Ready to Read

Ready to Read
Historical Novels -Bobi Andrews

Sunday, May 8, 2016


For someone like me, unable to travel to all the places I read about, I  mirror the experience through someone else's eyes. When the author is gifted, I am there with him.

Such is Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country." In his amazing book I marvel at the energy and stamina required to walk and travel throughout Australia's vast land.  The excessive heat and emptiness overwhelm me as it did him.  The rich Australian history mesmerizes me.  The traditional contribution of abundant ore beneath its surface was unending and built wealth and a country.

Bryson describes the origins of man as if reported yesterday. Was a version of  man really there two hundred million years ago?  If so, how did such a man get to the isolated island and from where did he come?  Bryson didn't know, neither do I. 

If I were there, I'd be thrilled to find an insect that has never before been discovered, or a plant or tree that never made it into scientific study. The many species of snakes I would try to forget (but would watch every step I took).  I found myself pondering with trepidation the mystery where a fork in the road leads or the identity of the markers of bones from past forgotten explorers. I visually shudder. If lost, how long til rescue with the next town not a few miles away, but many and its accommodations unknown. (However they all seemed to have a pub and coffeepot. Buying beer stock in Australia's financial markets--not a bad idea.)  

In Bryson's travels throughout Australia, I lost count of how many cups of coffee he consumed, but I was ready with him to have one more cup at the next stop.  He rightly related that the settled population in the barren lands were as pleased to see him enter their pub for a pint as he was to quench his thirst. There seemed to be two definitions of loneliness--those settlers who thrived in their independence and those who suffered the absence of community living.   

When visiting the coasts, the world of Australia changes. Starkly contrasted with the raw, sparsely settled interior, the modern cities of Sydney and Melbourne form cultural countries of their own: Cosmopolitan, undisputed leaders in sports and business, ahead of the game in consuming the latest technology, and welcome combatants on our side in western world conflicts.  It was a good feeling to be able to enjoy two worlds within one setting.

A fine book.  A very fine book.   



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