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Notes From a Small Island Audiobook

Notes From a Small Island

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Publisher's Summary

Featuring a special introduction written for the audiobook edition and read by the author

After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson, the acclaimed author of such best sellers as The Mother Tongue and Made in America, decided it was time to move back to the United States for a while. This was partly to let his wife and kids experience life in Bryson's homeland, and partly because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another. It was thus clear to him that his people needed him. But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of modern-day Britain, and to analyze what he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, zebra crossings, and place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, and Shellow Bowells. With wit and irreverence, Bill Bryson presents the ludicrous and the endearing in equal measure. The result is a social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain.

Click here to see all the titles in our Bill Bryson collection.

©1995 Bill Bryson; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (933 )
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  •  
    Jo sheffieldUnited Kingdom 05/11/2008
    Jo sheffieldUnited Kingdom 05/11/2008
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    "A Note From A Small Islander"

    I love Bill Bryson's book and this is, by far, my favourite.

    It's a while since I heard this originally broadcast on Radio 4 and I'd forgotten how much better it is as a native Brit to hear it read in an american accent as it makes Bryson's journey and experiences more charming and entertaining.

    I thoroughly recommend this, even for diehard fans of the book - it gives it a whole new perspective!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Mands 07/03/2013
    D. Mands 07/03/2013 Member Since 2016
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    "Funny but sloppy."

    If the town you live in is featured in this book Bryson is not likely to leave you with a feel good factor of your home. Though this book is typically Bryson with the genuinely funny moments you'd expect, as the book goes on it does seem to cross over in to a bit of a moan about anything and everything. Gets to the point where it becomes a little energy sapping. Though it's Bryson's style so I'm still a fan. What was unforgivable and the knocked off a star, were the factually incorrect parts that for such a smart man were enough to rock confidence in his travel accounts and revealed a previously unseen sloppiness in his writing. For instance, asserting Glasgow as the capital of Scotland was just one that stood out.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lizziecm 21/09/2015
    Lizziecm 21/09/2015 Member Since 2017
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    "Occasionally Mildly Amusing"
    Any additional comments?

    On the whole, I really enjoy Bill Bryson's books, and I find William Roberts to be a capable and amusing narrator. I found Notes From A Small Island, however, to be a rather different sort of book.

    Aside from obvious but unavoidable issues that Bryson skims over or misses out rather large areas of the country (e.g. the Midlands, Wales...), I found that another aspect of this book bothered me more. While Bryson does spend a small amount of time making his trademark witty observations of local culture, architecture, attitudes etc., I found him to spend rather too long on brash tirades in this work. His reporting of encounters with unsuspecting members of the public in which he verbally assaults them with little provocation implies that he takes some pride from this sort of interaction. This is not only unpleasant for the reader/listener but must have been most unpleasant for the individuals involved.

    I found some parts of this book uncomfortable and others rather irritating. A shame since I've had plenty of fun from his other works.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob 02/07/2015
    Rob 02/07/2015 Member Since 2016
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    "Notes from a small Island"

    Not one of his better books.
    Rather tedious and patronising in many places and the targets are rather cliched and obvious.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue St Neots, United Kingdom 13/04/2013
    Sue St Neots, United Kingdom 13/04/2013 Member Since 2014
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    "Fantastic"

    I love Bill Bryson's books, and I particularly love them read by William Roberts, whose voice and interpretation are perfect. This was no exception. 5 star!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Romsey, United Kingdom 15/03/2013
    Michael Romsey, United Kingdom 15/03/2013
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    "Marvellous"

    Many years since I read this book, but it is still terrific and the narration was perfect. It may be some time since Bill went round Britain, but it really could have been written last week!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mathew London, Middlesex, United Kingdom 02/04/2011
    Mathew London, Middlesex, United Kingdom 02/04/2011 Member Since 2016
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    "Bill's finest hour"

    I was first introduced to this book in the mid 1990's and i was amazed that a travel book could appeal so much to an uncultured youth such as myself. It is hard to know what is so appealing, the flattery that an american could find so much interest in the things we pass everyday or having another view of places we remember visiting but never really got yo know.
    This audiobook was the first one I bought several years ago I hoped to experience the same feelings as when I first bought the book many years earlier, I'm glad to say Bill didn't disappoint. This audiobook is of the highest quality in writng and delivery.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsay Kay Caddy Guildford, United Kingdom 11/05/2013
    Lindsay Kay Caddy Guildford, United Kingdom 11/05/2013 Member Since 2010
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    "Lovely trip around Britain"

    This book is another good Bryson. A well narrated farewell tour of Britain in Bryson's usual style. It's lovely to hear of his descriptions and experiences of familiar places to me. It's a good book but not his best, rather too much description of his train journey, but I guess that's inevitable given his mode of transport for the trip, and not quite as funny as other books of his that I've listened to. Still worth reading/listening to though.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SK 12/01/2013
    SK 12/01/2013
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    "A great book"

    I do not normally read travel books, but this one is great! It gives a good, honest description of places that the author visited. It is also easy to listen to and very funny.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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    Ian orpington, kent, United Kingdom 31/03/2009
    Ian orpington, kent, United Kingdom 31/03/2009
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    "Very enjoyable"

    Loved every minute,

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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