Friday, September 17, 2010

Neither Here Nor There

For a year now, I have had Neither Here Nor There on my 'must buy' list. The book has haunted me. The slanted cup of wine, the maps, the cover was capturing and my mind went traveling to destinations I have never seen. After all of this time I paused for a moment and thought, why haven't I read this book? What's holding me back? So off I went, book in hand, and quickly I flipped through it's pages.

I have never read a Bill Bryson book, although he has multiple publications that show up all over the store I work in, until I began to read Neither Here Nor There. I discovered an informative writer who had whit and charm. Generally, I get so involved in what I'm reading I barely make any movement, any outward comment, I'm just there in the words until something really outstanding happens. Something that makes me make a vocal noise or movement.

With this book I laughed out loud with each page. Despite being swept up in Bryson's adventures in Europe I was pausing to find my family and read passages out loud. He makes the reader understand that while Europe is an adventurous place where people could go and visit with wide eyes, these are people just like us who have their own way of living, even if they speak a different language and their culture isn't the same.

While Bryson was very honest of the faults of each place he went to I did grow a little weary of this attitude. It was refreshing to see so honest an account of traveling, but at times I thought, "For someone who wants to travel through Europe so badly, you certainly have a lot of complaints." But then he would say something witty and I'd laugh and forget the qualm I had.

If you're looking for a book with honesty about traveling in Europe and seek to laugh and think seriously about other lands. This is the book for you. Despite some of Bryson's whining I did enjoy the book and I plan on reading his other books (he has a slew of them!). If he has such a dry sense of humor about Europe (which in my minds eye is somewhere beautiful and alien to me, since I've never been there myself) I wonder what his opinion would be for places around America.

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