From one of the most beloved and bestselling authors in the English language, a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the 1950s Bill Bryson was born in the middle of the American century 1951 in the middle of the United States Des Moines, Iowa in the middle of the largest generation in American history the baby boomers. As one of the best and funniest writers alive, he is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24-carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around his house and neighborhood with an old football jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel about his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing awful evildoers (and morons) in his head as "The Thunderbolt Kid." Using this persona as a springboard, Bill Bryson re-creates the life of his family and his native city in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality a life at once completely familiar to us all and as far away and unreachable as another galaxy. It was, he reminds us, a happy time, when automobiles and televisions and appliances (not to mention nuclear weapons) grew larger and more numerous with each passing year, and DDT, cigarettes, and the fallout from atmospheric testing were considered harmless or even good for you. He brings us into the life of his loving but eccentric family, including affectionate portraits of his father, a gifted sportswriter for the local paper and dedicated practitioner of isometric exercises, and OF his mother, whose job as the home furnishing editor for the same paper left her little time for practicing the domestic arts at home. The many readers of Bill Bryson s earlier classic, "A Walk in the Woods, " will greet the reappearance in these pages of the immortal Stephen Katz, seen hijacking literally boxcar loads of beer. He is joined in the Bryson gallery of immortal characters by the demonically clever Willoughby brothers, who apply their scientific skills and can-do attitude to gleefully destructive ends. Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, and full of his inimitable, pitch-perfect observations, "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" is as wondrous a book as Bill Bryson has ever written. It will enchant anyone who has ever been young."
From the Hardcover edition."
William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself.
Bryson documents the efforts of earlier scholars, from today's most respected academics to eccentrics like Delia Bacon, an American who developed a firm but unsubstantiated conviction that her namesake, Francis Bacon, was the true author of Shakespeare's plays. Emulating the style of his famous travelogues, Bryson records episodes in his research, including a visit to a basement room in Washington, D.C., where the world's largest collection of First Folios is housed.
Bryson celebrates Shakespeare as a writer of unimaginable talent and enormous inventiveness. His Shakespeare is like no one else's the beneficiary of Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivalled in our time."
Why do I travel? Why does anyone of us travel? Bill Bryson poses these questions in his introduction to The Best American Travel Writing 2016, and though he admits, "I wasn't at all sure I knew the answer," they are questions worthy of examination. While the various contributors to this collection all travel for different reasons, one thing is for certain--they come back with stories. Whether traversing the Arctic by dogsled, attending a surreal film festival in North Korea, or strolling the streets of a fast-changing Havana, their insights into the world and the human condition are illuminating and enthralling, providing an answer: This is why I like to travel. The Best American Travel Writing 2016 includes Michael Chabon, Alice Gregory, Paul Theroux, Dave Eggers, Helen Macdonald, Sara Corbett, Stephanie Pearson, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Pico Iyer, and others BILL BRYSON, guest editor, is the best-selling author of A Walk in the Woods; A Short History of Nearly Everything; One Summer: America, 1927; The Road to Little Dribbling; and numerous other books. JASON WILSON, series editor, is the author of Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits; Spaghetti on the Wall; and the forthcoming Why Wine Matters. He has written for the Washington Post Magazine, The New Yorker, the New York Times, and many other publications, and has won awards for Best Food Column from the Association of Food Journalists four times.
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