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Download I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Im a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away Audiobook, by Bill Bryson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.9 out of 53.9 out of 53.9 out of 53.9 out of 53.9 out of 5 3.90 (40 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bill Bryson Narrator: Bill Bryson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2000 ISBN: 9780553750317
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After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly 3 million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliens—as he later put it, “it was clear my people needed me”). They were greeted by a new and improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item.

Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I’m a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth. The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man’s attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended if at times bemused love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Frank, funny, and poignant.”

    Los Angels Times

  • “Hysterically entertaining…Bryson is the funniest of today’s humorists.”

    Cincinnati Enquirer

  • “[Bryson is] a genuinely funny fellow…The best columns are those in which the author…allows his natural impatience and intelligence out of their cages. His advice to the graduating high school students…is lovely, while his ‘Rules for Living’…are pleasingly cranky…A column about how large America is and how few people actually live there turns into an illuminating jab at United States immigration policies and should be required reading for politicians.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Why are [Bryson’s books] so dazzlingly good? The simple answer: Bryson is funny…intelligent, witty, and sensitive to the absurd…Perhaps you are familiar with a writer that has Bryson’s mastery of language, wit, fascination with history and statistics, or impeccable comic timing (though if you are, please tell me—I’ve been looking for books that make me laugh like this for years).”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A cross between de Tocqueville and Dave Barry, Bryson writes about today’s America in a way that’s both trenchantly observant and pound-on-the-floor, snort-root-beer-out-of-your-nose funny.”

    San Francisco Examiner

  • “Bryson’s marvelous sense of humor and wide-ranging curiosity let us share his delight at being a stranger in a truly strange land.”

    Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer

  • “[Bryson] can find the humor in a bag of hammers and, often enough, the lesson too…Truly and beguilingly, if you are a jaded resident of the USA, Bryson can rekindle your wonder and delight in the life and land around you.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “His immense talent as an observer and a humorist [makes] these essays worthwhile reading no matter what the context…Bryson once again proves that he is one of the foremost travel writers of our time.”

    Lexington Herald-Leader

  • “Bryson is a wry, funny writer…who could write about a sack of tenpenny nails and make it sound amusing…You’ll delight in Bryson’s waggish perspective.”

    Tampa Tribune

  • “A smashing collection of funny, self-deprecating, sometimes ironic…short essays…Bryson is a delightful writer and storyteller…There’s just enough of Jonathan Swift to give most of these commentaries a special, unique resonance.”

    The State

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Micah | 2/17/2014

    " Loved listening to this book. Actually, I did learn something from it: after listening to it I always put my hot water heater to "vacation" when we went away. We have a new hot water heater that does not have a "vacation" setting, but now we just turn it off when we are away. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lili | 2/14/2014

    " Very funny. I especially liked the fact that the book is very personal. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter Ritchie | 2/9/2014

    " Highly entertaining read. Though the last few chapters lose their way somewhat. I took a lot of anecdotes away from it and still remember them after having read it two years ago! Great book border line 4 stars because of those last few chapters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanne | 2/8/2014

    " Very amusing. I would simply hate to be within Bryson's purview when he's in writing mode because he would likely spear and fry me... to the great amusement of the next reader. I'd probably read and laugh myself he's so good at description and anecdote. The man is funny. If you're uber right wing and not inclined to laugh at yourself, don't read this. Otherwise, let your hair down and enjoy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paula | 2/8/2014

    " Clever and funny, but too whiny. As his wife said... "bitch, bitch, bitch." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie Bouteille | 2/6/2014

    " It's hilarious !!! Way better than 'Made in America'. I love his sense of humour "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tami | 1/21/2014

    " Parts are quite funny. I think it had to be funny though, or he would have looked like someone hypercritical of his own culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 1/18/2014

    " A re-read of one of my favorites! Super hilarious observations on American life. A little dated, as it was written in 1998, but the main themes still apply. Beware if you're reading in public, this will make you laugh out loud! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monique | 1/14/2014

    " Part travel writing, part autobiography. Bryson always writes with humour and subtle flair. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Virginia | 1/9/2014

    " I had thought this would be a narrative much like Bryson's other books, but it turned out to be very similar to the Garrison Keillor book above - a collection of columns Bryson wrote for a three year period upon his return to America, just like it says in the title. Very funny. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lucy | 12/15/2013

    " This was an utterly brilliant book. Educational, interesting and hilariously funny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Blankenship | 12/6/2013

    " In typical Bryson style, this book was easy to read, entertaining, and made me think. This particular book is a compilation of short essays he wrote for a newspaper or magazine so it was a perfect book to read in 5 minute increments. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sassy | 12/3/2013

