Neither Here nor There
Bill Bryson's first travel book, The Lost Continent, was unanimously acclaimed as one of the funniest books in years. In Neither Here nor There he brings his unique brand of humour to bear on Europe as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet, and journeys from Hammerfest, the northernmost town on the continent, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia. Fluent in, oh, at least one language, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before.Whether braving the homicidal motorist of Paris, being robbed by gypsies in Florence, attempting not to order tripe and eyeballs in a German restaurant, window-shopping in the sex shops of the Reeperbahn or disputing his hotel bill in Copenhagen, Bryson takes in the sights, dissects the culture and illuminates each place and person with his hilariously caustic observations. He even goes to Liechtenstein.

Neither Here nor There Details

TitleNeither Here nor There
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 28th, 1993
PublisherWilliam Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN-139780380713806
Rating
GenreTravel, Nonfiction, Humor, Autobiography, Memoir

Neither Here nor There Review

  • Markus
    January 1, 1970
    Bryson at his worst. He is the whining American tourist he claims to detest. Meandering through a dozen or so european countries, he manages to complain about virtually every hotel accomodation. And for christ sake Bill, put a freakin map in your book. I'm not totally ignorant when it comes to european geography but if youre gonna write about travelling hundreds of miles every other day, i'd like to glance at the route with out having to bust out my world atlas.After Shorthistoryof nearly everyt Bryson at his worst. He is the whining American tourist he claims to detest. Meandering through a dozen or so european countries, he manages to complain about virtually every hotel accomodation. And for christ sake Bill, put a freakin map in your book. I'm not totally ignorant when it comes to european geography but if youre gonna write about travelling hundreds of miles every other day, i'd like to glance at the route with out having to bust out my world atlas.After Shorthistoryof nearly everything i was so high on him, now this...
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  • Brendon Schrodinger
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a fan of Bill Bryson.I'm not a fan of the complaining, whingeing, swilling pleb who wrote this travel book. No, this is too harsh. But I do feel a little ripped off only because I know how interesting a Bill Bryson book can be. There's no history in this book, there's no culture, there is very little interesting stories. Here is what it felt like:So I got off the train at Hergenbootensberg and it was raining. Why does it always rain when I travel? The place was a dirty shithole and no one sp I'm a fan of Bill Bryson.I'm not a fan of the complaining, whingeing, swilling pleb who wrote this travel book. No, this is too harsh. But I do feel a little ripped off only because I know how interesting a Bill Bryson book can be. There's no history in this book, there's no culture, there is very little interesting stories. Here is what it felt like:So I got off the train at Hergenbootensberg and it was raining. Why does it always rain when I travel? The place was a dirty shithole and no one spoke English at all. I went to a travel desk and complained to them and then asked them to find me a room for the night.The room was full of mildew and smelt like an armpit. So I smoked. There were no restaurants open just McDonalds everywhere I could see. So I ate a burger and complained to the workers there about their weird foreign McDonalds burgers.The next day I walked 10 miles to a rich principality. They were all rich and I was poor. It was shit. So I walked back to my hotel and stole the towels. And then I smoked. I'll be onto Belgium soon.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    This book hits the sweet spot: Bill Bryson travels around Europe, entertaining us with his humor and thoughtful observations, and also sharing memories of a similar trip he took in the 1970s with his bumbling friend, Stephen Katz.Ah, poor Stephen. If you have read Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods, which is about hiking the Appalachian Trail, you will remember Mr. Katz as the comic foil, the ridiculously overweight guy who complained a lot and who threw away critical supplies because they were t This book hits the sweet spot: Bill Bryson travels around Europe, entertaining us with his humor and thoughtful observations, and also sharing memories of a similar trip he took in the 1970s with his bumbling friend, Stephen Katz.Ah, poor Stephen. If you have read Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods, which is about hiking the Appalachian Trail, you will remember Mr. Katz as the comic foil, the ridiculously overweight guy who complained a lot and who threw away critical supplies because they were too heavy in his pack. Here is how Bryson introduces Stephen in Neither Here nor There:"Katz was the sort of person who would lie in a darkened hotel room while you were trying to sleep and talk for hours in graphic, sometimes luridly perverted, detail about what he would like to do to various high school nymphets, given his druthers and some of theirs, or announce his farts by saying, 'Here comes a good one. You ready?' and then grade them for volume, duration, and odorosity, as he called it. The best thing that could be said about traveling abroad with Katz was that it spared the rest of America from having to spend the summer with him."Hahaha! This book frequently made me laugh out loud and want to read passages to friends, but of course I had trouble getting the words out because I couldn't stop laughing. It wasn't just stories about Katz that I enjoyed. Bryson toured all over Europe -- he started in Hammerfest, Norway, to see the Northern Lights, then jetted over to Paris, then Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Rome, Naples, Florence, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Yugoslavia and Istanbul. (That isn't even a complete list, but you get the idea -- he literally traveled from one end of Europe to the other.)While in Istanbul, Bryson decides he is finally ready to return to England:"I had come to the end of my own road. That was Asia over there; this was as far as I could go in Europe. It was time to end this long indulgence and go home ... And I was, I admit, ready to go. I missed my family and the comfortable familiarities of life. I was tired of the daily drudgery of keeping myself fed and bedded, tired of trains and buses, tired of existing in a world of strangers, tired of being forever perplexed and lost, tired above all of my own dull company. How many times in recent days had I sat trapped on buses or trains listening to my idly prattling mind and wished that I could just get up and walk out on myself? At the same time, I had a quite irrational urge to keep going. There is something about the momentum of travel that makes you want to just keep moving, to never stop."This book was first published in 1992, but Bryson's comments and anecdotes were so thoughtful and entertaining that it still felt relevant. I listened to this on audio, read by the author, and as I have said many times before, Bryson is a delightful narrator. The next time you get the blues, get yourself a Bill Bryson book and it will cheer you right up.
