There is nothing that makes me happier than finding a nice, quiet spot and pulling out a book.

Hadson Cove, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines, March 2009

A couple months ago, I purchased a copy of Bill Bryson’s Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe. This was my second Bryson book; I made it through most of Made in America before ditching the book in Phnom Penh in October. I was slightly disappointed by Made in America, but Erin urged me to give him another shot.

Kingston Point Beach, Kingston, NY, April 2010

I expected a lot from Travels in Europe. Who doesn’t love to read about a man living our dreams, hopping from country to country, seeing the local sites, eating the regional delicacies and…complaining about absolutely everything and everyone.

Yeah. I got through Norway, France and Belgium before I had to put the book down. I picked it back up a few weeks later and got through a few more countries before giving up again.

I gave this book a shot, I swear I did. My biggest issue with this book is that Bryson travels alone, doesn’t speak to anyone who isn’t performing some service for him and makes no attempt to do anything beyond walk around, stare at the locals and order beer or coffee from a cafe. One of the greatest things about traveling like this is that you are constantly meeting new people, making connections and finding you have more in common with complete strangers than you thought. Bryson…well, Bryson missed out.

I’m done with Bill Bryson, but am now actively seeking book recommendations! I’ll be picking up a couple books before I leave and then trade them in and pick up new ones as I travel. Feel free to comment here, Facebook or e-mail me with suggestions!

Seoul Arts Center, Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea, July 2009