Who is Bill Bryson?
Bill Bryson once said:
“I want things to be better all the time. And I tend to get angry about that. Books are an opportunity to vent.”
Perhaps that is why, today, he is a renowned author known for his comic ramblings that people often turn towards for travel inspiration.
Not only is he informative, he has never been one to shy away from sharing what he really thinks about a country or place or even regarding the people within a place. His honest, blunt thoughts have lead to him becoming one of the best-known travel writers of the modern age.
More About Bill Bryson’s Latest Book
Land’s End to John O’Groats, from southwest to northeast; it has always been believed that in order to traverse the UK from one extreme to the other that you must visit both of these locations. However, whilst it may be the longest route via road at 874 miles, you cannot easily travel from one to another in a straight line.
So, if you do want to travel the length of the UK in a straight line which way should you travel?
The Bryson Line of course!
This unconventional line, discovered by Bill Bryson himself, is apparently the longest straight line possible across the UK when looking at a map. Starting in Bognor Regis and finishing in Cape Wrath, which to me, sounds more like a location for an American Horror Film and not a location at the most northern point in the UK, this route has yet to really be explored by anyone. After all, why would anyone ever want to go to Bognor Regis.
“Like so much of coastal Britain, Bognor Regis has seen better days…” (pg.22)
Many Brits have long since fled from the traditional seaside holiday retreat in favour of the cheap package deals that can now be found – today for the same price as a weekend in Brighton you could be sunning yourself on a beach in Spain or wandering Parisian streets looking through the windows at unattainable designer goods.
It is sad to say, that thanks to the booming travel market, the coastal resorts of the UK have floundered and are in steady decline.
So why would Bill Bryson choose to not only write another book about the UK, but opt to spend time visiting some of the most depressing places on our small little island?
Well, it appears that not everywhere in the UK is done for. There are still some places worth visiting; it just takes a bit of time to find out where these places are.
Thankfully, all you need to do is read Bill Bryson’s book. Trust me; it will stop you from spending hours searching for that perfect location that typifies all that is great about the UK.
Not only does Bryson take us on a trip to the seaside, he can also be found in places of historical, literary or cultural significance.
What We Love About This Book?
Not only does it provide a brief overview of perhaps lesser known locations, it holds a wealth of knowledge for any self-indulgent bookworm.
Locations Bookworms Will Love
• Head to Minstead to view where Arthur Conan Doyle is buried and learn more about his love of spiritualism.
Did you know?
“He wrote some twenty books on spiritualism, became president of the International Spiritualist Congress, and opened a psychic bookshop…” (pg.94)
• Visit the Cuffnells estate, home of Alice Liddell and learn more about Charles L. Dodgson.
• Head to the Beatrix Potter Museum in the Lake District.
• Spend time at the grave side of Mary Shelley
• Take a literary stroll following in the footsteps of great authors including Jane Austen
• Seek refuge in The Trout Inn, home to Inspector Morse created by Colin Dexter
Bryson writes about all this and much more.
Would We Recommend ‘The Road to Little Dribbling’?
I will admit, the first Bill Bryson book I read, I didn’t like. I didn’t enjoy his crash comments and stereotypical references to other nationalities. To the point that it has taken me several years to even consider picking up another one. To be truthful, I cannot even say why I picked this one up, but I am glad I did.
‘The Road to Little Dribbling’ is both insightful and accurate. Yes, there are still times where he feels a need to highlight the shortcomings of those around him but, perhaps because he appears to spend more time reflecting on the inability of his own countrymen to think for themselves, I have warmed to him slightly.
This book has helped me to realise that I still know very little about the country I call home. I spend months each year travelling the world, searching out new places, trying to understand more about the world around me, but still I manage to neglect my own birthplace. So, if nothing else, this had made me realise that I need to learn to appreciate not only the wider world, but also this little Island I call home.
Travelling Book Junkie Rating: ***
Interested in finding out more about the Bill Bryson book I disliked so much? Then click here.
Pick up your own copy of The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island and then let us know what you think.
Have you read any other Bill Bryson books? Which one would you recommend to us?