Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I'm a Stranger Here Myself

Bill Bryson's I'm a Stranger Here Myself was originally published in 1999. My hardcover copy is 288 pages long.

From Amazon:
"Ex-expatriate Bryson, who chronicled one effort at American reentry in his bestselling A Walk in the Woods, collects another: the whimsical columns on America he wrote weekly, while living in New Hampshire in the mid-to-late 1990s, for a British Sunday newspaper. Although he happily describes himself as dazzled by American ease, friendliness and abundance, Bryson has no trouble finding comic targets, among them fast food, computer efficiency and, ironically, American friendliness and putative convenience. As he edges into Dave Barry-style hyperbole, Bryson sometimes strains for yuks, but he's deft when he compares the two cultures, as in their different treatment of Christmas, pointing out how the British "pack all their festive excesses" into that single holiday. Bryson also nudges into domestic territory with regular references to his own British wife, the resolutely sensible Mrs. B. In a few columns, Bryson adopts a sentimental tone, writing about his family and his new hometown of Hanover. In others, he's more sober, criticizing anti-immigration activists, environmental depredation and drug laws (though he draws out the humor in these as well). Not all the columns hit their mark, and they are best read in small groupings, but this collection should sell well enough, although not likely to the heights of A Walk in the Woods. Agent, Jed Mattes. Author tour; BDD audio.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. "

I'm a Stranger Here Myself was ok. Parts were very funny; parts were so-so. It is a book that could easily be read and enjoyed one short chapter (or column) at a time. It is a good choice if you want to read a book to pass the time because it is a collection of columns originally written for a British paper.

"I've got an idea. Let's drive for three hours to the ocean, take off most of our clothes, and sit on some sand for the whole day."
"What for?" I will sat warily
"It will be fun," she will insist.
"I don't think so," I will reply. "People find it disturbing when I take off my shirt in public. I find it disturbing."

"We have become so attached to the idea of convenience that we will put up with almost any inconvenience to achieve it.... The things that are suppose to speed up and simplify our lives more often than not actually have the opposite effect..."

"Is it actually possible that there are people who can eat I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and not believe it's not butter?"

"...[W]hy would anyone in a free society choose to become a dentist?"

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