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  • Roy Lotz
    January 1, 1970
    I had a rather curious experience while reading this book. Because I'll be in Europe shortly, and I've been on a Bryson binge anyway, I downloaded the audiobook onto my phone and began listening. I took a walk and was merrily following along, until, at about one third of the way through, a thought flashed through my mind—This book sucks! I was taken by surprise, because up until then I thought I'd been enjoying it. But the further I read, the more my judgment was justified. I'm sorry to say this I had a rather curious experience while reading this book. Because I'll be in Europe shortly, and I've been on a Bryson binge anyway, I downloaded the audiobook onto my phone and began listening. I took a walk and was merrily following along, until, at about one third of the way through, a thought flashed through my mind—This book sucks! I was taken by surprise, because up until then I thought I'd been enjoying it. But the further I read, the more my judgment was justified. I'm sorry to say this, Bill, but this book is not very good.To put it briefly, Bryson comes across as extremely immature in this book, both as a writer and as a person. He tries hard to be funny, but too often ends up making jokes about cultural stereotypes—Italians are bad drivers, the French are rude, and so on—or simply engaging in hyperbolic descriptions of extremely ordinary events, which unfortunately only serve to magnify their ordinariness rather than to alleviate it. This book contains very few of Bryson's trademark little-known anecdotes, and almost nothing that could be deemed insightful about the places he visits. He spends a distressing about of time talking about hotels and restaurants—mostly to complain about them—and more than once ends up eating in a McDonald's. Bryson even complains that a menu in a German restaurant was written in German. He might as well have stayed at home.I am, however, happy to report that Bryson has shown a definite progress in his writing ability and worldview over the years. In chronological order, of Bryson's books I've read Neither Here nor There (1993), Notes from a Small Island (1995), A Walk in the Woods (1998), In a Sunburned Country (2000), and A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003). And in terms of quality, I would rank them in the same order. So however immature he may have been, at least he's shaped up; and it's a great sign when people are able to change for the better.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    Three and a half stars rounded up.It’s never a good idea to read Bill Bryson on public transportation. Stifling belly laughs can be painful and the resulting noise sounds like something between strangling an aardvark and air rapidly escaping from a balloon.The benefits: Fellow commuters won’t look you in the eye and go out of their way to avoid you, so I practically have the whole train car to myself.This is one of Bryson’s earlier books, so it’s long on humor, random observations and anecdotes, Three and a half stars rounded up.It’s never a good idea to read Bill Bryson on public transportation. Stifling belly laughs can be painful and the resulting noise sounds like something between strangling an aardvark and air rapidly escaping from a balloon.The benefits: Fellow commuters won’t look you in the eye and go out of their way to avoid you, so I practically have the whole train car to myself.This is one of Bryson’s earlier books, so it’s long on humor, random observations and anecdotes, and short on insight. He comes off as a lightweight Paul Theroux; however, I was in the mood for laughs and there are plenty contained here.My previous Bryson book was A Walk in the Woods, so it was nice to hear more about everyone’s nightmare travelling companion, Stephen Katz, even it was via flashback. Not only does Katz have awful luck with bird’s crapping on his head, but he has the singular worst pick up line ever.
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  • Eric_W
    January 1, 1970
    Bryson writes hysterical travel books. In this one he sets out to re-create a backpacking trip of Europe he made during the seventies when he was twenty. His descriptions of people and places will have you falling out of your chair. The beer he is offered in Belgium, for example, defies his palate. He just can’t associate the taste with any previous experience, but finally decides it puts him in mind of a very large urine sample, possibly from a circus animal. (He should have stuck with Coca-Col Bryson writes hysterical travel books. In this one he sets out to re-create a backpacking trip of Europe he made during the seventies when he was twenty. His descriptions of people and places will have you falling out of your chair. The beer he is offered in Belgium, for example, defies his palate. He just can’t associate the taste with any previous experience, but finally decides it puts him in mind of a very large urine sample, possibly from a circus animal. (He should have stuck with Coca-Cola, nicht wahr, Wendell?) Bryson has truly captured some of the giddy enjoyment that I experience when traveling in a foreign country where one does not speak the language. “I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything. You have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work. . . . Your whole existence becomes a series of interestingguesses.”At the Arc de Triomphe, some thirteen streets come together. “Can you imagine? I mean to say, here you have a city with the world’s most pathologically aggressive drivers -- who in other circumstances would be given injections of valium from syringes the size of basketball jumps and confined to their beds with leather straps -- and you give them an open space where they can all go in any of thirteen directions at once. Is that asking for trouble or what?”Interspersed are salient comments about traveling on European trains. “There is no scope for privacy and of course there is nothing like being trapped in a train compartment on a long journey to bring all those unassuageable little frailties of the human body crowding to the front of your mind – the withheld fart, the three and a half square yards of boxer shorts that have somehow become concertinaed between your buttocks, the Kellogg’s corn flake that is unaccountably lodged deep in your left nostril,”. . .and rude comments about the Swiss: “What do you call a gathering of boring people in Switzerland? Zurich.” He reveals some funny stories about himself. “I had no gift for woodworking. Everyone else in the class was building things like cedar chests and oceangoing boats and getting to play with dangerous and noisy power tools, but I had to sit at the Basics Table with Tubby Tucker and a kid who was so stupid that I don't think we ever learned his name. We just called him 'Drooler.' The three of us weren't allowed anything more dangerous than sandpaper and Elmer's Glue, so we would sit week after week making little nothings out of offcuts, except for Drooler, who would just eat the glue. Mr. Dreck never missed a chance to humiliate me. 'And what is this?' he would say, seizing some mangled block of wood on which I had been laboring for the last twenty-seven weeks and holding it aloft for the class to titter at. 