Weekly Meeting: In a Sunburned Country

24This week I read In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson.

Challenges:

  • It is listed in Book Lust 2

What You Should Know:

  • Bryson is a travel journalist.
  • His books are a mix of his experience as a traveller and history of what he is covering.
  • In this case: Australia.
  • He is funny, but it is observational and sarcastic humor.

Discussion:

Look, discussion questions!  I know, it’s been a while.

1- Did Bill introduce you to an Australia that was different from your mental image of the place? What was unexpected in his account of the land and people?

I am not sure if I have a mental image of Australians.  Since I have never been there, I rely on those who have as well as media to help me understand what they may possibly be like.  That being said, I assume media is showing me a stereotype that suits the story.  I was struck by Bryson’s description of some areas being stuck in the 1950s.  I had to imagine that maybe some of the US politicians would enjoy moving there since so many seem to want to return to life as it was in the 1950s.  I was struck by his explanation that the Sydney and Melbourne we know now are a result of efforts during the 1950s when Melbourne hosted the 1956 summer Olympics.

2- Did Bill succeed in describing people and places such that you could picture them in your mind?

Yes, it is one of his strengths as a writer.  What I like is that he tells you what he expected and then what he found.  He does this for people and places.  It was a little different with an audiobook though.  Bryson reads his own audiobooks and he doesn’t do more than simply read.  There are no voices and little inflection.  I often had to go back and re-listen to a few things to see if I could guess the tone it may have originally had.

Who Will Like This:

  • Those who like travel non-fiction
  • Those who like or want to learn more about Australia
  • Those who enjoy Bryson already.

Other Books I Read This Week:

  • King Lear – I find is far easier to do Shakespeare as audiobooks.  I just do better with the performance rather than the words.

In Other News

It is the end of January, so it means a recap of what was read and not read.  A few things happened this month.  First, I actually paid to get my blog its own domain.  The blog can now be found at: http://bookclubof1.com/.  Here was what I planned to read this month:

  • Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married

  • Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
  • Carry On: I am still on the waiting list for this one.  It’s being moved to the remainders list
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
  • In a Sunburned Country

What of that remainders list:

  1. The Martian – now that the movie is on DVD, I can get back on the book wait list.
  2. The Golden Bowl – I have the ebook, but it’s not an easy read.
  3. Revealing Hannah: The Myth of Cassandra – started reading for Book Club
  4. The Road from Coorain – have not started yet
  5. Dead Wake – still on the waiting list

Last, what do I have planned for February?

  1. Holes– I am reading this for the Read Harder Challenge
  2. Blanche on the Lam– for both the Read Harder Challenge, the Book Lust challenge and for Black History Month
  3. The Aeneid – This is part of the Book Lust Challenge
  4. Smile – this is part of the Read Harder Challenge
  5. Dreaming in Cuban – I started reading it in January, but this month I will finish it.

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