I’m not the only one who gets nostalgic

One of my favourite authors is Bill Bryson. I haven’t yet read The Thunderbolt Kid yet (I have a dislike of hardbacks, though I’m currently reading Michael Palin’s diaries in hardback — and loving it). Bryson is touring at the moment, and Jon Faine’s conversation with him last Friday on ABC 774 is available to be downloaded — MP3 download (Bill is on from about the 11 minute mark). Likewise an appearance on Radio National’s Book Show.

It’s interesting to hear Bill and the others in the programmes pondering the benefits from migration and multiculturalism, and the nostalgia we all feel for our childhood. Bill despairing about now finding Starbucks all over the world (we already had perfectly good coffee shops) and that the whole of the (western) world is starting to look identical reminds me a little of Paul Kelly’s Every F’in City.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

7 replies on “I’m not the only one who gets nostalgic”

I too enjoy Bill Bryson’s books. I have just read The Thunderbolt Kid and enjoyed it for the most part. Got it as a Xmas present, otherwise would have waited for the cheaper soft cover version somewhere down the track.

I am listening to his A Short History of Nearly Everything on my IPod at the moment while doing post-kids-asleep housework and it is wonderful – informative, hilarious and so engaging, as are all of his travel books.

I do like Bill Bryson, started by reading a copy of his travels in Australia I had picked up from a second hand stall so I could reminisce about my 5 short years living there. and I liked his style.

I’ve read quite a few of his books now, and grab ones I haven’t read if I see them.

A mate handed a Bill Bryson book (The Lost Continent) as I left for the US on for a work trip a few months ago. I am really glad he did, because there couldn’t have been a more perfect thing to read. By chance, I went to a few places he mentioned and I cacked myself the whole way.
On the way back I watched Kenny on the plane. Kenny went to the same hotel I had just been in, and all the same places like the Pro-Bass shop and the Wild Horse Saloon. I tried haring my excitemnt with the two koreans that were sitting next to me, but I don’t think they understood. Billy and Kenny made it a great trip.

Oh no! My latest thing is audio books on my MP3 player and I’ve been listening to the Thunderbolt Kid and not the radio – dont tell me I’ve missed Bryson in Melbourne again!!!???

Can only find something on the Randomhouse website for Sydney on his tour – is that coz Melbourne is all over??? Wahhhhh!!! I’d read his shopping list if he cared to publish it!


I’ve also just finished reading TTK as well. Some have complained that it’s not enough a biography, that Bryson is basically a bystander in the book, but that didn’t worry me at all – he usually is the onlooker. To me it was a memoir about the era, the people who inhabited it rather than him.


My fave Bryson book has to be “A Walk in the Woods” which is something of a failed journey – he set himself a goal, but didn’t reach it, but that distracts not at all from the tale. Highly recommended!

PS – I saw him speak, and do a reading and signing in Carlton over 10 years ago. I have two nice volumes of his now signed.

Nice, Tony – I was hoping to hear him do a reading this time.. oh well. When I read on the train, I also check out what other people are reading and if it’s a book I really love, I might strike up a conversation (what!?? Public Transport Users talking to each other!!!). However, it’s only when I;ve been reading Bryson, that others have ventured to talk to me…..

Walk in the woods is a favourite of mine too – the Stephen Katz character is hilarious.

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