    " Good social commentary, laughs included. Bryson always has a fresh way of viewing the world; refreshing and humorous. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan Foy | 11/17/2013

    " Great fun - with lots of slightly snooty observations from someone who prefers Britain to US. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rochelle | 10/19/2013

    " A compilation of Bryson's columns about his return to American life from Britain after twenty years. I'm a Bryson fan and found some of his essayettes funny and incisive but on the whole, the book doesn't isn't as good a read as his books that are all of a piece. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brenda | 5/30/2013

    " One of his best, I think because it was so fresh. A great read for anyone who has ever been to Europe. The longer a time you have spent there, the more you will love this... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 CJ | 4/23/2013

    " As someone who often feels out of place despite having lived in the US my entire life, I appreciated reading Bryson's take on coming home after two decades in the UK. I also appreciate knowing that I may as well not ever try to watch cricket. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie | 1/2/2013

    " so far this book is alternately hilarious and very thought-provoking. i really like it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kalen Graham | 11/8/2012

    " A collection of short British news stories. I like Bill Bryson's wit and perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ldvk | 11/8/2012

    " Very well written and highly comedic. Loved it and still go back to it every now and then "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise Martin | 10/14/2012

    " Very witty. A few laugh out loud moments. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Theresa | 7/31/2012

    " I love this book...it's clever and funny, and Bryson does a great job of pointing out all the ridiculous habits and traits that are so prominent in many of our daily lives. It's one of the few books I can re-read without getting bored. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leah | 5/2/2012

    " Bill Bryson is my hero and I'm a fan of all his titles, but this nugget discusses aspects of American culture in a hysterical new way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dani Gottschalk | 4/8/2012

    " Funny, just not something I really enjoy reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 3/16/2012

    " Very amusing, but some crudeness, unfortunately. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miranda Addonizio | 2/23/2012

    " Very funny and interesting, like the rest of Bryson's work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chastain | 6/29/2011

    " Enjoyed Bryson's wit and observations as always, and the smiles it brought as I read, but did not feel need to finish it nor would I recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeramy | 6/22/2011

    " Though somewhat out of date, these short stories were very entertaining. Love Bryson's style of humor; shame it took me so long to pick one of his books up. Someone lent me "A Walk in the Woods" years ago but I never read it :/ "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin | 6/14/2011

    " The first Bill Bryson book I ever read. Actually laughed out loud more than a few times reading this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 6/9/2011

    " Pretty good book. A collection of his essays/columns written upon returning to the States. An interesting look at what makes America, in a sense, unique. Worth a read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 6/2/2011

    " Interesting book on how the U.S. changes. I like the thought on walking. Made me want to walk more. Very informative. If you like to compare countries, this is your book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 5/31/2011

    " Cute, short stories about American Culture. Some seem great, some seem fake, but enjoyed reading about somebody's view of our behaviors "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valarie | 5/31/2011

    " As always, Bill Bryson makes me chuckle at every turn of the page. This set of articles about his return to the United States is both thought-provoking and simply entertaining. Naturally, there are a few lackluster passages, but overall definitely a great summer read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ik | 5/28/2011

    " queuing and making rules.. 72 rules for a swimming pool...
    breakfast pizza.. hmm
    called by first name

    anything cost more than $30 is unnatural.. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynda | 5/28/2011

    " Some stories were better than others, overall fun to read. I think Bill Bryson is a good venture into the world of non-fiction. :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kerry | 5/27/2011

    " Humorous but a bit slight. This probably comes from being made up completely from past newspaper columns. It makes for light easy reading, read a column or two before bed for a few light laughs, but don't expect much more than that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen | 5/23/2011

    " A book that truly made me laugh out loud many times. Great insights on America from an interesting perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maddie | 5/22/2011

    " This is a book about an American who returns to America after living in England for 20 years. I like it a lot because it is a bunch of little stories about the things that he finds funny about returning to the United States. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 5/16/2011

    " What a great book to listen to while driving. I laughed so hard in parts that I could hardly see the road! Hmmm...maybe it's better to listen while NOT driving! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phnuggle | 5/1/2011

    " beware - most of the same columns appear in Bryson's "Notes from a Big Country" "

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About the Author
Author Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is the New York Times bestselling author of At HomeA Walk in the WoodsThe Lost ContinentMade in AmericaThe Mother Tongue, A Short History of Nearly Everything—winner of the Aventis Prize—and various other works. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he now lives in England, where he has worked for both the Times and Independent and written for most other major British and American publications.