For the last two weeks I’ve been reading The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson. I took an extra week to read it because it was excellent and I didn’t want to rush through it. Bill Bryson has completely won me over as an author and I will definitely be reading more of his books. This book took me completely by surprise, it’s the chronicle of Bryson’s road trip across American after having lived in the UK for many years. So, pretty awesome.
When I first started reading the book I felt a little lost, when Bryson was describing certain places it seemed to me he was relying on a lot of stereotype. I kept thinking “Wait. I’ve been there, it’s not like that at all.” and then I remembered that Bryson’s road trip was in 1987. 1987 was a completely different time and although it doesn’t seem to be that long ago, I imagine things were probably a lot different 24 years ago. Once I got over that- I was full in. Bryson is hilarious. His adventures on the road are completely relatable and, perhaps unintentionally, perhaps intentionally, satirical. Basically, his writing is my jam.
It’s a travel memoir but it’s unlike any travel memoir you’ve ever read. Not only because it’s very very funny, but also because it seems so familiar and comforting. Most Americans have taken a road trip or two around the country, usually at fairly young ages, so the idea of someone well into their adulthood trying to recapture a little bit of that childhood nostalgia resonates. It resonates hard. It’s also very compelling because we all know just how enormous the US is and therefore have mad respect for anyone who attempts to drive across it. It’s definitely what you refer to as a “journey” and not merely a “trip”.
Seriously y’all, this book is one of the best I’ve read all year. I loved everything about it. The snarkiness, the endearment, the good, the bad, and the tourist attractions. It was all brilliantly written and made me want to jump in my car and take off for the open road immediately.
What are you guys reading this week?