Stephen Fry in America, by Stephen Fry (Harper Collins, £8.99).
AMERICA and its cultures are always fascinating subject matter, here Stephen Fry, the Englishman abroad brings them to life off the printed page.
His love and fascination for the country (he was almost born there) saw him embark on an epic journey across the country, visiting each of its 51 states. Ultimately he discovers a huge diversity of people, cultures, and languages, beliefs and landscapes that combine to create such a unique nation.
Asides from dropping in for tea with Spielberg in Ohio, talking to George Bush on his Texas ranch; meeting Bill Gates in Washington; and talking California with governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Stephen also talks to the people in the background that help keep the country ticking over. The unknown mayors, sheriffs, newspaper editors, park rangers, teachers and hobos that Stephen encounters, bring the country to life and give his journey more depth than his big name encounters.
As his journey continues, Stephen also discovers the different traditions and laws each state has, for instance in Alaska, did you know its illegal to push a moose out of an aircraft?
Stephen Fry in America is a welcome companion to last year's TV series of the same name, but equally a worthy read in its own right. Deserving a rightful place on the travelogue bookshelf whether you ever visit America or are just interested in how the American lifestyle differs from ours.