Saturday, April 14, 2007

who knew there was anything good about the fifities?

Bill Bryson has been our favorite read-aloud author (grown-up division) since the day I was looking for The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett and came across The Lost Continent instead. Evan just finished reading me The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, which like many of Bryson's books, made me want to cry in between all the hysterical laughter.

"We had the tastiest baked goods at Barbara's Bake Shoppe; the meatiest, most face-smearing ribs and crispiest fried chicken at a restaurant called the Country Gentleman; the best junk food at a drive-in called George the Chilli King. (And the best farts afterwards; a George's chilli burger was gone in minutes, but the farts, it was said, went on forever.) We had our own department stores, restaurants, clothing stores, supermarkets, drugstores, florists, hardware stores, movie theaters, hamburger joints, you name it--every one of them the best of its kind."

"Well, actually, who could say if they were the best of their kind? To know that, you'd have had to visit thousands of other towns and cities across the nation and tasted their ice cream and chocolate pie and so on because every place was different then. That was the glory of living in a world that was still largely free of global chains. Every community was special and nowhere was like everywhere else. If our commercial enterprises in Des Moines weren't the best, they were at least ours. At the very least, they all had things about them that made them interesting and different. (And they were the best.)"




Blogger Kelly bligged...

I LOVED this book too, Wendy. And I even live near DSM, so it was especially interesting.

I love Bill Bryson in audiobook form. He does the reading himself and it's great.

4/14/2007 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous bligged...

I thought this was a great book as well! Even though I'm from a younger generation and different continent I still managed to feel nostalgic for a lot of the scenes Bryson described.

4/15/2007 2:32 AM  
Blogger web bligged...

I dunno Kelly, as great as Bryson's reading must be, I don't think anyone could compare to Evan doing the "what the hell, what the hell is going on, what the hell is going on here!" scene. Perhaps I will have to tape him so we can copare. ;-)

Now he is reading me Notes from a Small Island and doing about 50 different British and Scottish accents... I'm just dying!

4/15/2007 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous bligged...

I was so weak with laughter while reading this book that I'd have to put the book down before I dropped it! I recommended this book to my brother-in-law to read on his painfully long flight to China. I told him the flight would be over before the laughter! He ran out and bought it that same day :-)

4/20/2007 5:27 PM  
Blogger web bligged...

When I do reader's advisory, half the time I wind up recommending Bryson. :-)

4/20/2007 6:02 PM  

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