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A CLASSIC FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ONE SUMMER

After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly 3 million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliensas he later put it, "it was clear my people needed me"). They were greeted by a new and improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item.

Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I'm a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth. The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man's attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended if at times bemused love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: Crown Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780767931182
List price: $11.99
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I've read most of Bryson's books and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. This commentary on his return home to the United States after 20 years of life in Britain is no exception. Bryson has a wonderful way of seeing through the pretentiousness and silliness that afflict human cultures (and, these days, American culture in particular) and some of the columns published in this book have a bit of an edge. All in all, however, this is a gentler, kinder Bill Bryson than I am used to reading. The laughs came through as expected and I read it in a sitting. Lovely book. Highly recommended, especially for those who take themselves too seriously.more
Received an old, decrepit copy on request from BCL. It seems to be collection of columns Bill Bryson wrote about his move from England to US. I always maintain Bill Bryson is funny in parts. Some of his columns about America's love of rules, love for idea of convenience (half the convenience products are actually inconvenient, drive-in window takes more time in queue than going in and eating, no one walks etc etc), inefficiency, love to sue anybody and everybody, general stupidity and dumb instructions, too many choices that complicate etc. That Miss Alabama's stupid speech also figures in one of the columns.

I had fun in initial columns - initial being after page 39 (pages before that were missing in the library book)- meaning I laughed a lot. Later I got used to the drift and was reading just out of curiosity.

