He returned to Europe the following year with a high school friend, Matt Angerer the pseudonymous Stephen Katz. Move to the United Kingdom[ edit ] Bryson speaking in New York, Bryson first visited Britain in  during his tour of Europe  and decided to stay after landing a job working in a psychiatric hospital  —the now-defunct Holloway Sanatorium in Virginia Water , Surrey. He met a nurse there named Cynthia Billen, whom he married in His citizenship ceremony took place in Winchester and he now holds dual citizenship.
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Shelves: memoirs , humorous , audiobooks , columns Have you ever visited a foreign country for a length of time, to the point where you were caught up in a completely different lifestyle and society, and then when you finally returned home, you experienced a form of reverse culture shock?
That is what happened to Bill Bryson when he moved back to the U. This delightful book is a collection of weekly columns he wrote for the Mail on Sunday newspaper from to Bryson has fun talking about American Have you ever visited a foreign country for a length of time, to the point where you were caught up in a completely different lifestyle and society, and then when you finally returned home, you experienced a form of reverse culture shock?
Bryson has fun talking about American food, going shopping, holiday seasons, going to the movies, going to the beach, the U. Even though some of the columns showed their age a bit such as referencing pre-Internet computers and habits or they included statistics from the s when Bryson was trying to make a point, the pieces were still largely relevant and got at the heart of what it was like to live in America. Would you recommend this to fellow readers? Is this one of those times when you would recommend listening to the audiobook instead of reading the print?
Yes, I would. Bryson is a wonderful narrator and I think I enjoyed the book more because I listened to him tell these shorter stories. Why are you reading so many Bill Bryson books? Everyone can calm down. They are a delightful way to pass my daily commute to work. You should try it -- some days a Bryson story makes me laugh so hard that it brings tears to my eyes. Some favorite quotes: "Coming back to your native land after an absence of many years is a surprisingly unsettling business, a little like waking from a long coma.
Time, you discover, has wrought changes that leave you feeling mildly foolish and out of touch. You proffer hopelessly inadequate sums when making small purchases.
You puzzle over ATM machines and automated gas pumps and pay phones, and are astounded to discover, by means of a stern grip on your elbow, that gas station road maps are no longer free. I mean, here we were living in a paradise of junk food -- the country that gave the world cheese in a spray can -- and she kept bringing home healthy stuff like fresh broccoli and packets of Swedish crispbread. It was because she was English, of course. I longed for artificial bacon bits, melted cheese in a shade of yellow unknown to nature, and creamy chocolate fillings, sometimes all the in same product.
I wanted food that squirts when you bite into it or plops onto your shirt front in such gross quantities that you have to rise very, very carefully from the table and sort of limbo over to the sink to clean yourself up. Bryson has outlined a big, ambitious program of gardening. She had a career, you see -- she worked for the local newspaper, which meant that she was always flying in the door two minutes before it was time to put dinner on the table.
On top of this, she was a trifle absentminded. Her particular specialty was to cook things while they were still in the packaging. A combination of haste, forgetfulness, and a charming incompetence where household appliances were concerned meant that most of her cooking experiences were punctuated with billows of smoke and occasional small explosions. In our house, as a rule of thumb, you knew it was time to eat when the firemen departed.
Notes From a Big Country