Friday, September 19, 2008

Bill Bryson

I'm a big fan of Bill Bryson. His writing style is very laid-back, intelligent without being stuffy, not to mention laugh-out-loud hilarious at times. His writing is witty in a subtle, conversational way, and he has a knack for using words in unexpected ways.

"It shows a balding but not unhandsome man of about forty who sports a trim beard. In his left ear he wears a gold earring. His expression is confident, serenely rakish. This is not a man, you sense, to whom you would lightly entrust a wife or grown daughter."--p. 2 of "Shakespeare: the world as stage"

His book "A Walk in the Woods" is a classic. Some quotes from there:

"I turned to my own bunk and examined it with a kind of appalled fascination. If the mattress stains were anything to go by, a previous user had not so much suffered from incontinence as rejoiced in it."

About a waitress in whom Katz (Bryson’s hiking partner) feels a romantic interest:

"She went off to deal with a distant customer, and Katz watched her go with something like paternal pride. 'She's pretty ugly, isn’t she?' he said with a big, incongruous beam.
I sought for tact. 'Well, only compared with other women.'"

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