Bill Bryson – Notes from a Small Island
I needed to keep forcing myself into reading it. No joke, but I did so with great pleasure, since as there is sun above the clouds, there is a LAUGHTER in each 5 pages you are going to read. And you ARE going to read it!
As we all know, there is absolutely no glimpse of a doubt about Bill Bryson being THE funniest man alive. He is out to get you. I mean, you know that he is going to make you laugh and you might even arm yourself with that ain’t-happening-today-I-just-had-a-massive-argument-with-my-wife poker face and it takes him not more than 2 minutes and 34 seconds (science, my dear friends, we have reached the realms of science, in here) to get you. And you feel your face melting under the power of his words and you praise God for creating this fine fine gentleman.
But if you are at least a little like yours truly, you get pissed the following instant, as there is something very much wrong with God for either making him (Bill) write about something as dull as travelling or making you a person who finds this subject a dull one. Why oh Why?! I Could have another Catch 22-esque love! I really could!
But, guess what?
In some strange mysterious way I have managed to enjoy even that. Although I’m not able to talk, nor understand a talk, about architecture I’ve found it super-interesting. It isn’t impossible, that I have been picturing something completely different than what was the author trying to portray, but I don’t think I mind that being the case.
Also, I have started to read his (Bill’s) “A Short History of Nearly Everything” and…that title says it all…
This guy is special.
Favourite quote (and one extra as I feel like my choice might be funny only for me and few similarly infantile simpletons):
“Why, above all, do they find it so unsettling if you spend more than four minutes a day on the toilet? This last is another longstanding mystery to me. A woman of my close acquaintance and I regularly have surreal conversations that run something like this:
‘What are you doing in there?’ (This said in an edgy tone.)
‘I’m descaling the kettle. What do you think I’m doing in here?’
‘You’ve been in there half an hour. Are you reading?’
‘You’re reading, aren’t you? I can hear the pages.’
‘Honestly, I’m not.’ That is to say, I was reading until a minute ago but now, of course, I’m talking to you, dear.
‘Have you covered up the keyhole? I can’t see anything.’
‘Please tell me that you’re not down on your hands and knees trying to look through the keyhole at your husband having a bowel movement in his own bathroom. Please.’
‘You come out of there now. You’ve been in there for nearly threequarters of an hour just reading.’
As she retreats, you sit there thinking, Did all that really just happen or have I wandered into a Dada exhibition? And then, shaking your head, you return to your magazine. “
“I know this goes without saying, but Stonehenge really was the most incredible accomplishment. It took five hundred men just to pull each sarsen, plus a hundred more to dash around positioning the rollers. Just think about it for a minute. Can you imagine trying to talk six hundred people into helping you drag a fifty-ton stone eighteen miles across the countryside and muscle it into an upright position, and then saying, ‘Right, lads! Another twenty like that, plus some lintels and maybe a couple of dozen nice bluestones from Wales, and we can party!’ Whoever was the person behind Stonehenge was one dickens of a motivator, I’ll tell you that.”