Wednesday, September 19, 2012



Bill takes a trip down under and decides to share it with us. 

Guess I'd better write back.


So, you finally made it 'down under', to the place where the toilets swirl the 'wrong' way? 
I really enjoyed your picturesque descriptions of the landscape, the water, the parks, and all of the cities and towns you visited in Australia. I thought your attempts at humour were pretty good, for the most part. I didn't actually laugh out loud, but, I would smile sometimes. I was getting worried near the end, it sounded like you were getting a bit worn out and grumpy. If fact, you sounded pretty rude - bordering on jackass - on that day in Darwin! Usually, you are pretty upbeat and positive. Did something happen, something you are not telling us about? Did you just long for the good ol' USA?
I noticed many of your comparisons were American references. Luckily, I knew who Lewis & Clark were. Sorry, you didn't understand the whole parliamentary political system. Or, the whole colonial thing. But, I really don't think there is anything wrong with Australians still wanting to be connected to Great Britain. You don't have to berate them for not wanting to be a 'real' country. Us Canadian's are like that. We like having a Queen. It's just for traditional sake anyway.
Along with that, just wondering why you commented on the Australians being 'self consumed' just for having a section in the used bookstore called Australiana. Oh Bill, I've been to your country, and let me tell you, if one country is self consumed it's you guys.
I'm sure you were just having a bad day. Or were you lonely? It didn't sound like you made any new friends, or even talked to more than half a dozen people. Before you left, I thought you said you were going to get a real feel for the country and the people...what happened to the people part? I told you, you've gotta take me next time. I'll talk to people and get the real scoop on the country. I bet your head was probably just stuck in one your books again. All that reading sure paid off eh? I know more about Australian history and geography than one needs to know in a lifetime thanks to you. You do a good job of explaining it too. Perhaps you'd consider a teaching job at the local college instead of this writing thing. You'd be great at it! Trust me.
Oh, I heard you baseball team is doing good this year. Didn't take up cricket yet (haha)? I'm going to have to have a debate with you next time we get together about that; you really think baseball is more exciting than cricket? They are almost the same pace when compared to hockey!
Hey, what was up with your lack of writing on the Aborigines? You snuck in a few teasers about how they have a long long long and rich history, and how there were tons of modern day problems. Now, I'm no editor but, those sounded like they'd make for some great reading.
Um, not meaning to sound too frank (or rude in any way), and I'm hoping this comes across as constructive criticism for your next international travel book. The whole tone of this book made you sound like the stereotypical 'American' tourist. You know what I mean? Where anything not like America is somehow inferior. You just made way too many comments about Australia being backwards or outdated 'like 1950's America'. I found the only genuine sounding comment you made about the people was when you said something along the lines of how they walk in a casual, yet confident way, like Americans. Anyway, you know being Canadian I have an inferiority complex with you guys, so I'm probably blowing this thing out of proportion. Sorry.
I would enjoy hearing more of your travels. I understand you have another account of your trip through the Appalachian mountains. Sounds like a blast.
Well, the wife and kids are good. Planning a trip to Disney next winter, I'll send you my review of it, let you criticize the heck out of it ;)

Sincerely, Bookworm Smith

**I listened to this audiobook. It was read by Bill Bryson himself.


  1. Nice! He definitey snarked his way through Aussie.

    I lost a lot of patience wih him when he wrote of book (can't recall the title now) about places in the American West. . . Places I know. He didn't get it very right. Made me wonder about all his travel books.

  2. Love this post. Very funny and I agree 100%!