Notes from a big country

Members all found the book interesting and amusing. Bryson
is an American who lived in England for many years. He then returned to America,
to live in New Hampshire. Having returned he wrote a weekly column for the
Independent Newspaper in the mid 1990’s and the book is a collection of these

Bryson, who has an English wife, viewed American life through
semi English eyes and draws out those things which are different about the two
cultures. This led members to muse that cross cultural differences can lead to
near schizophrenia. As one observed who had lived in Ireland for a long time “
When I’m away I like to visit but when I do I long to be back home”. A Scottish
member observed a somewhat similar effect although she also felt that having
lived in England for a long time she was becoming anglicized to the extent of
forgetting Scottish pronunciation of place names.

As a light hearted book it also conveys some of the absurdities
of life. For example the apparent cornucopia of choice in modern supermarkets. Unfortunate
quotations included Brooke Shields, the
actress, saying that death must be avoided otherwise the rest of life is spoilt.

One member was disappointed to find that the book took its
subjects from a period which is now at least a decade past


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