Two Bill Bryson books
Continued from page 1
Notes from a Small Island
"The Llandudno train was gratifyingly
empty, so I took a seat at a table for four, and contented myself with the thought that I
would soon be in a nice hotel or guesthouse where I could have a hot bath followed by a
generously apportioned dinner. I spent a little time watching the scenery, then pulled out
my copy of The Kingdom by the Sea to see if Paul Theroux had said anything about
the vicinity that I could steal or modify to my own purposes. As always, I was amazed to
find that as he rattled along these very tracks he had been immersed in a lively
conversation with his fellow passengers. How does he do it? Quite apart from the
consideration that my carriage was nearly empty, I don't know how you you strike up
conversations with strangers in Britain. In America, of course, it's easy. You just offer
a hand and say, "My name's Bryson. How much money did you make last year?" and
the conversation never looks back from there.
"But in England--or in this instance Wales--it's so hard, or at least it is
for me. I've never had a train conversation that wasn't disastrous or at least regretted.
... Over a long period of time it gradually dawned on me that the sort of person who will
talk to you on a train is almost by definition the sort of person you don't want to talk
to on a train, so these days I mostly keep my myself and rely for conversational
entertainment on books by more loquacious types like Jan Morris and Paul Theroux."
Back to page 1
"Best of the Web"
- Forbes and The Washington Post
Our most popular topics:
See more, spend less:
- Read our
seven easy tips
for getting the most value from your European travel budget.
Need a car in Europe?
guarantees the lowest rental
rates for standard cars, sports cars, SUVs, luxury cars,
chauffered sedans, and RVs. Its Web site also has driving information
for 38 countries.
you live outside the EU, a
Peugeot tourist lease can be cheaper than renting.
Minimum driver age is 18, there' s no upper age limit, and rates include
Short-term car leasing.
Traveling by train?
has free schedules, maps, and guides for 50+ European railroads.