Book is replete with things we already know of but it was interesting to read so many funny anecdotes to support it.more
I think I'm done with Bryson after this. Inexplicably hostile to libraries and library-users, this book is fatally dated though it does have the odd charming turn of phrase. Bryson's bumbling, vaguely incompetent persona isn't half so cute as he thinks it is. And he cast aspersions upon the writing prowess of Donald Culross Peattie, of all people, which for me, was the final straw.more
I love Bryson's writing, so I was not surprised by how much I enjoyed the book, which is a compilation of weekly articles written about American life for an English newspaper. Although I was expecting more of a travelogue/different places in America kind of book, I was not disappointed. The articles' short length make them perfect for commute/light reading. Although the book was written around 15 years ago, many aspects of our culture are still the same.more
This is a collection of Bryson's newspaper columns, read aloud by the man himself. Always delightfully full of sarcastic observations, but adding a bit less snark and a bit more love here, Bryson is my constant audio car companion. The columns range in subject from the insanity of trying to rent a car to the humiliation of having to call your computer helpline. The short 10-15 chunks make excellent audio car ride material.more
As someone who often feels out of place despite having lived in the US my entire life, I appreciated reading Bryson's take on coming home after two decades in the UK. I also appreciate knowing that I may as well not ever try to watch cricket.more
Engaging enough, but many of the essays have a "I need to turn in a column tomorrow!" feel. Bryson is likeable enough to pull it off.more
Another hysterically funny, yet poignant observation of America.more
Amusing. As i spent quite a bit of time overseas myself and felt the cultural shock when first moving back to my native country.more
This book was very cute! I really enjoyed reading about the eccentricities of American culture, especially after living in England for twenty years. A very endearing read! I've listened to it a few times on my iTunes.more
I collection of newspaper columns he wrote for a few years after coming back to the United States after living in England for 20 years.He is as funny as ever and he is simply a great writer.more
Bryson's weakest book, but that is a fairly high standard so you'll probably like it if you enjoy his sense of humor. This one is a collection of essays to British readers about his experiences returning to live in the US with his family. The anti-everything-American thing gets a bit tiring.more
I'm not usually a fan of collected essays, mostly because, like this one, you suffer through more bad than celebrate good. Still, if you're a fan of Bryson's humor, you won't want to miss this one.more
Apparently, this is taken from a column Bill was writing when he returned from England (where he was living for 20 years of his adult life) back to his home country of America.For the most part the book's chapters (each about 3 and a half pages) muse on about the culture shock of how much things have changed since his youth, and how different things are in comparison to the way of the Britons. Of course, this is done with great humorous jest and observation (and frustration).Byson's actual humor is nearly silly, self-deprecating, and incredibly situational. No matter what his subject is, I will find myself emitting a series of laughs; from snickering giggles to donkey-like guffaws.A few times Bryson strays from the subject from which the book presents itself from its own synopsis; especially the chapters regarding the Titanic's last night (though, here he is picking on the British) and his commencement speech he gives to a college.But, gosh, I do love a good, witty observation of culture shock, and this book is plenty stocked.more
I thought this book was very funny. None of the columns is terribly long, but all of them show the ridiculous side of modern life in the United States. I especially enjoyed Bryson's attempts to explain baseball.more
Bryson writes good stuff as always but this is a collection of his newspaper columns so I enjoyed it rather less than some of his other works which hang together better. The columns start to follow a set formula after a while - probably as you would expect - and I found the little quirky twist at the end REALLY started to annoy me!more
My husband and I listened to this book on cd while taking a road-trip from Chicago to the Smoky Mountains. It was very entertaining and had us laughing so hard at times we were crying. Hearing the author read the book in his dry candor, definitely enhanced the experience.more
Hilarious, passionate, enticing, mind-boggling, and thought-provoking stuff! Love the short but thorough pieces in the novel. Bryson is a knockout travel writer and this book definitely shows the reader the ever-busy brain of that writer!more
I was skeptical of this book. The premise is Bryson has been away from American soil for twenty years (living in England) and the book is supposedly his running commentary on how different everything has become. Right off the bat I wanted to ask, "What? They didn't have ATM machines or public pay phones in England? Not even by the time Mr. Bryson left?" I have to admit, it never crossed my mind that England could be twenty years behind the U.S. in such things as technology and invention.In actuality, Bryson's book was, in a word, delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed his opening essay about the differences between English and American postal services. However, for the most part the comparisons ended there. It was more about how nonsensical America could be with it's rules and regulations. It reminded me of Robert Fulghum with his humorous observations.more
A collection of articles Bryson wrote about American places and culture upon his return from living in the UK. Easily the weakest of Bryson's books, his humor and insight seem to have taken some time to catch up with the rest of him.more
I don't think Bryson has written a book that I haven't enjoyed. In fact some of them have reduced me to dribbling incoherence, all red-faced from fighting for breath after laughing uncontrollably for what seems likes hours. And this book contains some very funny lines and situations, but Bryson's humour seems somewhat constrained by the format of short columns and this collection suffers because of that. To be honest all of these types of books tend to be a slight disappointment, rather than simply printing these slightly tawdry collections of weekly columns surely it would be better to get the writer to turn the material into a more coherent whole? Anyway, that aside, I found Bryson's often bemused interactions with what he still sees as his homeland generally interesting and amusing. I'd still recommend just about any of his other books over this one however.more
I'm currently re-reading this Bryson gem, and enjoying it very much. One thing I am noticing is that some of the essays (originally written for a British newspaper in 1990s) are a bit dated. The book still features Bryson's trademark humor, although the disjointed nature of the essays is less satisfying to me than Bryson's one-subject, continuous books (such as "A Walk in the Woods" or "Notes From a Small Island").more
Quick, funny essays about everyday life are harder to write than you might think. I marvel at them and take them apart the way you might take an old radio apart just to see if you can figure out how to put it back together.more
This book is comprised of a short column that Bill Bryson wrote for a British newspaper after he moved to Hanover, New Hampshire in the late 1990s. Though a few of the essays (e.g., those related to technology) are a bit dated, overall the columns were entertaining enough to keep me interested through a long plane flight. I was snickering often enough to make the people sitting next to me on the plane think I was extremely strange. Perfect for traveling as each essay is only a few pages long.more
A nice, light read; easy to get into, easy to read in small stages. Very true observations of American culture, and (as usual) he makes some points I hadn't ever stopped to think about.Bryson is one of my very favorite authors, and I enjoyed this book very much. All that said, this is not his very best book. Granted, this is due (almost entirely) to the difficulties of coming up with a column every week for two years...some of them work, some of them don't, and when they are read in just a few short sittings the reader gets the sense of repeated conent. But if this is one of your first forays into Bryson, I hope you won't let this book dissuade you from reading his other excellent publications.more
Bryson's collection of columns upon returning home to America after twenty years living in Britain. There is some very funny stuff here. Written for an audience in the UK, Bryson shares his observations on anything from American junk breakfast food, to the wonder of New England winters. Much fun.more
Read all 42 reviews

