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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Sheer delight and a dash of misery from Bill Bryson

Schubert and Beethoven were walking down a street one day when they heard someone playing Mozart.

Beethoven turned to his companion and said "You and I will never write anything that good."

I feel about the same every time I read Bill Bryson. I think I have read all his books and they fill me with a melange of joy and depression.

Joy because he writes so bloody well; depression because I don't. I think one of his best qualities is the way he manages to find so many funny anecdotes.

His latest, "Home", tells the story of Sir John Lubbock, a friend of Charles Darwin, who among other excellent things is responsible for Bank Holidays, which came in when previously the average British worker only got Sundays and Christmas off.

(Come to think of it, when I started the working week was five and half days long).

Lubbock also saved Stonehenge for us when it was about to be shipped off in bits to America.

But what endears him most to me is his eccentricity. He once spent three months trying to teach his dog to read.

How excellent!

Maybe someone should try to find out how he went about it. It might help in some of our schools.

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