A Bill Bryson Giveaway

April 16th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I wrote of my love for books about grand old hotels.  I do truly love to dream about extended stays at old hotels, but sometimes I am willing to skip the hotel, and just ramble around the country side, often on foot, sometimes via public transportation and occasionally in a car, but only if Bill Bryson is right beside me, providing a running narration the entire trip. 

Bill Bryson is a travel writer.  A very funny  travel writer.  Bill has written books about his travels to Australia, Europe, Africa, and several different parts of the United States.  He packs his bags, kisses his wife and four children goodbye, and sets out on long journeys that often last for months, to explore a small part of the world.  He has an innate ability to discover the craggiest pubs, the craggiest outcroppings and the craggiest characters along the way.  You almost wonder if Bill has some type of crazy character magnet stuck in his skin somewhere.  His insight into both himself, the people he meets and the places he visits are always interesting and often hilarious.  

Somewhere along the way, in almost every book, Bill starts to miss his family very badly.  This is when you will suddenly find yourself in the midst of a few long chapters where he is medicating himself with Reese’s peanut butter cups and six packs of beer.  The entire world turns gray, sodden and weary right before your eyes.  You want to leave him sitting by himself in the dark pub with his cups and his sorrow, but it is too late,.  You have already travelled too far with this man.  You can’t abandon him.  Besides, just a few chapters back he was making you laugh so hard that your spleen busted open.  The only thing you can do is hope that he cheers back up.


And he usually does.

In two or three chapters.  

Watching Bill discombobulate between joyous discovery, penetrating observation, grim determination, scissor like wit, and wretched hopelessness is half the fun of his books.  You truly experience the places he visits right along with him.. as if you were him… except you are not as funny… or hopefully… as given over to bouts of melancholy.  


Or maybe you are…



Today I am giving away two copies of A Walk in the Woods, which is my very favorite Bill Bryson book.

In this book, Bill attempts to hike the entire Appalachian trail starting in Georgia and ending in Maine.  The trip takes months.  He takes his old friend Katz along with him.  Neither of the men are expert backpackers or campers.  They are both out of shape and overweight.  They pack way too much stuff.  They suffer tremendously and they discover several lunatics along the way.  

For what more could you ask?

This book is in my top ten favorite books of all time.  




Bill Bryson grew up in the United States, but went to England as a young man and did not return for twenty years.  While in Great Britain, he married an English girl, had four kids, worked for a newspaper, and wrote the first of many books.  Eventually he decided to move back home.  I’m a Stranger Here Myself is about Bill reacquainting himself with America.  He is stunned by our lust for convenience foods, our need for speed, the ridiculous strangle hold that the fear of lawsuit has on our society, and our astounding variety of personal hygiene products.  Maybe it doesn’t sound like it would be a funny book – but it is.  




In Bryson’s book, “The Lost Continet” he goes back to Des Moines, Iowa where he grew up and begins a journey that takes him through 38 states in and around America’s heartland.  He describes Americans walking around a touristy, Ozarkian downtown with their ever present buckets of soda and a funnel cakes.  He writes about how it has become almost impossible to navigate even a small town without a car as a complete lack of sidewalks and pedestrian friendly crosswalks made it extraordinarily difficult for him to even walk from his motel to a nearby restaraunt.  This book is written in his typical humorous style, but the things that stuck with me the most, are unfortunately not the most pleasant parts of present American civilization.  




In “Neither Here Nor There” Bryson attempts to re-trace the footsteps he took twenty years previously as a young man on a backpacking trip through Europe.  I couldn’t remember much about this book, so I read a few reviews online.  All the reviews were positive calling the book the funniest travel book of the year… uproariously funny… snorting coffee through your nose… except for one which pronounced the book as lewd, obscene, and dangerous.  So now I don’t know what to tell you.  

My best bet is that it is a damned funny book, and if you are super uptight, you probably won’t like it much.  





To win one of these books, simply leave a comment. Winners will be chosen at random sometime on Monday… after I get home from work… and force myself back upright from collapsing in a heap of trembling humanity… on the laundry room floor.


  • Sheri:

    I LOVE the new site. The Header is AWESOME. I want to live there.
    Oh and Yes, please enter me in the book drawing. :)

  • I’ve seen Bryson’s books a lot, but haven’t read any of them. They sound very cool!

  • Wendy Krueth:

    Hi, Love the new website…Good luck on it, Thanks for the contest. I love to read and these books look and sound interesting…

  • LOVE the new blog! Since I have all the other Bill Bryson books, I would love to win a copy of “The Lost Continent”

  • Okay, I am tired of being the first one on all of your giveaways!

