The Road to Little Dribbling … a review

I was very fortunate to see Bill Bryson in person at a live interview about a year ago. Believe it or not, it was at a Microsoft conference! Anyway, it was his casual wit and his obvious intelligence that made me miss his Notes from a Small Island and I decided to pick up its sequel. That was about 5 months ago.

This book is about the more detailed journeys that Bryson undertakes, to the most quirky offbeat places on mainland Britain. Most of it is set in England (about 95%) which to me is a bit of a disappointment, because I’ve never lived in England and its quirks and cultural connotations are slightly lost on me. However, I could not help but snort on planes and trains as Bryson’s extremely sardonic style of writing struck again. His observations are hilarious, especially the one about the Microsoft Windows Updates (yes, he even writes about that sort of thing!) and the gag about the John Lewis shopping experience.

I would very much recommend this book in fits and bursts, it is not meant to be read in one sitting. Rather, if you have ever been to any of the places mentioned in the book, you must revisit them with book in hand! Now that would be a laugh. It was a bit monotonous in parts for me and I would have loved to read a bit more about Scotland in there too. But hey, for the most part, I enjoyed it.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry …a review

I picked this book up from a Charity shop. The reason was that I had been seeing it around, in shop windows, in people’s hands etc. So, in want of a light read, I picked it up. It is about a man who randomly decides to walk from the south of England to Berwick in Scotland when he gets a letter from his old colleague saying that she had cancer. He has no boots, no rain gear, no compass, no phone, no map. He has a pensioner’s fund and a credit/debit card though. It is a pilgrim story set in modern day context.

He wore these ‘yatching’ shoes

I liked it. Firstly, it was a very breezy read. Very easy to put down whenever and pick it up without having the feeling of having lost a beat. Rachael Joyce’s style of writing is simple, the narrative, though at times predictable, is still finely tuned, seeing as it is her first novel. Secondly, the book has some very nice subplots, again some are predictable, but I liked how they slowly came to light at various points of the journey, and how the walk was a common background. Lastly, I liked the reality check at the end, where the reader realises that there is faith and hope, and then there is life.

It is a good book, a steady interesting read, and has been a good four – five days.