Reviews

I've read most of Bryson's books and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. This commentary on his return home to the United States after 20 years of life in Britain is no exception. Bryson has a wonderful way of seeing through the pretentiousness and silliness that afflict human cultures (and, these days, American culture in particular) and some of the columns published in this book have a bit of an edge. All in all, however, this is a gentler, kinder Bill Bryson than I am used to reading. The laughs came through as expected and I read it in a sitting. Lovely book. Highly recommended, especially for those who take themselves too seriously.more
Received an old, decrepit copy on request from BCL. It seems to be collection of columns Bill Bryson wrote about his move from England to US. I always maintain Bill Bryson is funny in parts. Some of his columns about America's love of rules, love for idea of convenience (half the convenience products are actually inconvenient, drive-in window takes more time in queue than going in and eating, no one walks etc etc), inefficiency, love to sue anybody and everybody, general stupidity and dumb instructions, too many choices that complicate etc. That Miss Alabama's stupid speech also figures in one of the columns.

I had fun in initial columns - initial being after page 39 (pages before that were missing in the library book)- meaning I laughed a lot. Later I got used to the drift and was reading just out of curiosity.

Book is replete with things we already know of but it was interesting to read so many funny anecdotes to support it.more
I think I'm done with Bryson after this. Inexplicably hostile to libraries and library-users, this book is fatally dated though it does have the odd charming turn of phrase. Bryson's bumbling, vaguely incompetent persona isn't half so cute as he thinks it is. And he cast aspersions upon the writing prowess of Donald Culross Peattie, of all people, which for me, was the final straw.more
I love Bryson's writing, so I was not surprised by how much I enjoyed the book, which is a compilation of weekly articles written about American life for an English newspaper. Although I was expecting more of a travelogue/different places in America kind of book, I was not disappointed. The articles' short length make them perfect for commute/light reading. Although the book was written around 15 years ago, many aspects of our culture are still the same.more
This is a collection of Bryson's newspaper columns, read aloud by the man himself. Always delightfully full of sarcastic observations, but adding a bit less snark and a bit more love here, Bryson is my constant audio car companion. The columns range in subject from the insanity of trying to rent a car to the humiliation of having to call your computer helpline. The short 10-15 chunks make excellent audio car ride material.more
As someone who often feels out of place despite having lived in the US my entire life, I appreciated reading Bryson's take on coming home after two decades in the UK. I also appreciate knowing that I may as well not ever try to watch cricket.more
Engaging enough, but many of the essays have a "I need to turn in a column tomorrow!" feel. Bryson is likeable enough to pull it off.more
Another hysterically funny, yet poignant observation of America.more
Amusing. As i spent quite a bit of time overseas myself and felt the cultural shock when first moving back to my native country.more
This book was very cute! I really enjoyed reading about the eccentricities of American culture, especially after living in England for twenty years. A very endearing read! I've listened to it a few times on my iTunes.more
I collection of newspaper columns he wrote for a few years after coming back to the United States after living in England for 20 years.He is as funny as ever and he is simply a great writer.more
Bryson's weakest book, but that is a fairly high standard so you'll probably like it if you enjoy his sense of humor. This one is a collection of essays to British readers about his experiences returning to live in the US with his family. The anti-everything-American thing gets a bit tiring.more
I'm not usually a fan of collected essays, mostly because, like this one, you suffer through more bad than celebrate good. Still, if you're a fan of Bryson's humor, you won't want to miss this one.more
Apparently, this is taken from a column Bill was writing when he returned from England (where he was living for 20 years of his adult life) back to his home country of America.For the most part the book's chapters (each about 3 and a half pages) muse on about the culture shock of how much things have changed since his youth, and how different things are in comparison to the way of the Britons. Of course, this is done with great humorous jest and observation (and frustration).Byson's actual humor is nearly silly, self-deprecating, and incredibly situational. No matter what his subject is, I will find myself emitting a series of laughs; from snickering giggles to donkey-like guffaws.A few times Bryson strays from the subject from which the book presents itself from its own synopsis; especially the chapters regarding the Titanic's last night (though, here he is picking on the British) and his commencement speech he gives to a college.But, gosh, I do love a good, witty observation of culture shock, and this book is plenty stocked.more
