Bill Bryson stopping by Decatur next month
Author Bill Bryson (an absolute favorite of mine) will be stopping by First Baptist Church Decatur on Oct. 11 to promote his new book “One Summer: America 1927.”
The event will be at 7 p.m. in the Church Sanctuary. h/t to Decatur Metro for letting me know about this.
I’ll definitely be there and it got me thinking about some of my favorite Bill Bryson books. He’s an addictive writer and I distinctly remember reading “Made in America” on a road trip one summer while I was in High School.
1) Made In America – For a country founded by a bunch of drunken farmers, American history can be surprisingly dull. But in Bill Bryson’s hands, American history becomes a delightful, sprawling yarn anchored in the study of our peculiar way of mangling English. The anecdotes are memorable – my personal favorite being the one about how America adopted time zones – and illuminating. This was the first Bryson book I read and it remains my favorite. But the nice thing about Bryson is he’s an incredibly versatile and prolific author. Don’t like American history? How about …
2) A Short History of Nearly Everything – As the book implies, Bryson took on some of life’s biggest questions, like how the universe formed, and tries to break them into bite-sized chunks. Bryson makes Isaac Newton accessible, and brings subjects like physics and astronomy down to earth. Like many of Bryson’s books, it’s something you can skip around and I can’t claim to have read it cover-to-cover. But he wrote about everything, albeit in short form, so it’s understandable that it would take a moment to finish.
3) In a Sunburned Country – Bryson’s wit and childlike joy of travel make for a great read. His trip to Australia incorporates great observational humor, character sketches of the locals and, as always, some history to put everything in context. You never feel like you’re wasting your time when you read Bryson. That’s the essence of good writing, in my estimation.