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A Good Place To Start
|A Walk in the Woods||6|
|The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid||1|
A Bad Place To Start
|A Short History of Nearly Everything||2|
|I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away||1|
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Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he was educated at Drake University but dropped out in 1972 after deciding to backpack around Europe for four months. He returned to Europe the following year with his high-school friend, Stephen Katz (which, it transpires, is not his real name). Some of his experiences from this trip are re-lived as flashbacks in Neither Here Nor There, which documents a similar journey Bryson made twenty years later.
In the mid-1970s, Bryson began working in a psychiatric hospital in Virginia Water, Surrey, England. There he met and soon married his English wife, Cynthia, a hospital nurse. Together they returned to the USA in order for Bryson to complete his college degree, after which they settled in England in 1977, remaining there until 1995. Living in North Yorkshire and mainly working as a journalist, he eventually became chief copy editor of the business section of The Times, and then deputy national news editor of the business section of The Independent. He left journalism in 1987, three years after the birth of his third child.
In 1995, Bryson returned to live in Hanover, New Hampshire for some years. In 2003, however, Bryson and his family returned to England, and are now living near Wymondham, Norfolk.
Also in 2003, in conjunction with World Book Day, voters in Great Britain chose Bryson's book Notes from a Small Island as the book that best sums up British identity and the state of the nation. In the same year, he was appointed a Commissioner for English Heritage.
In 2004, Bryson won the prestigious Aventis Prize for best general-science book with A Short History of Nearly Everything. This concise and popular piece of literature explores not only the histories and current statuses of the sciences, but also reveals their humble and often humorous beginnings. One "top scientist" is alleged to have jokingly described the book as "annoyingly free of mistakes". 
Bryson has also written two works on the history of the English language - Mother Tongue and Made in America - and, more recently, an update of his guide to usage, Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words (published in its first edition as The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words in 1983). These books were popularly acclaimed and well-reviewed, though they received criticism from academics in the field, who claimed they contained factual errors, urban myths, and folk etymologies. Though Bryson has no formal linguistics qualifications, he is generally a well-regarded writer on the subject of languages.
In 2005, Bryson was appointed Chancellor of Durham University. He had praised Durham as "a perfect little city" in Notes from a Small Island. He succeeded the late Sir Peter Ustinov. He has also been awarded honorary degrees by numerous universities. In 2006, he also ran the Tresco marathon, the Scillian equivalent of the London marathon.
His next book project is a memoir about growing up in America in the 1950s called The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Stephen Katz again figures prominently in the book, and is revealed to be Catholic, not Jewish as many have assumed since encountering him in A Walk in the Woods.
Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1951which may account for his exuberant, irrepressible take on life (no matter the seismic changes since then). He now lives in England, has traveled the world and brings to his books a charm that's totally engaging. He is often laugh-out-loud funny whether describing the people he meets or the places he visits and never indulges in a snide or malicious comment. His thirteenth (and latest book, 2006) is a memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, a must-read for anyone who has delightedly shared his travels.