“Down Under” by Bill Bryson


Not much to report as I have taken a couple days of vacation from my vacation and just relaxed around the house quite a bit.  I’m reading a book called “Down Under” by Bill Bryson.  He has to be one of the funniest authors I’ve ever read.  I would recommend this book highly, or you might consider “In a Sunburned Country” also by Bryson.  Here is a sample excerpt from “Down Under” that made me laugh out loud (there are several passages as equally funny).  It is about local Australian friends taking him to Manly Beach to go boogie boarding…

Bashfully I dropped my shirt onto the sand and stood naked but for my sagging trunks.  Glenn, never having seen anything quite this grotesque and singular on an Australian beach, certainly nothing still alive, snatched up his camera and began excitedly taking close-up shots of my stomach.  Bizeet, bizeet, bizeet, bizeet, his camera sang happily as he followed me into the surf.

I positioned myself for the first wave, then jumped aboard and sank like an anvil.

“How’d you do that?” asked Glenn in wonder.

“No idea.”

I repeated the exercise with the same result.

“Amazing,” he said.

There followed a half hour in which the two of them watched first with guarded amusement, then a kind of astonishment, and finally something not unlike pity, as I repeatedly vanished beneath the waves and was scraped over an area of ocean floor roughly the size of Polk County, Iowa.  After a variable but lengthy period, I would surface, gasping and confused, at a point anywhere from four feet to a mile and a quarter distant, and be immediately carried under again by a following wave.  Before long, people on the beach were on their feet placing bets.  It was commonly agreed that it was not physically possible to do what I was doing.*

*However, the author would like to like the record to show that he did not have his glasses on; he trusted his hosts; he was scanning a large area of ocean for sharks; and he was endeavoring not to excrete a large housebrick into his pants.

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4 thoughts on ““Down Under” by Bill Bryson

  1. Thanks cuz, I have been looking for a new author to listen to on my way to and from work, and from the excerpt, he looks to be pretty funny. Perfect timing, I’ve reserved a few of his books from the library.

  2. I also loved Notes from a Small Island and Life and Times of the Thunderbolt
    Kid. He is so great. I love the way he writes.

    • Hi Catherine! So glad you are along. I loved those two also. I currently reading “Shakespeare” by him. It’s a little (very little) more serious, but still Bryson just the same. It is really more interesting to me for the history lesson on what London was like around 1600.

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