Friday, April 29, 2011

Books By Theme: If You Like Bill Bryson

"I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city." 
~ Bill Bryson, American author

book cover of Pass the Butterworms by Tim Cahill
by Tim Cahill
Vintage Departures, 1998

Outside magazine founding editor Tim Cahill offers a collection of travel essays that chronicle trips to such places as Mongolia, Yellowstone National Park, and Peru, where, on a serious note, he looks into a murder. To get a sense of Cahill's style, you just need to look at the titles of his books, such as Lost in My Own Backyard and A Wolverine Is Eating My Leg. While perhaps a bit more daring than Bryson in the adventures he embarks on, Cahill brings humor along with cogent and often personal commentary to his extensive travel writing; Bryson readers will certainly appreciate this as well as Cahill's companionable manner.

by Pete McCarthy
St. Martin's Press, 2003

Though his family lived in England, Pete McCarthy's heart belonged to his mother's Irish homeland, thanks in part to youthful summers spent at his uncle's idyllic farm in Cork. McCarthy's Bar chronicles the comedian/writer/BBC host's amusing Irish adventures as he searched for his green roots in the Emerald Isle's countryside and, of course, her pubs (after all, one should "never pass a bar that has your name on it"). Fans of Bill Bryon's Notes on a Small Island may be particularly interested in this funny, authentic look at England's neighbor. For more McCarthy, check out The Road to McCarthy, which finds him traveling around the globe looking for other McCarthys.

book cover of Travels with Alice by Calvin Trillin
by Calvin Trillin
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1999

In Travels with Alice, a lighthearted collection of essays first published in 1989, noted author and columnist Calvin Trillin recounts trips with his wife and two daughters. The family eats well (though they are more than familiar with Paris's fast-food restaurants) and enjoy amusing adventures in Europe and the Caribbean. Bryson fans might enjoy reading Trillin's work--although travel is not his specialty, he does go in search of interesting food and adventures, and his extremely humorous, conversational accounts resonate with insights into people and places.

by Mark Twain
North Books, 2003

Though he passed away 100 years ago, Mark Twain hit the bestseller lists last year when his unexpurgated autobiography was released. Travelogue fans may not be as interested in that recent book as they would be in Following the Equator (also known as More Tramps Abroad), an account first published in 1897 of Twain's globetrotting adventure around the world at age 60 as part of a speaking tour (he needed the money). Readers who appreciate Bryson's wit might want to read what another of America's great humorists wrote about travel. Additionally, Bryson fans who share his appreciation of history might enjoy this time-capsule look at life in the 19th century.

Books by Theme was inspired by both Melissa at One Librarians Book Reviews's feature Listless Monday and Court at Once Upon a Bookshelf's Listed feature.  Be sure to check out their lists!

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

I love Bryson, and really appreciated this list, as I had no idea where to find something similar. All of these sound good and have found a place on my wish list. Thanks for sharing them!

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