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In A Sunburned Country (Random House Large Print)

In A Sunburned Country (Random House Large Print)

Amazon.com Review

Bill Bryson follows his Appalachian amble, A Walk in the Woods, with the story of his exploits in Australia, where A-bombs go off unnoticed, prime ministers disappear into the surf, and cheery citizens coexist with the world's deadliest creatures: , aggressive seashells, crocodiles, sharks, snakes, and the deadliest of them all, the dreaded . And that's just the beginning, as Bryson treks through sunbaked deserts and up endless coastlines, crisscrossing the "under-discovered" Down Under in search of all things interesting. Bryson, who could make a pile of dirt compelling--and yes, Australia is mostly dirt--finds no shortage of curiosities. When he isn't dodging Portuguese man-of-wars or considering the virtues of the remarkable platypus, he visits southwest Gippsland, home of the world's largest earthworms (up to 12 feet in length). He discovers that Australia, which began nationhood as a prison, contains the longest straight stretch of railroad track in the world (297 miles), as well as the world's largest monolith (the majestic Uluru) and largest living thing (the ). He finds ridiculous place names: "Mullumbimby Ewylamartup, Jiggalong, and the supremely satisfying Tittybong," and manages to catch a cricket game on the radio, which is like listening to two men sitting in a rowboat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren't biting; it's like having a nap without losing consciousness. It actually helps not to know quite what's going on. In such a rarefied world of contentment and inactivity, comprehension would become a distraction. "You see," Bryson observes, "Australia is an interesting place. It truly is. And that really is all I'm saying." Of course, Bryson--who is as much a travel writer here as a humorist, naturalist, and historian--says much more, and does so with generous amounts of wit and hilarity. Australia may be "mostly empty and a long way away," but it's a little closer now. --
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

With the Olympics approaching, books on Australia abound. Still, Bryson's lively take is a welcome recess from packaged, staid guides. The author of A Walk in the Woods draws readers in campfire-style, relating wacky anecdotes and random facts gathered on multiple trips down under, all the while lightening the statistics with infusions of whimsical humor. Arranged loosely by region, the book bounces between Canberra and Melbourne, the Outback and the Gold Coast, showing Bryson alone and with partners in tow. His unrelenting insistence that Australia is the most dangerous place on earth ("If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback") spins off dozens of tales involving jellyfish, spiders and the world's 10 most poisonous snakes. Pitfalls aside, Bryson revels in the beauty of this country, home to ravishing beaches and countless unique species ("80% of all that lives in Australia, plant and animal, lives nowhere else"). He glorifies the country, alternating between awe, reverence and fear, and he expresses these sentiments with frankness and candor, via truly funny prose and a conversational pace that is at once unhurried and captivating. Peppered with seemingly irrelevant (albeit amusing) yarns, this work is a delight to read, whether or not a trip to the continent is planned. First serial to Outside magazine; BOMC selection. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Bryson toughs it out in Australia.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

A new book by the world's funniest--and perhaps most eccentric--travel writer is always cause for rejoicing. Unlike many of his peers, who focus on typical destinations or touristy experiences, Bryson seeks out the odd, the little known, the one-of-a-kind, and the just plain weird. In his latest offering, which chronicles his exploration of Australia, he introduces us to a town that went without electricity until the early 1990s, a former high-ranking politician who hawks his own autobiography to passersby, an assortment of coffee shops and restaurants (Bryson is particularly fond of meal breaks), a type of giant worm, and the world's most poisonous creature, the box jellyfish. Bryson's use of language is unparalleled (he's also written two excellent books about the English language), and it is sheer delight to sink into his prose, especially his hysterical, enlightening, and sometimes moving descriptions of people and places we've never even imagined. His books are, quite simply, among the best and most rewarding travel literature ever written--head, shoulders, and torso above most of the competition--and this new title is a guaranteed winner. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Just in time for Sydney's upcoming Olympic games, this travel narrative from veteran wanderer Bryson (I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999, etc.) provides an appreciative, informative, and hilarious portrait of the land Down Under.And so once more to the wandering road, declares Bryson--which is music to the ears of his many deserving fans. This time it is Australia, a country tailor-made to surrender just the kind of amusing facts Bryson loves. It was here, after all, that the Prime Minister dove into the surf of Victoria one day and simply disappeared--the prime minister, mind you. There are more things here to kill you than anywhere else in the world: all of the ten most poisonous snakes, sharks and crocodiles in abundance, the paralytic tick, and venomous seashells that will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. A place harsh and hostile to life, staggeringly empty yet packed with stuff. Interesting stuff, ancient stuff, stuff not readily explained. And Bryson finds it everywhere: in the Aborigines (who evidently invented and mastered oceangoing craft 30,000 years before anyone else, then promptly forgot all about the sea), in the Outback (where men are men and sheep are nervous), in stories from the days of early European exploration (of such horrific proportions they can be appreciated only as farce), and in the numerous rural pubs (where Bryson learns the true meaning of a hangover). Bryson is still open to wonder at the end of his pilgrimage: the grand and noble Uluru (once known as Ayer's Rock) reaches right down into his primordial memory and gives it a stir. I'm just observing that if I were looking for an ancient starship this is where I would start digging. That's all I'm saying. Bryson is a real traveler, the kind of guy who can be entertained by (and be entertaining about) a featureless landscape scattered with rocks the color of bad teeth. Fortunately for him and for us, there's a lot more to Australia than that.First serial to Outside Magazine; Book-of-the-Month Club selection -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