  • I’m just pokin around the new site. But I think I’d love Bill Bryson.

  • Ooooh! I love Bill Bryson too! I have the 1st two books, & loved “A Walk in the Woods” the best! We obviously have much in common. Except I don’t own any show cats. Nor do I like cats. Anyway, I’d prefer the win one of the last 2 b/c I haven’t read them! At least I don’t think I have. Sometimes I forget which books I have or haven’t read…..

  • Okay, now I have to go find those books. They sound hilarious. Wonder if he did any while traveling Canada. Hmm…must go google that.

  • I’ve never read his books but they sound wonderful.

  • I am always looking for new authors to read…

    p.s. love the new site!

  • ks grandma:

    I will try again! The “other” book is on hold as I am on chain saw duty. I know! Me, an old lady! Except right now I’m on break because the turkeys are in my project area.

  • WTMCassandra:

    I like Bill Bryson too! I haven’t read the lost continent one or the “neither” book, though.

  • I’ve seen the book “A Walk in the Woods” a bajillion times, but never bought it. I’d love to read any of those!

  • Darla S:

    Love your new site! Great books!

  • I love Bryson’s stuff. Although I’ve only read The Lost Continent and I’m a Stranger Here Myself. Fun and funny stuff. Thanks for a great giveaway! Lovin’ the new site. My reader is definitely going to need an update.

  • I love books!

  • Sounds great…all but that last one…since I am a bit uptight…anyway…(see, I like to use these, too)…your new blog is blogarrific! I still would have liked one with you and April together, though. Even if you did fight. That would add to the ambiance, I’m sure.

  • I would LOVE to get A Walk in the Woods!

  • It’s nice of you to give your readers house warming gifts since YOU are the one that moved! How considerate! I’m enjoying browsing around. I enjoy your book recommendations and whether I win or not, I’ll have to find this one at the Library! Congratulations on your move!

  • Kait:

    Man I love your books. Love your new site too. Checking it all out. :)

  • Love the new blog! And the new giveaway! And Colin Firth frolicking in a caffienated deluge!

    And I love Bill Bryson. I’ve only read a Walk in the Woods but it was enough to endear Bill Bryson to me forever.


  • Ronda:

    Oh, to travel…someday.

  • THe blog looks great. I am going to check out April’s now….

    (Oh, the books look great, too.)

  • Stephanie:

    Love the new look! Would love to read
    Bll Bryson too.

  • holy cow! you’re just oozing giveaways today! i’m increasing my chances of actually winning by entering all of them. of course, if winning is dependant on leaving a clever and witty comment, then i’m out of luck…

  • Tracy:

    I first fell in love with Bill Bryson when Dick Estell featured “A Walk in the Woods” on Radio Reader. What a peach you are giving away all these delicious goodies.

  • I read “A Walk in the Woods” years ago, and had just checked it out from the library this week to reread! I’d love to win any of his books. Thanks for the giveaways!

  • I like your new blog. I liked your old blog too. I also like books and these sound really good. I haven’t read any of his books yet so I’d love to win one.

  • emugge:

    The new blog design is really nice! I’ve given some Bill Bryson books as gifts but have never actually read one. If I don’t win, I’m going to the library to check one out!

  • Heather in MT:

    these look like good reads.

  • Scherrie:

    Your new site is great! I would love to win one of your books. Count me in please.

  • Carrie K:

    The new site looks great. I love Bill Bryson’s books. Good luck with the new site.

  • Louise Hodge:

    Ilike your book selections. Keep me reading . Thanks Louise H.

  • LOVE Bill Bryson.
    And I just saw on another pg that you’re into Iris Dement. Just saw her here in small Maine town and she’s awesome. You could so be her.

  • Love your new blog. Love to read, too. I haven’t read any Bill Bryson yet.

  • Tracy:

    Love the new website, it’s fun exploring thru it…kinda like exploring thru a grand old hotel!!!
    Would love a book too…but I shouldn’t be greedy since I got one of your Gladys Taber ones!

    But I still want one!

  • TamiC:

    Love the new look! All these books look fun! PICK ME!!

  • I’ve always wanted to try his books…

  • gina:

    Congrats on the new site!

    Love these books, and the “farmhouse library” page!

  • bobbie:

    I love Bill Bryson!! And I love the new site, with one exception ~ could you have the magnificent Linda move this box (for new comments) to the top of the comment area?
    You go!!!