I thought this book was very funny. None of the columns is terribly long, but all of them show the ridiculous side of modern life in the United States. I especially enjoyed Bryson's attempts to explain baseball.more
Bryson writes good stuff as always but this is a collection of his newspaper columns so I enjoyed it rather less than some of his other works which hang together better. The columns start to follow a set formula after a while - probably as you would expect - and I found the little quirky twist at the end REALLY started to annoy me!more
My husband and I listened to this book on cd while taking a road-trip from Chicago to the Smoky Mountains. It was very entertaining and had us laughing so hard at times we were crying. Hearing the author read the book in his dry candor, definitely enhanced the experience.more
Hilarious, passionate, enticing, mind-boggling, and thought-provoking stuff! Love the short but thorough pieces in the novel. Bryson is a knockout travel writer and this book definitely shows the reader the ever-busy brain of that writer!more
I was skeptical of this book. The premise is Bryson has been away from American soil for twenty years (living in England) and the book is supposedly his running commentary on how different everything has become. Right off the bat I wanted to ask, "What? They didn't have ATM machines or public pay phones in England? Not even by the time Mr. Bryson left?" I have to admit, it never crossed my mind that England could be twenty years behind the U.S. in such things as technology and invention.In actuality, Bryson's book was, in a word, delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed his opening essay about the differences between English and American postal services. However, for the most part the comparisons ended there. It was more about how nonsensical America could be with it's rules and regulations. It reminded me of Robert Fulghum with his humorous observations.more
A collection of articles Bryson wrote about American places and culture upon his return from living in the UK. Easily the weakest of Bryson's books, his humor and insight seem to have taken some time to catch up with the rest of him.more
I don't think Bryson has written a book that I haven't enjoyed. In fact some of them have reduced me to dribbling incoherence, all red-faced from fighting for breath after laughing uncontrollably for what seems likes hours. And this book contains some very funny lines and situations, but Bryson's humour seems somewhat constrained by the format of short columns and this collection suffers because of that. To be honest all of these types of books tend to be a slight disappointment, rather than simply printing these slightly tawdry collections of weekly columns surely it would be better to get the writer to turn the material into a more coherent whole? Anyway, that aside, I found Bryson's often bemused interactions with what he still sees as his homeland generally interesting and amusing. I'd still recommend just about any of his other books over this one however.more
I'm currently re-reading this Bryson gem, and enjoying it very much. One thing I am noticing is that some of the essays (originally written for a British newspaper in 1990s) are a bit dated. The book still features Bryson's trademark humor, although the disjointed nature of the essays is less satisfying to me than Bryson's one-subject, continuous books (such as "A Walk in the Woods" or "Notes From a Small Island").more
Quick, funny essays about everyday life are harder to write than you might think. I marvel at them and take them apart the way you might take an old radio apart just to see if you can figure out how to put it back together.more
This book is comprised of a short column that Bill Bryson wrote for a British newspaper after he moved to Hanover, New Hampshire in the late 1990s. Though a few of the essays (e.g., those related to technology) are a bit dated, overall the columns were entertaining enough to keep me interested through a long plane flight. I was snickering often enough to make the people sitting next to me on the plane think I was extremely strange. Perfect for traveling as each essay is only a few pages long.more
A nice, light read; easy to get into, easy to read in small stages. Very true observations of American culture, and (as usual) he makes some points I hadn't ever stopped to think about.Bryson is one of my very favorite authors, and I enjoyed this book very much. All that said, this is not his very best book. Granted, this is due (almost entirely) to the difficulties of coming up with a column every week for two years...some of them work, some of them don't, and when they are read in just a few short sittings the reader gets the sense of repeated conent. But if this is one of your first forays into Bryson, I hope you won't let this book dissuade you from reading his other excellent publications.more
Bryson's collection of columns upon returning home to America after twenty years living in Britain. There is some very funny stuff here. Written for an audience in the UK, Bryson shares his observations on anything from American junk breakfast food, to the wonder of New England winters. Much fun.more
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