By Bill Bryson. That’s almost good enough for a review. He is – as always – funny and so endearing in his enthusiasm to make acquaintances with the strange and unfamiliar, and that includes people, landscape, history, customs. Who else could get so excited to about stromalites, the most ancient life on Earth that looks just like rock, that he drove a thousand miles to take a look at it so he could tell you? I dig those offbeat facts that are completely irrelevant to daily life. And he’s honest. You can tell he’s telling you exactly how he sees things. He’s not humorous for the sake of being humorous, but because he instinctively finds the humor in every situation. In the same honesty, he doesn’t shy from what might be sensitive or offensive, like posing hard questions about he treatment of the Aborigines, or calling the country’s national sport boring (and ironically, his description of cricket makes it sound a bit more entertaining).

It was a great read, as expected. And while it surprised me plenty and made me google-imaged a bunch of spots, it confirmed my impression of the country as too vast, too dry, too dangerous. Australia, wait for me in the next life. Right now I’m too busy dreaming about New Zealand.