  • Anonymous:

    I love the new heading! Looks great! I also love Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods is the only one of his books I have read so far but would love any of the others!

  • Marilyn:

    The new blog looks great. Count me in for the book giveaway.

  • Mary:

    I read all the time, but have never read any Bill Bryson. I would love to try any of these.

  • I’ve read A Walk in the Woods, and it was funny. The small town America looks really good.

  • Susan:

    Everything looks so pretty and smells so fresh. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I win. My to read pile is shrinking fast.

  • Lisa from IA:

    Beautiful new site! I’m enjoying the self-directed tour. I’ve read A Walk In the Woods (which added bears to my List of Scary Animals to Avoid) but none of the others. Thanks for the fun giveaways!

  • I’m n – love your new place!
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  • jean:

    Wow. You went all out on this new blog. It looks great.

    I hope you have a great weekend away and maybe you’ll come back with some material for a book of your own.

  • Lori:

    The books look great. I’ll be going to the library if I don’t win one. The new site looks really good. I’m glad that you and April have kept your bolgs seperate. I enjoy your individual styles, and I thought your voices may be lost if combined.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • maureen:

    Awesome book choices! I haven’t read any of them, but they sound like I would love them.

  • Kellye:

    Can’t sleep. Wish I had one of those books right now!

  • I have to have to have to win one of those books! LOVE Bill Bryson!

  • Naomi B.:

    Happy Farmhouse/Blog warming…. I would have brought flowers and tea, but you work at a garden center and live in Kansas and I’m in New England. I love to read. I love to read funny even more.

  • Curly:

    I have never read any of his books, but I love to read!

  • Patricia B:

    Is it too late. I hope not. I would so love to read one of these books. So, that’s it. Right? BTW Love the look of the new blog. We had that earthy grey/brown in your background once upon a time ourselves. Loved it!

  • I am loving the new site.

  • Luanne:

    First listened to Bill Bryson book on CD and he is hilarious! So entertaining to listen to his books.

  • Kathleen H:

    The books sound great, I want to win one! Love your new site! I visit every day.

  • I like to read too, so winning this would be great. I haven’t read any of his stuff, but sounds like I would enjoy them all.

  • Vickie:

    I like the new site. What is a starkadder and will the show cats kill them? The books sound interesting. I would love to read them.

  • Sandy in MI:

    Love the new site! Jeez, I’m offline for a week with a house full of guests and I come back online and find this – you’ve been busy!

  • Stacy:

    Just made it to the new site today. I love it so far!

  • love the header:) Best of luck in the new location.

  • Cyndi B:

    Love this author!
    The new site is beautiful!!

  • JoAnne Simonson:

    I’m an armchair traveler and I love to read so that makes IMHO for an awesome combination! I also loved your old blog so your new site will probably be fantastic too. Good luck!!!

  • Anonymous:

    Love the new site! I’m very happy Bill Bryson is not another of your preferred “weak and shakey” characters. Gah! Haven Kimmel’s characters made me want to pound my head on the floor!

  • kimj:

    I love me some Bill Bryson!!

  • Laura:

    The new website is Lovely! I really like Bill Bryson, and hope I get picked. (My feelings are still a little hurt that you like the SF Japanese Garden better than Ft. Worth, but I still love ya!)

  • Karen:

    Sounds like fun!

  • love to win something today. love the new site!

  • Robin M.:

    I like the new site… of course I liked the old one too!! Thanks for the giveaway :)

  • Martha in Kansas:

    The new site looks great! I’ve only gotten so far as the library, so will move on to another room. Would love a book!

  • I have never heard of Bill Bryson. He sounds funny. I am crawling out from under my rock for a chance to win a book. Thanks!

  • I love your new site. Looking good!!! I would love to be entered into your drawing. Now I’m off to look at the rest of the site.

  • Love the new site!

    I read a Bryson book years ago and loved it, but it’s been a long time. I’m totally in the mood now to read one of these! Here’s to hoping I don’t have to actually buy one:)-

  • Lesley:

    Not sure how I found your site–but have enjoyed reading it. I also am married to a dr.–but he is CERTAINLY not a country dr. He is city boy the whole way!!

    I’m a huge reader, but have never touched a Bryson book–I’ll add to my book list!

  • Bonnie:

    The new blog looks great! I love reading books and his sound like just what I need.

  • laura:

    Don’t collapse on the laundry room floor!boy socks! eww

  • Sounds like good books! Thanks Rechelle.