'I've beenteaching shop for sixteen years, Mr. Bryson, and I have to say this is the worst beveled edge I've ever seen.' He held up a birdhouse of mine once and it just collapsed in his hands. The class roared. Tubby Tucker laughed so hard that he almost choked. He laughed for twenty minutes, even when I whispered to him across the table that if he didn't stop it I would bevel his testicles."It used to be -- not as common now as formerly -- that each public washroom had an attendant whose job it was to keep everything clean, and you were expected to drop in some change for his or her income. The sex of the attendant was irrelevant to the sex of the washroom and Bryson had difficulty getting used to the idea of some cleaning lady watching him urinate to make sure he didn't "dribble on the tiles or pocket any of the urinal cakes. It is hard enough to pee when you are aware that someone's eyes are on you, but when you fear that at any moment you will be felled by a rabbit chop to the kidneys for taking too much time, you seize up altogether. You couldn't have cleared my system with Drano. So eventually I would zip up and return unrelieved to the table [in the restaurant:], and spend the night back at the hotel doing a series of Niagara Falls impressions."Bryson does not mince words, and his perspective on former Austrian president Waldheim echoes mine but is perhaps more trenchant. “I fully accept Dr. Waldheim’s explanation that when he saw forty thousand Jews being loaded onto cattle trucks at Salonika, he genuinely believed they were being sent to the seaside for a holiday. For the sake of fairness, I should point out that Waldheim insists he never even knew that the Jews of Salonika were being shipped off to Auschwitz. And let’s be fair again – they accounted for no more than one third of the city’s entire population (italics theirs), and it is of course entirely plausible that a high-ranking Nazi officer in the district could have been unaware of what was happening within his area of command. Let’s give the man a break. I mean to say, when the Sturmabteilung, or stormtroopers, burned down forty-two of Vienna’s forty three synagogues during Kristallnacht, Waldheim did wait a whole week before joining theunit. . . . Christ, the man was practically a resistance hero. . . .Austrians should be proud of him and proud of themselves for having the courage to stand up to world opinion and elect a man of his caliber, overlooking the fact that he is a pathological liar. . .that he has a past so mired in mis-truths that no one but he knows what he has done. It takes a special kind of people to stand behind a man like that.”
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  • Jason Koivu
    January 1, 1970
    Huh. Turns out Bryson is a dirty ol' bugger!This travel-across-Europe journal is fun, educational and entertaining. I love travel and I like learning about far-off places. Europe has been done and overdone, yet I still find it fascinating. Bryson's recollections are from when he wrote the book in the '90s as well as from a previous trip he and his friend Katz took. Regardless of when the reminisces come from, details ring true from the experiences I've had of the same places, such Paris and part Huh. Turns out Bryson is a dirty ol' bugger!This travel-across-Europe journal is fun, educational and entertaining. I love travel and I like learning about far-off places. Europe has been done and overdone, yet I still find it fascinating. Bryson's recollections are from when he wrote the book in the '90s as well as from a previous trip he and his friend Katz took. Regardless of when the reminisces come from, details ring true from the experiences I've had of the same places, such Paris and parts of Italy. Apparently some things never change. However, it was cool to get his take on the place. At times he gets a little grumpy, but overall this is lighthearted and goodnatured. He has a adequate store of patience and his take-it-as-it-comes attitude keeps most of this from sinking into endless gripes.Fun as this was, it's not my favorite of the six or so of Bryon's works I've read to this point. I haven't found this in his later books, but earlier on his writing seems to show a distracting obsession with sex. That's fine. I mean, I'm a dirty bird too, but I really don't want to know about the fetishes of a mid-aged man. I am one and it's not pretty. Hey, I'm sure that's someone's bag. Somewhere out there some sad sod is thinking, "I wonder what gets boring, bald and wrinkled old Phil from accounting off?" But that's not me...not yet anyhow. Who knows maybe someday my sexuality will warp in an unexpected way.Oh, who am I kidding...*zip*
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    This book was highly entertaining at times, I can't say it wasn't. In fact, it was highly entertaining most of the time. However, I can't say I learned hardly anything about any of the places Bill Bryson visited. He reserves most of his commentary for how far he walked to get to a train station, how fast or slow the train rides were, and how cornflake-sized bugars feel in his nose while on those train rides...I hate to bash authors...that's not what I'm trying to do here. I am simply trying to s This book was highly entertaining at times, I can't say it wasn't. In fact, it was highly entertaining most of the time. However, I can't say I learned hardly anything about any of the places Bill Bryson visited. He reserves most of his commentary for how far he walked to get to a train station, how fast or slow the train rides were, and how cornflake-sized bugars feel in his nose while on those train rides...I hate to bash authors...that's not what I'm trying to do here. I am simply trying to say Bryson's book was not what I was expecting and did not give me what I look for in reading travel novels (I like to get a grasp of what different places are like, the ambience, the people, maybe a little history). Also, it was about a year ago that I read this book, and I am sure some of these tidbits were woven into his writing. However, I do remember feeling let down at the time and coming to the conclusion that inserting this sort of substance into his writing was not his main focus, although it may have slipped in somewhere along the way.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    The reason I read this book is because there have been some excellent extracts from it in the course books I teach from. Unfortunately I think those extracts were actually the best bits... I certainly learnt nothing new from reading the entire book.Bryson is funny, but after a while he comes across as whiny and just a touch xenophobic. I've never quite understood the point of travelling and then asking for 'something that would pass for food in America' to eat.Furthermore, the chapter structure The reason I read this book is because there have been some excellent extracts from it in the course books I teach from. Unfortunately I think those extracts were actually the best bits... I certainly learnt nothing new from reading the entire book.Bryson is funny, but after a while he comes across as whiny and just a touch xenophobic. I've never quite understood the point of travelling and then asking for 'something that would pass for food in America' to eat.Furthermore, the chapter structure became a little tiresome after a while: the routine of arrive, find hotel, have steaming hot shower/bath, wander round town, have something to eat was rarely deviated from.Perhaps this book was considered quite differently at the time of publishing, before the era of cheap flights meant Europe was easily accessible to all.
