, (born December 8, 1951) is a best-selling American author of humorous books on travel, as well as books on the English language and on science. Born an American, he was a resident of Britain for most of his adult life before moving back to the US in 1995. In 2003 Bryson moved back to Britain, living in the old rectory of Wramplingham
, Norfolk, and was appointed Chancellor of Durham University
Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa
, the son of William and Mary Bryson.
When you come from Des Moines you either accept the fact without question and settle down with a girl called Bobbie and get a job in the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever or you spend your adolescence moaning at length about what a dump it is and how you can't wait to get out and then you settle down with a local girl named Bobbie and get a job in the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever.
My father liked Iowa. He lived his whole life in the state, and is even now working his way through eternity there, in Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines.
I had to calm down because a state trooper pulled up alongside me at a traffic light and began looking at me with that sort of casual disdain you often get when you give a dangerously stupid person a gun and a squad car.
I assume he was descended from apes like all the rest of us, but clearly in his case it had been a fairly gentle slope.
I watched a rerun on television of a 1960s comedy programme called "Mr Ed", which was about a talking horse. Judging by the quality of the jokes, I would guess that Mr Ed wrote his own material.
Just down the road stood a little town, which I shall call Dullard lest the people recognize themselves and take me to court or come to my house and batter me with baseball bats.
A sign in the yard of a church next door said CHRIST IS THE ANSWER. (The question, of course, is: What do you say when you strike your thumb with a hammer?)
I mused for a few moments on the question of which was worse, to lead a life so boring that you are easily enchanted or a life so full of stimulus that you are easily bored. But then it occurred to me that musing is a pointless waste of anyone's time, and instead I went off to see if I could find a Baby Ruth candy bar, a far more profitable exercise.
For forty years or so this was the world headquarters of conspicuous consumption.
Much of the tablecloth was a series of grey smudges outlined in a large, irregular patch of yellow that looked distressingly like a urine stain.