  • Teresa:

    I haven’t read him yet, but hope I get one to read.

  • becks:

    Sound like very enjoyable books, which I could use right now!

  • Karin:

    I haven’t read these books…they sound like a good escape…I share my books with a girlfriend who is more financially unsound than I am, that way I don’t feel so bad spending grocery $$$ on books!

  • Deborah Non Blogger:

    I’m a Bryson fan. He says all the things about places that you were too polite to say out loud.

    “Boston’s freeway system is insane. It was clearly designed by a person who had spent his childhood crashing toy trains.”

    …now I’ve never been to Boston, but it sounds like it could be true…and if it’s not, well it’s still funny!

  • Fran:

    I love Bill Bryson’s books. I have his one on Australia on my bedside and loved A Walk in the Woods.

    Congrats on the new blog! Looks great!

  • Leslie:

    I am also a Bill Bryson fan. I read ” A Walk In The Woods” right before my sister through hiked the AT. I don’t think I have ever laughed quite so hard at a book in my life.

  • Kay:

    Love the new look! Would enjoy a good read! Thanks!

  • Anonymous:

    Oh how I love ‘ol Bill. Now this is a man I could travel with. The perspective alone would be hysterical but don’t um uh tell my husband I said that.

  • Paula:

    I LOVE A Walk in the Woods! The first time I discovered it, I spent over an hour leaning on my shopping cart in the HEB, reading it and laughing. I finally wrestled myself away enough to throw it in the cart, checkout, and race home to read the rest. I keep giving it away to people every time I buy another copy because I want them to laugh as much as I did! So, I’m copyless right now!

    I bet I’ve read almost that whole book outloud to my poor husband, “Hey, listen to this….”

  • Kathy:

    Hi–just discovered your blog–it’s great! And thanks for the giveaway!

  • Emily:

    Ooh, yes please! Bill Bryson is great!

  • Gina:

    First time at the new site, also first time posting on your site. Really do like the new look! You and your sister crack me up. Wish my sister was still around, she could always make me laugh.

    Love reading and always looking for something different!

    Enjoy your stay at the lodge!

  • tahoegirl:

    always looking for new authors. sounds just like what i would like to read. thanks for the post!

  • Boy can I identify with readjusting to North American life! I’m from the U.S., but going to a Canadian college, and we spent most of this semester in Guatemala. After several months away, and only a week back, it’s still taking a lot of work to adjust. But traveling is entirely worth it!

  • Pioneer Woman helped me discover your blog. Love it and am happy to be your newest stalker. I love travel and free stuff–so one of these books would be awesome!

  • I, too, found your blog via PW. Your blog has books, though, which is something I need to read, and read about, and talk about, and read bloggers who talk about them… Anyway, enjoyed puttering around your site, I will have to add you to my out-of-control list of blogs to follow. Oh, yeah, I LOVE Bill Bryson and would love winning these books!

  • Laura:

    Pick me!

  • Diane:

    And I thought he was HOT, HOT, HOT as Mr. Darcy!!

  • I love to read, would like to try these books!

  • I love Bill Bryson! I’ve read “I’m a Stranger…”, most of “Lost Continent”, and I’m half way through his “A Short History of Nearly Everything”. I would love to win!

  • ellbeeecee:

    I’ve read some of Bryson, including the hilarious Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, but would love to read more!

    And I got here from PW as well – but you’re in my reader now. :)

  • I think I would enjoy reading these books. Have not read any of them.

  • Jane Greene:

    Love your new site, but i likedthe old one , too!! Header is great.
    thanks for the contest! Jane

  • Jen Geyer:

    The books look interesting…I hope I win so I can read them soon!

  • Lisa:

    I need a good book to read this summer when school finally gets out.

  • Lori K in Denver:

    I completely agree! Bill Bryson is hysterical. I almost never laugh out loud while reading, but he can make me do that. Such a fun author. New site looks great, by the way.

  • Hello, I hopped over from Pioneer Woman. Your farmhouse looks gorgeous, especially situated facing the pond.

    I’ve never read any of these and would love to win one. But I think I have to hie myself to the library and check them out myself.

  • Sounds like a great author! Even if I don’t win, I’ve added him to my list of ‘must-gets’ from the library. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Laurie:

    What a nice site you have! As usual, the Pioneer Woman has led the way to another delightful place… What a beautiful home! Thanks for the book offer= they sound great.

