I was really excited about this prompt. One of my favorite books is A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. I find it hilarious and so very real. When I saw the prompt, I took to the internet and searched “books similar to A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson” and was encouraged when I found an entire forum thread dedicated to this exact question.
Scrolling through the comments, I saw two books come up frequently and went to my library website to find out if they had either. They had one of them and I quickly put in my hold request and texted the selection to my mom.
A book about travel- The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Eric, a former journalist who has toured the most negative time sand places in the worked during his career, is a self proclaimed unhappy person. His newest project is to research those places on Earth that are considered happy and create his own atlas.
His travel takes him first to the pioneer of happiness research where he spends time reading data banks of information to determine his route of travel. From there he begins by heading first to Switzerland, one of the happiest countries on Earth.
Each chapter of the book is dedicated to a new country where he describes the landscape, culture and what defines happiness in that locale. Eric interviews both locals to the region as well as transplanted Americans to see what they think about being happy.
I really, really wanted to like this book. I just couldn’t. I’m not sure how so many people likened it to Bill Bryson on any level other than the basic “its a book about travel” because the two couldn’t be less similar than if they were of two separate genres. There was no humor, no travel gone awry story.
I did enjoy the look he provided at countries I had not even heard of or knew very ittle about such as Qatar, but once the initial descriptive passages were over the book quickly got burdened down in the writers own…well…I’m not sure exactly how to explain it…cynicism, pessimism. Either way it wasn’t a happy or light hearted book.
My other complaint is how much quoted research he had. Nearly every other sentence was a quoted text from some research and while I understood his attempt to put some science behind his work, it was over done and slowed the narrative down to a halt. It also broke up the text in a way that was displeasing.
Another failed pick on my part, I do not recommend reading it.