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  • Leftbanker
    January 1, 1970
    Why bother to actually travel when you can just regurgitate stereotypes that have been passed around since man invented borders? Honest to God, he really complains about haughty Parisian waiters. I didn’t find anything in this book of essays to be even remotely insightful and I don’t ever find Bryson to be funny. Most of what I have read by him is just a collection of his gripes against the rest of humanity. I have never read any of his travel stuff where he actually meets an interesting person Why bother to actually travel when you can just regurgitate stereotypes that have been passed around since man invented borders? Honest to God, he really complains about haughty Parisian waiters. I didn’t find anything in this book of essays to be even remotely insightful and I don’t ever find Bryson to be funny. Most of what I have read by him is just a collection of his gripes against the rest of humanity. I have never read any of his travel stuff where he actually meets an interesting person who has something worth saying. When I first read this several years ago I just figured that it was the first thing Bryson wrote, perhaps when he was a college student packbacking around Europe. It was published when he was 48 years old. It is completely lacking in the sort of wisdom you would expect from a writer in full middle age. I like most of his non-travel books just so you won't think that I have it in for this guy. He just seems to hate to travel and he despises everyone he meets along the way. Stay the fuck home.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    I am a fan of Bill Bryson's. Like so many of his other books, this book did not disappoint me. Occasionally his humor is a bit over-the-top, but I love it anyway!When Bill Bryson was in college he toured Europe with his friend Stephen Katz. In this book, Bryson is much older, married with kids, and follows in basically the same footsteps, in a sense trying to recreate his earlier tour. He is alone this time, going from Scandinavia to Turkey, mostly by train and bus.Bryson makes the trip in order I am a fan of Bill Bryson's. Like so many of his other books, this book did not disappoint me. Occasionally his humor is a bit over-the-top, but I love it anyway!When Bill Bryson was in college he toured Europe with his friend Stephen Katz. In this book, Bryson is much older, married with kids, and follows in basically the same footsteps, in a sense trying to recreate his earlier tour. He is alone this time, going from Scandinavia to Turkey, mostly by train and bus.Bryson makes the trip in order re-familiarize himself with the places and cultures of the countries he visits. He has no reservations about telling you what he really thinks. And his remarks are usually steeped in humor; he knows how to turn lemons into lemonade.What did I learn from this book? Well, in the future I will always prefer American Express travelers checks to those from Visa. I will avoid Austria. I will avoid gypsies, especially the kids. Communism is an economic system to avoid.This book kept me entertained; most definitely! And I definitely recommend the audiobook. Bill Bryson himself narrates his book, and he is great! He does the various accents with zest and his humor, sarcasm and wit come through with flying colors in the audiobook.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    In this book travel writer Bill Bryson wrote about a whirlwind trip through Europe that seemed designed solely to give him something to write about rather than a journey he actually wanted to take. I didn't take notes so Bryson's stops in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Lichtenstein, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Austria, Italy, etc. blended together into a continuous blur of traveling, finding hotels, walking around, looking at things, eating, drinking, and so on. I could hardly distinguish one city from anot In this book travel writer Bill Bryson wrote about a whirlwind trip through Europe that seemed designed solely to give him something to write about rather than a journey he actually wanted to take. I didn't take notes so Bryson's stops in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Lichtenstein, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Austria, Italy, etc. blended together into a continuous blur of traveling, finding hotels, walking around, looking at things, eating, drinking, and so on. I could hardly distinguish one city from another. Bryson's observations are meant to be humorous (and sometimes are) but they're almost always snide and critical. Again and again Bryson complains that the cities he visited were dirty and filled with litter; had menus he couldn't read; served bad food that cost too much; harbored surly, unhelpful or purposely obstructive service workers (clerks, waiters, hotel staff); sported poor transportation with inconvenient schedules; wouldn't accept whatever kind of money he happened to have; allowed panhandlers in the streets; sold useless merchandise; and on and on and on. Bryson has a (probably well-deserved) animus toward Germany for the Holocaust and Austria for electing a former Nazi to be president - but his extreme hostility is a jarring note in what's supposed to be an entertaining romp. The book is also heavy with sexual innuendos, has numerous comments about prostitutes, describes lots of excessive drinking, and contains 'dirty' language that's off-putting in the context of a light-hearted travel story (and I'm no prude). On the positive side Bryson's descriptions of some of the sights he sees are interesting: the northern lights, museums, parks, historic sites, artworks, and so on. Still, I had to force myself to finish and was glad when he finally went home. Not one of Bryson's best efforts. You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Notes from a Small Island’ and ‘Neither Here nor There’ are Bill Bryson’s early travelogues concerning his journeys through Britain and other European countries respectively.Both of these books are the strongest and the funniest of Bryson’s earliest work and undoubtedly established his reputation (at that time) as a travel writer and commentator of repute, producing engaging and very entertaining travelogues. Now very much the Anglo-American (having lived at times in the UK and now holding dual ‘Notes from a Small Island’ and ‘Neither Here nor There’ are Bill Bryson’s early travelogues concerning his journeys through Britain and other European countries respectively.Both of these books are the strongest and the funniest of Bryson’s earliest work and undoubtedly established his reputation (at that time) as a travel writer and commentator of repute, producing engaging and very entertaining travelogues. Now very much the Anglo-American (having lived at times in the UK and now holding dual UK/US nationality) Bryson writes here very much as ‘a young American abroad’ – with all the cultural and language based misunderstandings that predictably ensue. Whilst all this could certainly have been trite, pedestrian and clichéd as well as probably unfunny and verging on the xenophobic, what Bryson does here though is very much far from that – the joke more often than not is on him and just as importantly, the jokes are more often than not very funny.What also comes across in addition to the humour, is the open mind and love (although admittedly occasionally hate) that Bryson has for travel and exploring other countries and cultures.Bryson’s more recent books are now no longer limited to the ‘travel’ genre and have been of varying quality; he still however produces some great reads every now and then (most recently see: ‘One Summer: America, 1927’) – but this was where it all started.
