Anyway, if you’ll recall, I recently forced George to trek 40 hours to and from the Florida Keys. In a car. With a dog. Who stinks. All that to say, it might surprise you to know that I did not, in fact, talk non-stop in order to pass the time. Audiobooks to the rescue!
Admission; I’m not a super huge audiobook fan in general. I tend lose focus quickly, and before you know it Jane Eyre has gone from wretched schoolgirl to slightly-less-wretched Mrs. Rochester, and I’m all “Wait, what happened? Why is he blind?” But on long car rides? Audiobooks are my jam.
This go ‘round we chose Bill Bryson reading In a Sunburned Country, his travel-memoir-meets-history about Australia. We’d listened to Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods on our journey to Shenandoah last fall, and whoa Nelly, what a treat. Reading Bryson is great; he’s dry, he’s whip-smart, he doesn’t shy away from a drool joke. But listening to Bryson? Total brilliance. Hearing him read his words in the oh-so-droll way he intends them to sound is epically hysterical.
In a Sunburned Country chronicles Bryson’s trek across that rugged, unforgiving land, and he examines everything from Parliament to boogie boarding along the way. He’s careful to weave interesting and pertinent historical tidbits into his personal (and hilarious) travel memoir and I came away learning more about Australia than I ever thought I’d know and laughing harder than I ever thought an audiobook would prompt.
Bryson is most intrigued by Australia’s sheer volume of deadly creatures and terrain and the sort of laissez-faire attitude the country’s residence display in the face of this hardship. To wit:
“[Australians] spend half of any conversation insisting that the country's dangers are vastly overrated and that there's nothing to worry about, and the other half telling you how six months ago their Uncle Bob was driving to Mudgee when a tiger snake slid out from under the dashboard and bit him on the groin, but that it's okay now because he's off the life support machine and they've discovered he can communicate with eye blinks.”
I have to say, Australia's never been at the top of my travel bucket list, but with Bryson as my guide, it's moved a heck of a lot closer.
If you haven't read him, this is a fun place to start, but if you really want the Bryson experience, listen up!