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Bill Bryson Trivia

Bill Bryson Trivia Quizzes

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Bill Bryson has published works about travel ("Notes from a Small Island" and others), science, including "A Short History of Nearly Everything", and a diverse range of other non-fiction subjects.
3 Bill Bryson quizzes and 45 Bill Bryson trivia questions.
  Bill Bryson and his Books   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
If you are a fan of Bill Bryson and his books then you should find this quiz easy.
Average, 10 Qns, Copago, Aug 28 15
1563 plays
  Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
It seems many Quizzylanders, like me, love Bill Bryson's books! This samples some anecdotes from his Australia travelogue (released as "Down Under" outside the US.)
Tough, 10 Qns, austinnene, Feb 08 08
460 plays
  Bill Bryson    
Multiple Choice
 25 Qns
One of the greatest and funniest travel writers ever ... Bill Bryson is perhaps better known in the UK (where he lived for many years) than in his native America.
Average, 25 Qns, peterzezel, Apr 10 13
1450 plays
trivia question Quick Question
What was the name of Bill's first book?

From Quiz "Bill Bryson"

Related Topics
  Humor and Satire [Literature] (20 quizzes)

  Non-Fiction [Literature] (85 quizzes)

Bill Bryson Trivia Questions

1. What is Nothomyrmecia macrops, which was thought to be extinct, until it reappeared in Australia in 1977?

From Quiz
Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"

Answer: A prototypical ant, honey-gold in color.

Nothomyrmecia macrops is considered to be critically endangered, but it is still in existence in a couple spots in Australia. Although not the oldest lineage on earth, it is the last living species of a strain of ants of the Cretaceous Period. Its rediscovery in 1977 was a major entomological event!

2. Which US state does Bill come from?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: Iowa

Bill speaks fondly on his native Iowa and his childhood days there in many of his books.

3. In which town, in 1951, was Bill Bryson born?

From Quiz Bill Bryson and his Books

Answer: Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines gets mentioned quite a bit as Bryson takes us back to his childhood ... growing up in the idyllic 1950s. The first line in "The Lost Continent" is "I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to."

4. For whom, according to Bill, was the Simpson Desert named?

From Quiz Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"

Answer: A guy who manufactured washing machines.

Well, it's true, Simpson did manufacture washing machines, but he was also a philanthropist, Mayor of Adelaide from 1913 to 1915, and President of the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia. The Simpson Desert has no paved roads, and travel through the desert is strongly discouraged in the Australian summer months (November through February) due to the intense heat and lack of water.

5. What was the topic of articles that Bill's mother (Mary Bryson) wrote for the Des Moines (Iowa) Register?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: Home furnishings

Bill actually did write some high school wrestling articles (as well as answering phones) when he worked for the Register, part-time, at the age of 16.

6. "A Walk in the Woods" has Bryson attempting to walk which mountain range?

From Quiz Bill Bryson and his Books

Answer: The Appalachian Mountains

"A Walk in the Woods" has Bryson hiking the Appalchian Trail and possibly encountering bears, snakes, moose, venomous plants and, perhaps worse of all, other hikers. We also hear about Stephen Katz who walked part of the way with Bryson.

7. In Canberra, feeling somewhat lonely, Bill imbibed a few in a hotel bar. During this sojourn, he devised several Chamber of Commerce slogans for the Australian capital. Which was his favorite?

From Quiz Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"

Answer: Canberra: Gateway to Everywhere Else!

He was in his cups for sure...

8. Bill's book about Australia was released in Britain as "Down Under" but by what name was the book sold in America?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: In a Sunburned Country

If you haven't read this yet, I suggest printing off a small map of Australia to use as your bookmark. Referring to it will make this hilarious book even MORE enjoyable!

9. In which Bryson book does he travel around small town America?

From Quiz Bill Bryson and his Books

Answer: The Lost Continent

In this book Bryson gives a candid look at the small towns of the USA where he laments on how so many of the towns appear to be the same as each other.

10. Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt was swept away and never seen again after going for "the swim that needs no towel" in what small town across Port Phillip Bay from Melbourne?

From Quiz Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"

Answer: Portsea.

On December 17, 1967, Holt went for a stroll with friends on Cheviot Beach, and decided to go for a swim. He disappeared into the sea very quickly; his body has never been found. A memorial to him was later built in Melbourne--a municipal swimming pool...

11. What was Bill's FIRST book to make the New York Times Best Seller list?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: A Walk in the Woods

You could make the case that Americans would only read the books about America. "But The Lost Continent" (about America also) was not a huge seller in the States. Perhaps it was because Bill was still living in England when "Lost" was released, while he had moved back to America by the time "Walk" hit the shelves.

12. "Neither Here Nor There" gives the reader a tour of Europe. From which country did Bryson view the Northern Lights?

From Quiz Bill Bryson and his Books

Answer: Norway

Bryson made the Norwegian town of Hammerfest his home for sixteen days until he finally saw the Northern Lights and described it as "the most beautiful thing I had ever seen". Despite that he was very happy to be leaving the cold winter, "I have seldom moved so quickly. I ran to the bus (and) begged them not to leave without me".

13. In 1838, 28 Aborigines were slaughtered by whites at Myall Creek in New South Wales. This was not a unique occurrence in Australia's history. What WAS unusual about Myall Creek?

From Quiz Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"

Answer: The whites were punished for their deeds.

For many years, white people could kill Aborigines with impunity. Bill was struck by the fact that there is no memorial, no acknowledgment, of the killings at the site, but the locals to whom he spoke did not seem to think this was noteworthy.