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  • Adrienne
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure I'm going to finish this book because I'm only on page 41 and I can barely focus on the words because I'm overwhelmed by the desire to to punch him very, very hard. I was trying to let some other ignorant comments go but then the chapter on Paris began. He goes on about how lights in French hotels are on a timer causing people to grope around in the dark if they do not find their room quickly enough: "And from this I learned one very important lesson: The French do not like us. On m I'm not sure I'm going to finish this book because I'm only on page 41 and I can barely focus on the words because I'm overwhelmed by the desire to to punch him very, very hard. I was trying to let some other ignorant comments go but then the chapter on Paris began. He goes on about how lights in French hotels are on a timer causing people to grope around in the dark if they do not find their room quickly enough: "And from this I learned one very important lesson: The French do not like us. On my first trip to Paris, I kept wondering: 'Why does everyone hate me so much?'....The other thing I have never understood about the French is why they are so ungrateful. I've always felt that since it was us that liberated them--because let's face it, the French Army couldn't beat a girls' hockey team--they ought to give all Allied visitors to the country a book of coupons good for free drinks in Pigalle and a ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower. But they never thank you."Seriously? They should thank us and give us free things? His arrogance and sense of entitlement is disgusting. It's the same thinking that caused people (who had never been to Paris) to tell me prior to my trip abroad that French people hate Americans. As I expected, this statement was completely wrong and everyone I interacted with was polite and helpful, many friendly (gasp!). I can't imagine I will learn anything useful from this book other than how sorry I am for every person who encountered (and will encounter) Bill Bryson on his travels.
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  • Hayes
    January 1, 1970
    Amusing enough, along the lines of The Innocents Abroad: or, The New Pilgrims' Progress, but of course Mark Twain's version is far more amusing. Some funny observations about various places and people throughout Europe, many of which, nay, most of which he did not like or enjoy. Tries too hard for the laugh. Stick with the original:
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  • Jan-Maat
    January 1, 1970
    I find Bryson a very skilful author, easy to read, enjoyable while it lasts and then completely forgettable. It is the the snack you can read between books and not spoil your appetite. All I can definitely remember from this one is the 'pick-up' line his sidekick used in pubs and clubs (view spoiler)[he invited young women to assist him in moving his seminal fluid a short distance in more or less those words, at least, that is how Bryson reports it (hide spoiler)]. It is an OK, middle of the roa I find Bryson a very skilful author, easy to read, enjoyable while it lasts and then completely forgettable. It is the the snack you can read between books and not spoil your appetite. All I can definitely remember from this one is the 'pick-up' line his sidekick used in pubs and clubs (view spoiler)[he invited young women to assist him in moving his seminal fluid a short distance in more or less those words, at least, that is how Bryson reports it (hide spoiler)]. It is an OK, middle of the road, Bryson effort. The middle of the road is where Bryson aspires to be, and that is the key to his writing. It is not challenging, there is flow, he creates a genial atmosphere. In it's own way it is almost perfect writing, demonstrating a consistently easy facility. From another point of view it's strengths make it highly unsatisfying, it is lazy, makes no connection with the people or places he visits and provides no insights into other lives. It is the literary equivalent of easy listening, perfectly providing the experience of having a pleasant time without actually engaging the reader in a substantive way.This book is neither enlightening nor informative, I would recommend Notes from a Small Island as the best example of his work.
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  • Cynthia Peña
    January 1, 1970
    "Hugely funny (not snigger-snigger funny, but great-big-belly-laugh-till-you-cry-funny" - Daily Telegraph.Hmmm... I think that review is a trifle misleading falsehood. Sure, some parts were funny, but it wasn't the sort to make your belly hurt and make you cry. I can sum up the book with this: Mr. Bryson goes from one country to another and:1. Finds himself a hotel. Always expensive. So he ends up complaining. 2. Finds a restaurant/bar. Finds it expensive and/or food is terrible. So he ends up c "Hugely funny (not snigger-snigger funny, but great-big-belly-laugh-till-you-cry-funny" - Daily Telegraph.Hmmm... I think that review is a trifle misleading falsehood. Sure, some parts were funny, but it wasn't the sort to make your belly hurt and make you cry. I can sum up the book with this: Mr. Bryson goes from one country to another and:1. Finds himself a hotel. Always expensive. So he ends up complaining. 2. Finds a restaurant/bar. Finds it expensive and/or food is terrible. So he ends up complaining. 3. Walks around the city. Always finds flaws here and there. So he again ends up complaining. 4. Finds himself in a crowded train station, and again complains about the long queues. In the book's 22 chapters, that was almost always the scene. Not one part of the book gave me the sense of excitement; which I believe it should have! It is a book about traveling anyway... in Europe!! What Bill Bryson did was not traveling at all. He lacked the whole sense of it. Traveling is not just about roaming around, stopping by bars, getting drunk, noticing how awfully constructed a building is, or how noisy and dirty the streets are. It is about getting into the heart of a country... id est, its culture.. its people. He missed that.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Overall I enjoyed reading this travel memoir. Mr Bryson is witty and at times I was laughing so hard I had a hard time breathing. BUT, I found his repeated racial slurs annoying, then tiresome, then as they continued I was offended and somewhat disgusted. He goes a bit too far about Germans joking that he could recognize them by their jackboots. He loves to paint an entire country's population with the same brush. He says a couple of times that he thinks the Italians shouldn't have been told abo Overall I enjoyed reading this travel memoir. Mr Bryson is witty and at times I was laughing so hard I had a hard time breathing. BUT, I found his repeated racial slurs annoying, then tiresome, then as they continued I was offended and somewhat disgusted. He goes a bit too far about Germans joking that he could recognize them by their jackboots. He loves to paint an entire country's population with the same brush. He says a couple of times that he thinks the Italians shouldn't have been told about the invention of the car because of the way they drive, but forgets the fact that they have designed and built some of the most amazing cars the world has ever seen. There are many more examples of his overly simplistic worldview that I will not include. If I was actually from any of the countries he traveled to I think I would have dropped his book in the nearest garbage can as soon as I read the first paragraph of his visit to my country. Lucky for me I am Canadian and could read on with mild annoyance. If you have enjoyed his writing in the past or if you yourself are slightly or even very racist you will enjoy this book.
