• Neither Here Nor There

  • Travels in Europe
  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: Bill Bryson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (813 ratings)

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Neither Here Nor There  By  cover art

Neither Here Nor There

By: Bill Bryson
Narrated by: Bill Bryson
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Publisher's Summary

Bryson brings his unique brand of humor to travel writing as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet and heads for Europe. Travelling with Stephen Katz - also his wonderful sidekick in A Walk in the Woods - he wanders from Hammerfest in the far north, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia.  

As he makes his way round this incredibly varied continent, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before with caustic hilarity. 

©1999 Bill Bryson (P)1999 Random House, Inc., Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.

What listeners say about Neither Here Nor There

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

reader beware

I would have assigned this book a minus option if it were abailable. I thought Bill Bryson had lived in England, he must have something to say about European countries. But after he began from bragging about his lack of foreign language knowledge, I recognized a familiar type of traveller - opinionated, not interested in learning other peoples culture, ready for derision. That exactly what this book is about: derision and labeling of peoples and cities if they failed to please at the 1st glance. It amounts to outright lies and misrepresentation. Too bad, a city cannot sue for libel! I spent many weeks in the German city of Cologne in the course of 2 years. That's Bill Bryson's characteristic of this wonderful city bustling with life, very comfortable to live, with beautiful scenery, lots of public spaces, museums, a famous opera, etc., etc. : "Cologne is a dismal place, with its Cathedral occupying a huge ugly square similar to an empty parking lot". (something like that - I could not post the exact citation since I don't have a printed copy). Bill Bryson is so sensitive - he left Cologne in disgust after a night stay since he happened to find a pornographic shop at the train station! How ironic - considering that his book is a fine example of pornographic writing - sexual remarks in bad taste on each page. He described a bad travel companion who annoyed him by categorizing his farts - I can describe his book instead as a collection of verbal farts. Who is it written for? I can imagine someone who hates travelling (especially because of all those foreign languages), so he enjoys Bill Bryson's book, and thinks: "How wonderful this guy saved me the trouble of seeng all those disgusting European places, with all those French and Germans who want me to obey their stupid rules!". But someone who is open minded and curious please don't trust this bunch of lies and distastful jokes. Go and see by yourself, or read Mark Twain if you want a funny travel book.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Been There -- Didn't Do That!!

Bryson is like the Professor we all wanted to have in College, the one your friends had but you couldn't get in. His intelligent narratives and thorough investigation will make you beg to listen to his next book. Although Bryson and I don't share the same politics, I love his writing just the same. In addition, he is one of the few writers who do justice to their books as the reader.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not Bryson's best...

I have listened to all of the other available Bryson audio books, starting with A Walk In The Woods (which I had already read first, but loved as an audio book narrated by Mr. Bryson). I've enjoyed each and every Bryson book - until this one... In the other Bryson's, I've found myself engaged and wanting to hear more. Sadly, this narrative seemed pointless and wandering. After an hour and a half, I found I just didn't care to listen any longer and it became almost a chore. Certainly not as fun as his other works! Sorry.

21 people found this helpful

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I wish he were my neighbour.

Any additional comments?

I loved this book. I read it in paperback originally and it was the first of his books that I read, but enjoyed listening to the audio book as it was narrated by the author (I am in fact disappointed that his other books available from audible are not all narrated by him), I am really only writing this review to rebut something negative said in one of the other reviews.

The other reviewer talks about him "bragging about his lack of knowledge" but either failed to continue listening to/reading what came after that, or is purposefully being disingenuous. Mr. Bryson talks about how he doesn't speak any language besides English, but goes on to say that what he likes about being unilingual in foreign countries is that it makes him feel how young children must feel; having no real idea what is going on around them but happy to be there nonetheless.

I feel that that distinction is important as it changes the tone of his comment altogether from 'bragging about his ignorance' to a comment on innocence. I wouldn't want anyone to give this book a miss because of a review written by someone with either poor reading comprehension or an axe to grind. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions, but those opinions should be based on facts (or the entirety of what the author said) not just snippets taken out of context.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Funny and informative

I love reading Bill Bryson and it is a treat to hear him narrate his own book. He is very funny and the book is filled with interesting facts and observations. If you listen to this on headphones in public, people will stare at you when you laugh out loud.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Don't listen to this one in public

You'll be laughing out loud as you tramp around Europe with one of the world's sharpest writers. Acid and charming all at the same time: Bryson is the master of wit and literary lightning.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

poor quality recording

Love the book and Bryson does a great job of reading. My complaint would be that this uhas the worst audio quality of any audiobook I listened to.. Bill sounds like he did it over the phone. Not up to the usual standard.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Charming but out of date

I'm a big fan of Bill Bryson but this is one you can skip. He makes a solo trip around Europe in 1990 and compares it to one he made with a young backpacker in 1973. He offers many interesting comments along the way but his effete mid-Atlantic accent and mispronunciation of German names can grate at times. But it's all way out of date now in 2015. Listen to his wonderful Thunderbolt Kid instead.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Negativest travel book I've ever read/listen to

What was most disappointing about Bill Bryson’s story?

The author is by far the cheapest most negative traveler I have ever encountered. Other than topless secretaries and a few other minor points nothing in his travels could make him happy. I would not waste my time listening to this book. If you are looking for a truly great travel book pick up anyone of Micheal Palins books you will not be dissapointed.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Crack for Travel Junkies

Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe starts out slow and in a remote, cold and desolate location that I have never had a desire to visit. I almost stopped listening right there. But I hung in there and was richly rewarded. Bill Bryson delivers a European travel log full of wit and unfaultering truth.

I love the details of the travel hiccups and mishaps and of course totally related to the gaps in communication and the glaring differences between Americans and Europeans that after all make travel interesting and fun.

The point of travel is to venture into the unfamiliar to view the unviewed and to meet the unknown. Bill Bryson took me on a trip through Europe and reminded me of how much I miss being there when I'm away.

If you have previously visited Europe, you will enjoy the rekindling of memories, if you have never been to Europe, you will get a taste in this book.

One note, this book is based on Bill Bryson's trip through Europe in the 1990s and much has changed and much has stayed the same.

3 people found this helpful

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  • P
  • 02-06-15

Travel with Humour

I love Bryson,s quirky sense of humour and this book has it in spades. His enthusiasm for travel and his many adventures along the way kept me with a smile on my face.