Book review: I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson

brysonI’m a Stranger Here Myself: What it is about

From the publishers: “After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly 3 million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliensas he later put it, “it was clear my people needed me”). They were greeted by a new and improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item.

Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I’m a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth. The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man’s attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended if at times bemused love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.”

I’m a Stranger Here Myself: What I thought

I prefer books over short stories and short stories over columns. The longer I can enjoy a good story, the better. However, I very much enjoyed this book of columns. They were exactly the right length.

There were all stories about the differences between England and the US or what it was like to be back in the US after many years in the UK. In fact, this was quite recognisable. The book was written 15 years ago, and meanwhile, the food, level of service (or lack of it) and other quirky issues have made it to Europe. Yes, we are a little behind here, not only with the good things, but also with the bad. :-)

I chuckled aloud now and then. A good thing I was reading this mainly in bed (although, why can’t we laugh in public over a book? It is like breastfeeding in public? People… object?).

So, while the book is a little dated, it didn’t feel dated for this European. I had great fun reading this book, a story at a time.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)

Number of pages: 304

First published: 2000

I got this: bought at a publisher’s book sale

Genre: non-fiction, columns


Winner of the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop


It’s the end of the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop! Around 30 blogs joined me in giving away books and there were some real gems to be won.

There was a lot of activity on my blog and other blogs. I saw lots of tweeting and other activity.

It’s time to draw a winner! Well, it’s way over time! I blame my visit yesterday to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam where I saw the real doll’s house that The Miniaturist is all about. That is the book that I’m giving away in this blog hop. The doll’s house is large and has lots of tiny, tiny items in it. It looks like a real house; it’s wonderful! I also saw The Nightwatch, the famous painting by Rembrandt, which looked impressive. Great colors and very life like.

The winner is…

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Laurie C @ Bay State Reader’s Advisory

Congratulations! I’ll send you an email to ask you for your address details. Please answer this within 3 days.

Thanks to everyone who participated. I think we can say the blog hop was another great success.

Did you take part in the hop? And… did you win anything?

The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop Starts Here!

This post is a sticky and will stay on top of the page while the Blog Hop is going on.

Scroll down for my newer posts.



Welcome to the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop!

The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop is hosted by me, Leeswammes. Between now and Wednesday November 5th, you can hop to 30 different book blogs, all offering one or more giveaways of books or bookish items. All books will be literary (non)fiction or something close to that. Follow the links at the bottom of this post to find the other participating blogs.

My Giveaway

The book I want to offer for this giveaway is one that I read recently and really enjoyed. The story takes place in my own country and I think it’s a very good historical fiction novel.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

From the publishers: “On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?”

My review is HERE.


To enter

To enter, please read the rules and then fill out the form below. 

The rules:

  1. Anyone can enter. You do not need to have a blog.
  2. You do not have to be a follower of my blog or become a follower, although if you like my blog I hope you will! You can follow by email or by RSS (see buttons in the side bar on the right at the top).
  3. There will be one winner.
  4. You need an address where bookdepository will deliver.
  5. Fill out the form below. You can enter the giveaway until Wednesday November 5th. I will close the giveaway when I turn on my computer on November 6th (Netherlands time).
  6. Tweet about the giveaway for ONE extra entry. Use this text: Win The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton in the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by @Leeswammes
  7. Note that double or invalid entries will be removed.
  8. I will notify the winner by email. The winner need to answer my email within 3 days, or I’ll announce a new winner.
  9. That’s it! Good luck and thanks for playing.

Fill out the FORM HERE to enter.

The giveaway is now closed for entries.

Now start blog hopping!

For more giveaways check out these blogs. There are some real treasures out there for grabs!

Giveaways are worldwide, meaning people from most or all countries of the world can enter, unless mentioned otherwise.

Linky List:

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Read Her Like an Open Book (US/CA)
  3. My Book Self
  4. The Book Stop
  5. My Book Retreat (US)
  6. Books in the Burbs (US)
  7. Guiltless Reading
  8. Word by Word
  9. Juliet Greenwood
  10. BooksandLiliane
  11. Words for Worms (US)
  12. The Relentless Reader
  13. The Misfortune of Knowing
  14. The Friday Morning Bookclub (US)
  15. Readerbuzz
  16. Lavender Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams
  17. The Emerald City Book Review
  18. Wensend
  1. Laurie Here
  2. A Cup Of Tea, A Friend, And A Book (US)
  3. Moon Shine Art Spot (US)
  4. I’d Rather Be Reading At The Beach (US)
  5. Lost Generation Reader
  6. Books on the Table (US)
  7. Orange Pekoe Reviews
  8. Words And Peace (US)
  9. Booklover Book Reviews
  10. Inside the Secret World of Allison Bruning (US)

In Case of Emergency, Aim for the Head by Berti Walker

In Case of Emergency by Berti Walker


As many of you know, I have my own book editing company, Book Helpline. Today I want to show you one of the books that we recently edited and that came out last month.

In Case of Emergency, Aim for the Head by Bert Walker is a novel about a strange little town where the sheriff has plans of actions for all kinds of emergencies. When one of these emergencies emerges, the people of the town take it a little too far, with disastrous results.

Here’s the official blurb:

Paxton and his mother move to Lost Creek, to escape his violent father. The use of internet is frowned upon in this strange little town, where the local Sheriff has made detailed plans for calamities from zombie wars to holocausts. When Paxton, an avid gamer, has finally settled into a life without internet, calamity strikes and Paxton and his mother are suddenly at the forefront of the action.

Some people think editing is all about spelling and grammar, but with this book, I did a developmental edit. That means that I went through the manuscript and made comments and suggestions to do with the story line, the characters, the pacing, logic, inconsistencies, and other things like that. Not every self-publishing author goes for a developmental edit, although every (every!) novel does need one. In Case of Emergency was already very good, and it’s even better now! :-)

This was a really fun book to work on. If it sounds like something you would enjoy, have a look at the Amazon page. The cover shows an armadillo, which features in an elusive way in the book.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished working on another few books. I hope to tell you about them in the near future! :-)



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