Reads For The Road: The Road To Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


Despite all the time that I spend in the Travel section of the bookstore, I have never actually read anything by Bill Bryson.

Crazy, right?! 

What made me pick up one of his books now?

Well, I came across an excerpt from his most recent bookThe Road To Little Dribbling — and found myself wanting more. His style of writing is conversational, matter-of-fact and unapologetic, and I love the random thoughts and tangents that he goes off on. It is truly like being inside his brain, with all its slightly inappropriate (yet highly entertaining) observations. 

An American who has spent a huge chunk of his life living in the UK, Bryson has written countless books and short stories chronicling his adventures including his bestselling Notes from a Small Island, which chronicled a trip he took around Britain 20 years ago. The Road To Little Dribbling sees Bryson returning to some of the spots he visited, and a bunch of new ones, to see what has changed. (No, you don't have to read the first book to read the second.)  

Of the total surface area of Earth, Britain occupies just 0.0174069 per cent. (I should note that I can’t absolutely vouch for that number. It was calculated for me by my son some years ago for a newspaper article I was writing. He was only about thirteen years old at the time, but he had a calculator with over 200 buttons on it and he seemed to know what he was doing.)
— from page 39 of "The Road To Little Dribbling"

The result is a hilariously, eccentric story that I'm finding myself completely immersed in. He takes you to small towns, weird attractions, and over-priced tea shops, all the while educating readers on some of the most unique and interesting parts of British history. For example, did you know that there was a plan to build a city called Mytopia near a town called Wraysbury where the roads would be raised up and cars would be completely banished from city streets? A rough structure of the city still exists today, and you can bet that Bryson paid it a visit! 

This is also a great book if you, like me, who ends up reading multiple things at a time. Each chapter is like a mini-story within the whole, so you don't have to worry about forgetting something if you don't pick it up for a week or two.