We gathered all of Bill Bryson’s books and compared their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores to find which ones were the best. The novels in our list below are ranked according to which titles have the highest overall score across all three review sites when compared to all other books by the same author. The method isn’t really scientific, and most novels aren’t “better” than others; rather, they are distinct. However, we appreciate seeing where our favorite authors landed, and if you’re unfamiliar with the author, the rankings can help you figure out which books to start with.
Below the countdown at the bottom of the page, you’ll find the whole ranking chart. If/when a new book by Bill Bryson is published, we will update this article. Although it is unlikely to be immediate, it will give the ratings on each site time to settle and avoid being swayed by the early, typically more opinionated, users.
Have fun scrolling!
The Top Book’s Of Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson’s African Diary
“Bill Bryson is going to Kenya to help CARE International. CARE International receives all royalties and earnings.
Bryson is in Kenya at the request of CARE International, a non-profit dedicated to poverty alleviation. Kenya is a country of contrasts, with well-known game reserves and a thriving culture. It also gives a tourist like Bill Bryson, who is preoccupied on the hazards posed by snakes, insects, and enormous animals, much to be concerned about. It’s also a country with a slew of major issues, including refugees, AIDS, drought, and abject poverty. Despite its brief length, the resulting journal bears the Bryson imprint of sardonic observation and fascinating insight.”
Icons of England
The sweeping green landscapes and beautiful landmarks that distinguish England from the rest of the globe are not the only features of this celebration of the English countryside. Many of the contributors add their own unique spin to the collection, which includes everything from pub signs to seaside piers, livestock grids to canal boats, and village cricket to nimbies.
The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
The author leaves his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, on a journey that takes him across 38 states, spurred by a desire to reclaim his youth (he should know better). He carried a notebook, which was fortunate for us. Bryson delivers a colorful narrative of monotony, kitsch, and beauty when you least expect it, with a razor wit and a loving heart. Aside from the gentler components, The Lost Continent is a fun read. Bryson has something to say about the women of his home state: “I will say this, though–and this is a strange, strange thing–these fat women’s teenaged daughters are invariably totally wonderful… I’m not sure what happens to them, but it must be awful to marry one of those nubile cuties and know that inside her there’s a time bomb ticking away that will cause her to bloat out into something huge and grotesque at some unknown date, presumably all of a sudden and without much notice, like a self-inflating raft from which the pin has been yanked.” Yes, Bill, but be honest with yourself: what are your true feelings?
The Road to Little Dribbling
“Bill Bryson took a vacation around Britain twenty years ago to find and enjoy that green and peaceful land. Notes from a Small Island, a true classic and one of the best-selling travel books of all time, was the outcome. Now he’s back in Britain, traveling by bus, rail, rental vehicle, and foot to explore what’s changed—and what hasn’t.
Bryson rediscovers the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly singular country that he both celebrates and twits by following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north, by way of places few travelers ever get to at all. He gives sharp and penetrating insights into all that is best and worst about Britain today with his unrivaled knack for the funniest and quirkiest, as well as his unerring eye for the foolish, befuddling, attractive, and absurd.”
Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
Bill Bryson traveled around Europe in pursuit of enlightenment, beer, and ladies in the early 1970s. He was accompanied by Stephen Katz, a hilarious sidekick (who will be well-known to fans of Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods). He planned to retrace his steps twenty years later. The result is Neither Here Nor There, a loving and riotously humorous film.
Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors
Is there a distinction between “immanent” and “imminent”? What is the one-of-a-kind type of graffiti? Is there a distinction between “acute” and “chronic”? What was “Moldova’s” previous name? What makes a cardinal number different from an ordinal number? One of the most accomplished writers in the English language answers these and other concerns, guiding us all toward accurate, error-free speech. Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors will be an important companion for anyone who care enough about our language not to abuse, misuse, or twist it. It covers spelling, capitalization, plurals, hyphens, abbreviations, and foreign names and phrases.
The Palace Under the Alps
Bill Bryson recently returned to the United States with his English wife and four children after spending two decades in the United Kingdom (he had read somewhere that over 3 million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliens—as he subsequently put it, “it was plain my people needed me”). They arrived to find a new and improved America, complete with microwave breakfasts, 24-hour dental-floss hotlines, and a firm belief that ice is not a luxury item.
I’m a Stranger Here Myself describes his often unnerving reunion with the land of his origin, with the insightful humorous reflections that are a Bryson trademark. The result is a book filled with hysterical vignettes of one man’s quest to reconnect himself with his birthplace, but it’s also a lengthy, though occasionally bewildered love letter to the homeland he’s returned to after twenty years away.”
Shakespeare: The World as Stage
Despite the fact that William Shakespeare, the most famous poet in the English language, left behind roughly a million pages of text, his biography has long been a tangle of wild speculation based on meager facts. Bill Bryson combs through this colorful jumble with a steady hand and his typical humor to expose the man himself. Bryson chronicles the efforts of past historians, ranging from today’s most eminent academics to eccentrics like Delia Bacon, an American who acquired a firm but unfounded belief that her namesake, Francis Bacon, was the genuine author of Shakespeare’s plays. Bryson describes episodes in his research in the style of his famous travelogues, including a visit to a bunker-like area in Washington, D.C., where the world’s largest collection of First Folios is held. Shakespeare, according to Bryson, was a writer of inconceivable talent and immense originality, coining terms like “vanish into thin air,” “foregone conclusion,” and “one fell swoop” that are still used today. His Shakespeare is unlike anybody else’s, thanks to Bryson’s warm personality, intriguing skepticism, and unequaled storytelling ability.