Time To Head To “Little Dribbling!”
The great Travel Writer Bill Bryson hits the road to tell the hilariously affectionate story of his new “homeland”, Great Britain…a sequel to his previous best-selling trip, “Notes From A Small Island” and in true Bryson style, he has many wild adventures!
This great travel memoir finds the “A Walk In The Woods” Author exploring England in his own unique way, just as he gets his citizenship confirmed by the country. He was born and raised in Iowa, but has lived in England for decades, and his love of the country permeates every adventure he recounts on his travels…
Bryson decides to create “The Bryson Line”, which is the furthest south to north you can travel in England, then proceeds to wildly jump all around as he explores what makes his new country so wonderful to him…
Among the entertaining things I learned from reading this journey:
Mount Everest Is Named After A Guy Who Was Never There!
That’s right, the guy whose name is attached to the world’s largest mountain never got within 200 miles of it!
Bryson explains how this British Bureaucrat, assigned to map part of India – but he never saw Mount Everest at all, and no one really knows how it came to be named after him!
The story get even stranger:
Early on in Bryson’s journey, he discovers that George Everest’s grave is nearby, so he goes off to seek it, with hilarious results. And on the way, he shares some amazing facts about the man and the mountain!
“George Everest, incidentally, didn’t pronounce his name Ev-er-rest, as everyone says it today, but as Eve-rest – just two syllables – so that the mountain is not only misnamed but mispronounced. Everest died aged seventy-six in Hyde Park Gardens, London, but was carted off to Hove for burial. No one knows why. He had no known connection to the town or to any part of Sussex. I was greatly taken with the idea of the most famous mountain in the world being named for a man who had no connection to it and whose name we don’t even pronounce correctly. I think that’s rather splendid.”
So of course, as Bryson searches for Everest’s grave, he happens upon a group of “toughs”, two of whom are arguing loudly while another one urinates against a wall. Not a good way to explore the graveyard….here’s what happened as Bryson is noticed by the “urinator”:
“He took a simultaneous interest in me, and shouted questions at me over his shoulder in a vaguely hostile manner, asking me what I was looking for.
I told him I was looking for the grave of a man named George Everest. He astounded me by saying, in quite a cultivated voice, ‘oh, just over there’, and nodded at some gravestones a few feet from me. ‘They named Mount Everest after him, but he never actually saw it, you know.
‘So I’ve read.’
‘Stupid fucker’, he said, a touch ambiguous, and hefted his organ back into his pants with an air of satisfaction.”
How can you not love this book?
The book is filled with great stories, trivia and insight into what makes England such a great country – and Bryson always writes with humor and warmth, making fun of himself more than anyone else…
The Actor Richard E. Grant loves the book as well, because it tells stories about a great country with humor, insight and affection.
I have read many of Bryson books, like this one, where he takes you to the most dangerous country in the world:
He’s a master of travel writing, one of the best – here is a look at his trip to Australia, as well as some other great nonfiction travel writing:
Thanks to Bill Bryson, I’ll never look at Mount Everest the same way again!