  • Tammy:

    I’d never heard of this author before, but he sounds really interesting. I’m going to check some of his books out for sure! Thanks.

  • PonyFla:

    Nice blog!

  • You have a new fan thanks to thepioneerwoman.com…love her blog, now I love yours too. I’m a city girl but love my dose of country through reading. The books sound like fun, I would love to win.

  • Julie:

    I love Bill Bryson… sign me up! Can’t wait to hear about your time at PDub Ranch.

  • Tammy:

    Another new fan here, thanks to PDub.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I have been meaning to read Bill Bryson’s books. My nephew (Bryson) is actually named after him! Strange, but true –and another endorsement of him to add to yours.

  • shannon:

    love the site. the books look intriguing!

  • Kimberly:

    the new site looks great and since I NEVER win PW’s contests, I’m hoping I win here! :)

  • marie:

    just discovered your site, really like it and like pw’s as well. would love to win the book , if it so happens i get picked. have a great day!

  • Christina:

    These books sound interesting. It would be nice to win.

  • Neena:

    I hope your visit to the ranch was just as wonderful as any of Bryson’s travels. I love travel and reading but have never read any of his books. It’s fun to discover new authors. How fun it would be to win and find a new source of reading delight.

  • What fun! I would love to win a book.

  • Just stopped bye, led here by PDub…looks great, I will be back..I too am a over user of …

  • I have not ever read Bill Bryson’s books, but they sound great! I would love to read “The Lost Continent.” Love the new site!

  • This is my first visit to your site … although I think I visited The Country Doctor’s Wife some time ago. I remember it was a nice site. I like this one and love the header. The photo of the cat is beautiful. I’d love to see them all.

    I think the book giveaway is such a kind gesture. I hope to win A WALK IN THE WOODS. I cannot walk so I’d never actually be on the trail but would love to read about the Appalachian Trail and their adventures. I live in West Virginia.

    I hope your weekend in OK was a fantastic one!
    Lesley Ann

  • TB:

    I would love to win one of these books. I am particularly interested in “I’m a Stranger Here Myself”. I haven’t read any of these, so it would be a new author to try. Thanks for the chance.

  • Carol:

    HI, I found your blog through PioneerWoman and will now add you as one of my favorites. Your blog is beautiful and very entertaining. I have never read any of Bill Bryson’s but I will now take a look.

  • Tammie:

    I just found your site through PW and it looks great and entertaining. I love to read and can’t wait to try out one of these books.

  • Marcia:

    I love the changes you’ve made to your site! As a lurker – never a poster – I have to compliment your design; the links are great!
    I love books- as a librarian in a children’s library in a Kansas school – and would love to read these titles!

  • You didn’t mention his book the Thunderbolt Kid. That one was my favorite. Being around the same age and growing up in Iowa just a few miles away, I related to every darn thing in the book. I laughed and longed for the old days. Of course, if we still lived in those days I wouldn’t be able to enjoy reading about other people’s lives and laughter online. But you know what I’m talking about.

  • Dawn:

    I love to read and this is the first time Ive heard of this author…going to go look him up right now..I would love to win one of these books…and I love reading your blogs….


  • Margaret:

    I’m not familiar with him but I live at the Georgia end of the Appalacian trail so I would love to have the book.

  • Nancy:

    I like to read. It is funny though, I have to be in the mood to do it. I guess what I am trying to say is: If I read nothing else gets done until I am finished with the book, because I can’t put them down once I start. Bad, I know.

  • Bill Bryson looks like an interesting author. I’m always looking for new authors to build my library up. I say give me a good book over a movie any day. Love your Header by the way!!!!

  • Hello!
    Bryson and I have SO much in common – both from Iowa!!

  • Jennifer:

    I enjoy finding a new author, thanks for passing along this one, I will have to check out his books. Great site, thanks for letting a city girl have a moment in the country.

  • Looks really interesting…. I think hubby would love to read his books as well

  • lchris:

    Would love to try a new author.
    Thanks for sharing

    Love your new site, BTW.

  • Another author to add to my “people to read” list!

  • JennyME:

    I’ll have to add him to my list of authors to try–I love travel books. :)

  • My mom has read several of his books, and really liked them. I would love to be able to read them. I wonder if the library has them… hmm..

  • Karen Annie:

    A Walk in the Woods and In A Sunburned Country are two of my favorite travel books. I am new to your site via PW and knew I would like it when I saw the words Starkadders and Bill Bryson!

  • Dena:

    Love your new site –

    & whether I win or not — I have a new author to check out…