{Culture/Worldview} Book Review of Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There

My latest read was Bill Bryson's European travel memoir, Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe. This was the fourth of Bryson's book I've read so far, and I have to say, I was disappointed. I was hoping for something along the lines of Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad, but more current, but it wound up being less about actually seeing Europe and more about his sitting in bars and reminiscing about the hedonistic trip he and a friend had made through Europe in his younger days. It wasn't all that funny, and it wasn't all that informative. It definitely could have been better, and after reading At Home, I know Bryson has done better work.

It did have a few laugh-out-loud moments, and when he actually described the sights he was visiting (not just the bars he sat in and the women he ogled), he did an accurate and informative job. Bryson also has a knack for observing and poking fun at the various idiosyncrasies of each country and its inhabitants which is just good-natured enough to avoid being offensive. His way of expressing himself is entertaining, and there's no denying he's an excellent writer.

However, the bad language and inappropriate sexual references were enough to prevent me from recommending this particular book, which is sad, because Bryson is witty and well-informed enough not to have to rely on those tactics. If you're looking for a hilarious and educational (albeit outdated) travel memoir of Europe, I'd stick with Mark Twain's version instead.

So, what are you reading these days? 

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