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  • فهد الفهد
    January 1, 1970
    Neither here Nor there: Travels in Europe من هامرفاست على حدود القارة المتجمدة الشمالية وحتى إسطنبول، يأخذنا بيل برايسون في كتاب رحلات ممتع، فبعدما عاش على حافة القارة - في الجزر البريطانية - ولسنوات طويلة، قرر برايسون أن يتخلى عن بروده وأن يحمل حقيبته على ظهره وينزل ليتجول في أوروبا، كان قد تجول فيها في منتصف السبعينات مع صديق ثقيل الظل، وها هو الآن يقوم بذلك متوحداً، يقفز من مدينة إلى أخرى، محباً للدنماركيين وكارهاً للسويديين والنرويجيين، معجباً بالطليان وطريقتهم الغريبة في الحياة، ساخراً أبدا Neither here Nor there: Travels in Europe من هامرفاست على حدود القارة المتجمدة الشمالية وحتى إسطنبول، يأخذنا بيل برايسون في كتاب رحلات ممتع، فبعدما عاش على حافة القارة - في الجزر البريطانية - ولسنوات طويلة، قرر برايسون أن يتخلى عن بروده وأن يحمل حقيبته على ظهره وينزل ليتجول في أوروبا، كان قد تجول فيها في منتصف السبعينات مع صديق ثقيل الظل، وها هو الآن يقوم بذلك متوحداً، يقفز من مدينة إلى أخرى، محباً للدنماركيين وكارهاً للسويديين والنرويجيين، معجباً بالطليان وطريقتهم الغريبة في الحياة، ساخراً أبداً ودائماً من كل شيء وأي شيء، كتاب ممتع، أنوي القراءة لبرايسون أكثر، فلديه حفنة من كتب الرحلات الأخرى في أستراليا وأمريكا وأفريقيا.
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  • Negin
    January 1, 1970
    Bill Bryson is, without a doubt, one of my favorites. His writing simply flows off the page. The Daily Telegraph summed this book up perfectly: ‘Hugely funny (not snigger-snigger funny but great-big-belly-laugh-till-you-cry funny)’. Yes, this is what I experienced also. There were a few parts where I honestly could not stop laughing for the life of me and felt pain in my stomach and had tears rolling down my cheeks. Here’s one example of his visit to Istanbul, “The one truly unbearable thing in Bill Bryson is, without a doubt, one of my favorites. His writing simply flows off the page. The Daily Telegraph summed this book up perfectly: ‘Hugely funny (not snigger-snigger funny but great-big-belly-laugh-till-you-cry funny)’. Yes, this is what I experienced also. There were a few parts where I honestly could not stop laughing for the life of me and felt pain in my stomach and had tears rolling down my cheeks. Here’s one example of his visit to Istanbul, “The one truly unbearable thing in the city is the Turkish pop music. It is inescapable. It assaults you from every restaurant doorway, from every lemonade stand, from every passing cab. If you can imagine a man having a vasectomy without anaesthetic to a background accompaniment of frantic sitar-playing, you will have some idea of what popular Turkish music is like.” As with all of Bill Bryson’s travelogues, I’m so sorry that it ended. Some may be offended by his language – not a problem for me.
