Saturday, June 21, 2014

July 2014: In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

 Meeting Details:
Where: Melissa's House (106 Fraser Street Caledonia Ontario)
When: Thursday July 3rd 2014
Time: 7:30pm with the discussion beginning at 8pm
**Will send out a reminder email 1 week before the meeting.

Discussion Questions:
1. Did you like the book? If so, what was your favourite part of the book? If not, why?
2. Do you have any interest in traveling to Australia, or have you been there?
3. Did you like Bryson's narrative style? Have you read any of his other books, if you did how did this one compare?
4. Did Bill introduce you to an Australia that was different from your mental image of the place? What was unexpected in his account of the land and people?
5. What was your favourite geographic region in Australia? We're you surprised to find there were so many ecosystems there?
6. Did Bill succeed in describing people and places such that you could picture them in your mind? For example, could you 'see' Uluru in your mind?
7. What is Bryson's attitude toward Australia? What do you think of his attitude?
8. What do you think of Bryson's comments on the Australian Aborigines?
9. In Chapter 16, Bryson muse son the American influence in Alice Springs:
    "On our way into town, we passed strip malls, car dealerships, McDonald's and Kentucy Fried Chicken outlets, banks, and gas stations....My room had a balcony where I could watch the setting sun flood the desert floor and burnish the golden slopes of the McDonnell Ranges beyond- or at least I could if I looked past the more immediate sprawl of a Kmart plaza across the road. In the 2 million or more square miles that is the Australian outback. I don't suppose there is a more unfortunate juxtaposition.
   Allan was evidently held by a similar thought, for a half hour later when we met out front he was staring at the same scene. "I can't believe we've just driven a thousand miles to find a Kmart," he said. He looked at me. "You Yanks have a lot to answer for, you know."
   I started to protest, in a sputtering sort of way, but what could I say?. He was right. We do. We have created a philosophy of retailing that is totally without aesthetic and totally irresistible. And now we box these places up and ship them to the far corners of the world. Visually, almost every arrestingly regrettable thing in Alice Springs was a product of American enterprise...what a sad and curious age we live in.
Reactions? Comments?
10. Did you find a paradox in the laid-back style of the people of Australia, given that they live in a country with vast empty deserts, stinging plants and jellyfish, and killer sharks? Why do you suppose Australians are so famously mellow, as Bill himself confirmed?
11. Did anything that happened or was said in the book stick with you?
12. Would you recommend this book? Why or why not?

Down Under Menu
*Shrimp on the Barbie - Melissa
*sausage Rolls
*Meat Pie

Melissa will be providing the drinks!


  1. I plan to be there and will bring the Pavlova!

  2. I won't be there, ladies! Have fun!

  3. I hope to be there and will bring sausage rolls!


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