UK. (Source: penguin.co.uk)

Author blog or website: not found.

Pages:  314

Published: 1989

Publisher: Penguin

Available from: Book Depository ($13.91)

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