14. In what year was Bill born?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: 1951

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, where he lived his early years with his father (Bill), mother (Mary) and brother (Mike).

15. "Notes From a BIg Country" is a book of the columns that Bryson wrote about the USA for which British newspaper?

From Quiz Bill Bryson and his Books

Answer: Mail on Sunday

The columns appeared in the "Mail on Sunday's" magazine "Night and Day" from 1996. They include such gems as "I have been thinking a lot about food lately. This is because I'm not getting any. My wife ... put me on a diet after suggesting I was beginning to look like something Richard Branson would try to get airbourne."

16. What did Bill think of the Northern Territory's hospitality industry?

From Quiz Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"

Answer: That the Territory's inhabitants shouldn't be able to take full part in national affairs until they get friendlier hotel staff in Darwin.

After a thoroughly unpleasant lodging experience in Darwin, Bill told the hotel clerk as they departed, that he would sooner have bowel surgery in the woods with a stick than return to the establishment. ("Excellent", the clerk responded, a trifle uncertainly.) Bryson's entire account of his disappointing stay in Darwin is a masterwork of hilarious, understated sarcasm.

17. Complete the title of this Bryson book. "A Short History of ...

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: ... Nearly Everything"

Another of Bill's incredibly researched books (like Mother Tongue), so it's more about fascinating facts than amusing anecdotes.

18. What notable animal was featured at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, which Bill visited after his night in Darwin?

From Quiz Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"

Answer: A crocodile named Sweetheart.

The croc, named Sweetheart (even though he was a male), was known for attacking boats and held the dubious distinction of having wrecked at least fifteen of them. Interestingly, Sweetheart did not attack the boats' occupants, only the vessels themselves. It is thought that the sound of the motors grated on Sweetheart's nerves. The beast was nearly 17 feet long.

19. In America, it was called "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" What was the same book called in Great Britain?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: Notes From a Big Country

Obviously playing off his hugely popular "Notes From a Small Island" which was about Britain and not as well known in America.

20. What is the surname of Bryson's friend, Stephen, who travelled with him in "A Walk in the Woods" and the earlier trip to Europe in "Neither Here Nor There"?

From Quiz Bill Bryson and his Books

Answer: Katz

Stephen Katz provides many funny moments in these two books, from trying to incite rebellion to Africans in Amsterdam to being an overweight ex-alcoholic on the Appalchian Trail.

21. Complete the title of this Bryson book. "Dictionary of ...

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: ... Troublesome Words"

If you confuse the words 'affect' and 'effect' this is the book for you. It's a very handy book to keep by your side when writing things like trivia quizzes.

22. When Bill Bryson returned to live in the USA after over ten years in England, which state did he settle his family to?

From Quiz Bill Bryson and his Books

Answer: New Hampshire

Bryson is clearly captivated by this area and especailly the couple weeks of the year at autumn when the trees burst into colour. "For a few glorious days each October, ... unquestionably the lovliest place on earth."

23. What was the "School of the Air"?

From Quiz Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"

Answer: A school for kids living far from towns who can't physically attend school.

When Bill toured the school, he listened to a tape recording of a lesson consisting largely of the teacher, via CB radio, trying to establish contact with children, ("Kylie, are you there?--Over-" *static*)

24. When the Brysons moved back to America ... it was Bill, his wife, and how many children?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: 4

Two boys and two girls. Mentioned in many of Bill's books, the children's chance to live in America were a primary reason for moving back to America.

25. Easy one - Bill Bryson's book "Down Under" is about which country?

From Quiz Bill Bryson and his Books

Answer: Australia

Everyone got this right, didn't they? "Down Under" has Bryson discovering Australia from the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne to the outback towns such as Broken Hill and Alice Springs.

26. Nearing the end of his stay in Australia, Bill drove another daunting, lonely distance to Shark Bay, on the west coast. There he was thrilled to see one of the oldest living organic forms known. What were these?

From Quiz Tidbits from "In a Sunburned Country"

Answer: Some "living rocks".

The "rocks", called stromatolites, are actually organic formations of something called cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), which use water, carbon dioxide and sunlight to create their food, which in turn yields by-products of oxygen and calcium carbonate. They developed during a time, 3.5 to 2.7 billion years ago, when the atmosphere of the earth was rich in carbon dioxide but had very little oxygen. During the two billion years when stromatolites were the main form of life on earth, the oxygen they gave off raised the percentage of oxygen in the air until it reached about 20%, which sustains a multitude of other life forms--including, as Bill noted, himself!

27. In what part of England, did Bryson and his family make their home?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: North Yorkshire

Bill expressed his preference for Northern England ... perhaps because a pint is cheaper up North. The Brysons settled in a 350-year-old farmhouse in a Yorkshire village of 60 people.

28. When the Bryson family packed up and moved to America in the late 1990's, to which place did they move?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: Hanover, New Hampshire

In an interview in "The Mail On Sunday," Bill revealed the name of his local (pub) in Hanover. I wrote to Bill in care of that pub. Bill wrote back. Growing up following the Cubs, Bill is now an ardent supporter of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

29. Which university did Bill attend?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: Drake University

Majoring in political science, he dropped out before completing a degree. Bryson came back to Iowa in 1975, to finish his degree at Drake while working as a Iowa Tribune copy editor. In 1977, with degree in hand, he returned to England to make his home.

30. What was the reason for Bill's first visit to the UK in 1973?

From Quiz Bill Bryson

Answer: A backpacking expedition

He stayed for two decades.

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