November 7, 2009 10:25:00 PM
In a Friends of the Library Book Talk Wednesday at 2 p.m., Dr. Jane Hinton-Stegal will explore the ventures and adventures of native Iowan and journalist Bill Bryson, who spent 20-plus years in Britain before returning to his native land. The free event at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, 314 Seventh St. N., is open to the public.
In 1973, Bryson left the United States to live in Britain as a journalist. Two decades later, he felt the need to return to the U.S. But first, he made a tour of Britain to such places as Pinhead, West Stuttering, Ham Hocks and other villages with intriguing names. He recounts his farewell tour in "Notes from a Small Island: An Affectionate Portrait of Britain."
For two years after settling in New Hampshire, Bryson continued writing a column focused on his return to the United States for a British newspaper. Seventy of those articles were compiled in his book, "I''m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away."
A third book in this Bryson travel trilogy, "A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail," resulted from his 2,100-mile trek of the historic trail with his traveling buddy, Stephan Katz. As the two out-of-shape men get into their hiking stride, they meet an assortment of off-the wall, hilarious characters along the trail.
Each book is an entertaining travelogue filled with Bryson''s humorous view of people and places. His spelling is American; the writing is English; but much of the "language" is British. In fact, in "Notes from a Small Island," he includes a glossary of British terms (such as knickers, loo and George Formby) for his American readers.
Hinton-Stegal, a retired professor of English literature, is a favorite among Book Talk-goers. The concise and succinct summations of her reviews always capture the attention of her audience.
The public is invited to remain afterward to meet and talk with Hinton-Stegal. Light refreshments will be served.
FOL Book Talks are held the second Wednesday of each month from September to May. For more information, contact the library at 662-329-5300.