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  • Rowan
    January 1, 1970
    Neither Here, Nor There made me laugh-out-loud during a time I needed it the most, so thank you Mr Bryson! I had previously only read one Bill Bryson book - Down Under, while in school. My only recollection of that was Bryson's ability to describe Australians perfectly and I got an A on the related essay.In Neither Here, Nor There, Bryson loosely retraces his journey across Europe from years earlier, beginning up in Norway and finishing down in Istanbul. Ever since watching the film adaptation o Neither Here, Nor There made me laugh-out-loud during a time I needed it the most, so thank you Mr Bryson! I had previously only read one Bill Bryson book - Down Under, while in school. My only recollection of that was Bryson's ability to describe Australians perfectly and I got an A on the related essay.In Neither Here, Nor There, Bryson loosely retraces his journey across Europe from years earlier, beginning up in Norway and finishing down in Istanbul. Ever since watching the film adaptation of his book, A Walk In The Woods, I can’t help but imagining Bryson as Robert Redford, instead of, well, Bill Bryson.I regularly found myself Googling these European places and wanting to find out more. His descriptions were beautifully written (Northern Lights, Capri, Austria especially) and often made me feel like I was standing there too. This was first published in 1991 and Europe in 2017 is a very different place. Neither Here, Nor There never felt too outdated though; and on the occasions it wandered into that territory, it came across as more like a beautiful snapshot of a bygone era, instead of outdatedness. The chapter on Bulgaria was a real-opener in regards to this.Sure, sometimes Bryson will go off on a ramble that doesn’t quite work or isn’t quite funny. More often than not though, he gives hilarious insights into encounters with strangers, the stereotypes of a country or just complains in a laugh-inducing way. Occasionally, he comes across as a loud, obnoxious asshole American tourist, but I also feel he is somewhat self-aware of this and embraces the fact he’s a prick.There is something incredibly comforting and cosy about reading a Bill Bryson book. Perhaps it’s the way he writes or observes the world around him, perhaps because it’s as close to travel you can get from the comfort of your own couch or bed. If you find yourself sharing anecdotes from a book with friends, then it’s probably a good sign of a quality read. This happened to me numerous times; whether it be laughing hysterically with my Italian friend as she agreed with Italian stereotypes or asking my Mum about her 1975 European travels to places mentioned in the book. The facts and historical anecdotes really brought to life many of the places Bryson visited. Some readers have mentioned that these are Bryson trademarks which are virtually missing from Neither Here Nor There. To a reader not overly accustomed to his work, I didn’t notice this at all. One of my favourites was: “Liechtenstein’s last military engagement was in 1866, when it sent eighty men to fight against the Italians. Nobody was killed. In fact – you’re going to like this – they came back with eighty-one men, because they made a friend along the way.”I was happy Bryson’s old mate, Stephen Katz, got a few mentions too – these were always laugh-out-loud funny and kind of made me wish Katz had been accompanying him on this adventure too - though I feel only one of them would’ve survived! A small downside was the final chapter, “Istanbul”. After so long following Bryson’s journey across Europe it just seemed to end a bit too abruptly.I now have the urge to wander aimlessly around a city I don’t know, with this book inspiring me to visit Europe more than ever! Neither Here, Nor There is the best travel book I’ve read and has made me want to read more of Bryson’s work. Bring on some long train journeys, dodgy gypsies and epic European scenery!
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  • Xandra
    January 1, 1970
    I was aimlessly wandering through Europe - which is probably the ideal situation to be in in order to maximize your enjoyment of this book - and, reading at the same snail's pace as my traveling, I shamelessly burst out laughing in trains, parks, coffee shops and even large museums. Bryson is hilarious (no question about it), he travels the best way possible (solo) and he's always cheerful as a summer morning (yes, even when he complains about stuff, it's all in good humor). I can't help but ima I was aimlessly wandering through Europe - which is probably the ideal situation to be in in order to maximize your enjoyment of this book - and, reading at the same snail's pace as my traveling, I shamelessly burst out laughing in trains, parks, coffee shops and even large museums. Bryson is hilarious (no question about it), he travels the best way possible (solo) and he's always cheerful as a summer morning (yes, even when he complains about stuff, it's all in good humor). I can't help but imagine people who dislike Bryson as the many faceless, morose, omnipresent tourists who walk around in a place they've paid huge amounts of money to be in like zombies going to work on a dreary autumn day. No smile, no curious look plastered on their weary expressionless faces, no youthful joy in their eyes. There are a lot of complains about Bryson being whiny, rich, mapless, stereotyping people and not giving enough information about the places he visits. I don't understand these complaints. He didn't come off as whiny to me, he doesn't travel like rich people do, he's not the world atlas (seriously, Italy is not that hard to find on a map; take your time and you'll even find Liechtenstein; or you could just google it, which is less cool but does the job in ~0.2s) and if you want insightful details about every country go buy a freaking travel guide! This book is not to be taken too seriously, everything is highly subjective and exaggerated for humorous purposes. Ever heard of that thing, humor? It's what makes us feel good and occasionally make fools of ourselves by laughing hysterically (you know, laugh, when you open your mouth and show your teeth even if you don't intend to stuff your face with a huge-ass burger?).Loosen up a bit, people, get out of the country for a while and stop taking life so fucking seriously.
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  • Rob Warner
    January 1, 1970
    You know the canonical essay question, "If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?" My answer is Bill Bryson. He's a treasure. I'd love to watch him write. I imagine him tugging scraps of paper from him pockets, pawing through notes, scribbling a few sentences through the haze of pipe smoke, and chuckling a bit before pulling out more notes. He's hilarious. He commands the English language like Pele commands a soccer ball, etching metaphors that resonate and wonder why you didn't thin You know the canonical essay question, "If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be?" My answer is Bill Bryson. He's a treasure. I'd love to watch him write. I imagine him tugging scraps of paper from him pockets, pawing through notes, scribbling a few sentences through the haze of pipe smoke, and chuckling a bit before pulling out more notes. He's hilarious. He commands the English language like Pele commands a soccer ball, etching metaphors that resonate and wonder why you didn't think of it first.
