Day 923: The Road to Little Dribbling

Cover for The Road to Little DribblingBest Book of the Week!
The Road to Little Dribbling is only the third book I’ve read by Bill Bryson, but it is the one I’ve most enjoyed. It is a follow-up to one of Bryson’s most popular books, Notes from a Small Island (which I have intended to read but have not), upon its 20-year anniversary. Both are about travels in Britain.

In The Road to Little Dribbling, Bryson draws an imaginary line between the two farthest points on mainland Britain and takes expeditions to some of the places on either side of the line. His line begins in a minor southern seaside town named Bognor Regis (where, oddly, I began my first visit to that country) and ends in northern Scotland at Cape Wrath.

The things that make Bryson’s books stand out are that he has many humorous observations to make and he is endlessly curious about everything. So, he has lots of stories to tell about the places he passes through, some of them personal, some historic, some scientific. He is also skillfully descriptive of beautiful scenery.

A recurring theme in the book is the impact of austerity measures on national landmarks and scenery. Also related to the economy is the growing dereliction of some of the towns he passes through. But he makes it clear that there is still much of charm and beauty to be seen and that many places are thriving.

I always enjoy Bryson’s comments about the lack of basic knowledge among some of the general public, because I have observed indications of that with dismay. I just recently viewed a video of Texas college students who were unable to answer basic history and political questions such as “Who won the Civil War?” or “Who did we get our freedom from?” but could answer every question about celebrities. I suppose this should not be surprising, since for the past couple of years my husband and I have observed that watching “NBC Nightly News” is now more like watching “Entertainment Tonight” than actually watching news.

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8 thoughts on “Day 923: The Road to Little Dribbling

  1. looloolooweez June 25, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    How timely you are with this book, considering the whole Brexit thing. I think I’d like to pick this one up — ‘Notes from a small island’ wasn’t my favorite Bryson book, but his style really is witty and fun while also being informative.

    • whatmeread June 26, 2016 / 6:03 pm

      I actually read it about four months ago and scheduled the review about six weeks ago, so the timeliness is a coincidence.

  2. Naomi June 25, 2016 / 9:59 pm

    I’ve only read A Walk In the Woods, but I have a couple of his others – ‘A Short History of nearly Everything’ and ‘At Home’. I do like his style.

    • whatmeread June 27, 2016 / 10:02 am

      I have heard that both of those are really good. I haven’t read either, but I am pretty sure we have both of them at home. In fact, At Home is on my coffee table, and I’ve been meaning to read it soon.

    • whatmeread January 31, 2017 / 10:03 am

      I’m a little confused as The Road to Little Dribbling is not about Belgium and I don’t remember any insults.

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