"Bill Bryson is...an artist who needs a big canvas. Australia has provided this. He's painted a masterpiece in travel literature." — The Globe and Mail
From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Description

Compared to his Australian excursions, Bill Bryson had it easy on the Appalachian Trail.  Nonetheless, Bryson has on serveral occasions embarked on seemingly endless flights bound for a land where Little Debbies are scarce but insects are abundant (up to 220,000 species of them), not to mention the crodiles.
Taking readers on a rollicking ride far beyond packaged-tour routes, IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY introduces a country where interesting things happen all the time, from a Prime Minister who was lost at sea while swimming at a Victoria beach to Japanese cult members who managed to set off an atomic bomb unnoticed on their 500,000-acre property.  Leaving no Vegemite unsavored, readers will accompany Bryson as he dodges jellyfish while learning to surf at Bondi Beach, discovers a fish that can climb trees, dehydrates in deserts where the temperatures leap to 140 degrees, and tells the true story of the rejected Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House.
Published just in time for the Olympics, IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY provides a singularly intriguing, wonderfully wacky take on a glorious, adventure-filled locale.

From the Inside Flap

Compared to his Australian excursions, Bill Bryson had it easy on the Appalachian Trail.  Nonetheless, Bryson has on serveral occasions embarked on seemingly endless flights bound for a land where Little Debbies are scarce but insects are abundant (up to 220,000 species of them), not to mention the crodiles.
Taking readers on a rollicking ride far beyond packaged-tour routes, IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY introduces a country where interesting things happen all the time, from a Prime Minister who was lost at sea while swimming at a Victoria beach to Japanese cult members who managed to set off an atomic bomb unnoticed on their 500,000-acre property.  Leaving no Vegemite unsavored, readers will accompany Bryson as he dodges jellyfish while learning to surf at Bondi Beach, discovers a fish that can climb trees, dehydrates in deserts where the temperatures leap to 140 degrees, and tells the true story of the rejected Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House.
Published just in time for the Olympics, IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY provides a singularly intriguing, wonderfully wacky take on a glorious, adventure-filled locale.

From the Back Cover

"In the late afternoon, I stopped at a roadhouse for gas and coffee. I studied my book of maps . . . Then, having nothing better to do, I leafed through the index and amused myself, in a very low-key way, by looking for ridiculous names, of which Australia has a respectable plenitude. I am thus able to report that the following are all real places: Wee Waa, Poowons, Borrumbuttock, Suggan Buggan, Boomahnoomoonah, Waaia, Mullumbimby Ewylamartup, Jiggalong, and the supremely satisfying Tittybong."
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Bill Bryon's many books include the smash New York Times bestseller A Walk In The Woods and, most recently, I'm A Stranger Here Myself.  He now lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his wife and their four children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From AudioFile

In Australia, Bill Bryson has an intrinsically fascinating subject: spaces extreme in their vastness, primeval landscapes and improbable creatures. His travelogue, sprinkled with history and contemporary culture notes, rarely rises much above this established level of interest, though the stories he favors about encounters with deadly animals, the triumphs and blunders of early explorers, and his own exploits are often amusing. Although Bryson occasionally sounds like a disgruntled hotel reviewer, generally his even, placid reading allows the wonders of the place-ancient, stirring Uluru; foraging echidnas; dusty outback sunsets-and his experiences with them to come vividly to life. J.M.D. © AudioFile 2000, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

In A Sunburned Country (Random House Large Print) Book Reviews

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