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  • Anna Savage
    January 1, 1970
    This book is terrible. I listened to it on CD, and the writing was so predictable that I found myself completing each sentence before it was spoken. That was, in fact, the only way I managed to keep my attention on the book rather than contemplating the fascinating landscape of Indiana visible out my window. But the book wasn't just boring, it was also embarrassingly bad. I was a huge Bill Bryson fan in high school. I decided to hike the Appalachian Trial after reading A Walk in the Woods. But I This book is terrible. I listened to it on CD, and the writing was so predictable that I found myself completing each sentence before it was spoken. That was, in fact, the only way I managed to keep my attention on the book rather than contemplating the fascinating landscape of Indiana visible out my window. But the book wasn't just boring, it was also embarrassingly bad. I was a huge Bill Bryson fan in high school. I decided to hike the Appalachian Trial after reading A Walk in the Woods. But I think if I went back and read that book, I would find it just as obnoxious, boring, and lame. Anyone with more than 15 years of life experience would have to. His jokes are in bad taste, which would be ok if they were funny, but they are not. He is so self-deprecating as to make it obvious that he actually has a huge ego that he's trying to conceal so the audience will like him. I wish I had never listened to his book, because my opinion of him is forever tainted. Also, who writes a travel book that describes the meals, repeatedly, with "I dined lightly," or "I dined heavily," and the buildings with "It was lovely," or "It was disappointing"? Wow. That really makes me want to go to...nowhere.
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  • Carol Jones
    January 1, 1970
    I simply cannot read this book anywhere in public, because I just collapse with laughing, and people stare. You really have to enjoy Bryson's snarky sense of humor to get him; otherwise I could see how he would strike some people as whiny. When he loves a place, he really loves it, but if there is something to be exasperated about, he will let you know. I enjoy this as much as Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad, for the same kind of snarky humor.
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  • Ty-Orion
    January 1, 1970
    Приятен пътепис, но не ми допадна това, че Брайсън е голямо мрънкало. Времето из Скандинавието било лошо през март (невероятно!), немският език му пречел да си поръча храна, валяло, било скучно и т.н. Общо взето успя да обиди всяка страна с по нещо. От друга страна обаче ми се видя доста обективен в описанията си. Някои от забележките му са все така актуални 25 години след написването на книгата.С нетърпение очаквах една от последните глави - тази за София. Винаги е интересно да видиш родното пр Приятен пътепис, но не ми допадна това, че Брайсън е голямо мрънкало. Времето из Скандинавието било лошо през март (невероятно!), немският език му пречел да си поръча храна, валяло, било скучно и т.н. Общо взето успя да обиди всяка страна с по нещо. От друга страна обаче ми се видя доста обективен в описанията си. Някои от забележките му са все така актуални 25 години след написването на книгата.С нетърпение очаквах една от последните глави - тази за София. Винаги е интересно да видиш родното през чужди очи. С много тъга и доста точно е описал ситуацията ни в началото на прехода, даже е уловил някои "болести", които още ни мъчат. След като обявява българките за най-красивите жени в Европа - как да му се сърди човек. Бил Брайсън явно е българин.
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  • Christine Zibas
    January 1, 1970
    Bryson is one of the funniest travel writers around, and this book is no exception, even if it's a little dated. Revisiting the places he first explored as a young backpacker, Bryson travels the European continent this time with a decidedly more adult approach. Plenty of laugh out loud moments are sprinkled throughout this book. If you are anything like me, Bryson's stories will have you thinking it's about time to drag out that suitcase again for your own European adventure.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Bill Bryson is amazing. He captures the essence of the peculiarities of travel.. of people in general. I read this before going to London (also read Noted from a Small Island- about England which was also excellent).. If you've traveled or want to travel, it's a great little book full of entertaining short stories. I read part of the 'Belgium' chapter to my grandmother (she's from Antwerp) and she nearly went off her rocker. No really, she almost fell off her chair laughing. :o) I recommend.
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  • RandomAnthony
    January 1, 1970
    Neither Here Nor There,, my second Bryson book (the other one was similar but focused on traveling through the US), reads smoothly and seems like a pretty good place for potential Bryson fans to start. Bryson is kind of like your uncle if your uncle was Chuck Klosterman in 2040 and very concerned about beer and hotels and people cutting in front of him in line. This book, the story of Bryson retracing the path of one of his college trips through Europe, has its high points. Bryson is at his best Neither Here Nor There,, my second Bryson book (the other one was similar but focused on traveling through the US), reads smoothly and seems like a pretty good place for potential Bryson fans to start. Bryson is kind of like your uncle if your uncle was Chuck Klosterman in 2040 and very concerned about beer and hotels and people cutting in front of him in line. This book, the story of Bryson retracing the path of one of his college trips through Europe, has its high points. Bryson is at his best when he almost forgets the reader and rants about what he loves (the northern lights, Swedish girls) and hates (everyone in Austria). After a while the "find the hotel, go to a museum, find something to eat" pattern gets a little tired but before long a shining passage carries the chapter. I suppose I would have bought into the book more if I had actually been to most of the places Bryson travels; the Rome chapter was probably my favorite in part because I recognized some of the landmarks from a previous visit. Still, I enjoyed Neither Here Nor There and I feel comfortable recommending it to anyone into the travel book genre...it's quick, breezy, and would work on a plane.
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  • Mary Simses
    January 1, 1970
    If you've never read any of Bill Bryson's travel books, you should. This is the third one I've read, and, like the other two ("Notes from a Small Island" and "I'm a Stranger Here Myself") I found it hysterically funny, entertaining, and enlightening. Although the book was written in 2001, my guess is that what Bryson captured in terms of the feel of each place he visited in Europe is probably still accurate. His descriptions are so vivid - the sights, the sounds, the people, the trains, the hote If you've never read any of Bill Bryson's travel books, you should. This is the third one I've read, and, like the other two ("Notes from a Small Island" and "I'm a Stranger Here Myself") I found it hysterically funny, entertaining, and enlightening. Although the book was written in 2001, my guess is that what Bryson captured in terms of the feel of each place he visited in Europe is probably still accurate. His descriptions are so vivid - the sights, the sounds, the people, the trains, the hotels (some flea-bags and some very nice) - that I really felt I was on the journey with him. But the best thing is the humor which infuses all of his stories (I laughed out loud countless times). His humor and conversational writing style pull you in from the start. I couldn't put the book down.
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