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A Walk in the Woods

Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Bryson, Bill

(Book - 1999)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
A Walk in the Woods
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A CLASSIC FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ONE SUMMER Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes -- and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings. For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods has become a modern classic of travel literature.
Publisher: New York :, Broadway Books,, 1999, ©1998
Edition: First trade paperback edition
ISBN: 0767902521
Branch Call Number: 917.4 Br
Characteristics: 284 pages ; 21 cm

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Feb 24, 2015

Chapter 10

Nov 13, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

After seventeen years of living in England, travel writer Bryson returns to his native America. There he finds the famed Appalachian Trail practically at his back door and in a fit of bravado sets off to hike all 2100 miles from South to North. Will he make it? All I will tell you is that he is as funny and irreverent as ever, and as usual, a joy to read.

Mar 21, 2014
  • hey44 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Yep, this is a book that had me laughing out loud. And it kept my interest such that I temporarily abandoned the other travelogue I'd been reading in order to finish this one in a couple of days. The book deftly interweaves information about backpacking in general (preparation, equipment, etc), and about the Appalachian Trail itself - it's history and geography - into his own hiking journey. You don't have to be an avid adventurer to appreciate this book.

Jun 11, 2013
  • thart rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Read for CLPL Real World Reads Non-Fiction Book Club for June 2013.

This was a funny book about trying to "thru-hike" the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Maine. It slows down a little bit about halfway through the book when the author has to take a break because of other previous obligations, but picks back up toward the end. When he tries to just section hike small bits and pieces of the trail on day-hikes by himself it is not as steady a pace or as funny as when he is sincerely hiking it with his friend in earlier portions of the book. It was a nice summer read and was absolutely hilarious in the beginning, filled with factoids about the AT and the environment throughout, and it was also a pretty quick read.

Some of the funniest moments are with his old friend and hiking partner Katz, who tends to whip things off the cliff when he gets frustrated with the weight of his pack, including seemingly weightless items like coffee filters just for the sheer joy of watching them flutter in the wind because he is so frustrated. The author also has some pretty choice things to say about bears, maintaining the trails, and young hikers wearing suede boots and only wanting to party. At times Bryson paints a pretty bleak picture of conservation efforts, including a few crazy things like a town in PA burning for decades because of a spark set to some anthracite coal. I definitely recommend it as a good laugh and as informative at the same time!

Apr 12, 2013
  • JCLAshleyF rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

After discovering a section of the Appalachian Trail near his home, Bill Bryson decides he will walk the entire trail, all 2,100 miles of it. He decides that he needs a companion and after a desperate search he invites an old college buddy along for the journey. Both are ill prepared and naive about what the trip really entails and soon have a rude awakening. Bryson intermixes his personal experiences with facts and information about the history of the trail, its wildlife, and the state of the environment in the United States. Funny and informative at the same time, this book appeals to a wide range of readers.

Jul 26, 2012
  • LorrieChurch rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

An average guy attempts the Appalachian Trail with his fat friend; the comments are wry and funny. I appreciated the "virtual" hike, and learning about the history of the area.e

Apr 10, 2012
  • Sunny39 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent. So funny and so right-on about nature.

Mar 25, 2012
  • erumble rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I love Bill Bryson and this book didn't disappoint. I listened to the audiobook version (read by Bill) and was laughing out loud in my car on numerous occasions.

Mar 16, 2012
  • danielestes rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Bill Bryson's extraordinary gift as a writer is his prose. His words are lyrical, effortless and efficient. They are the jazz music of the language, possessing a beat and constantly surprising. This was the number one pleasure for me as I read A Walk in the Woods.

This book is probably often described as being about the Appalachian Trail, or more specifically, about hiking it. That isn't quite true since it's not really a trail guide. And yet it's so much more. I would describe A Walk in the Woods as a often hilarious and sometimes somber musing on the environmental progress of eastern North America set against one man's, Bill Bryson's, attempt to hike parts of the trail. He is joined by a long-time acquaintance, Stephen Katz, who is about as irritating and genuinely lovable as one can get.

My sister hiked the complete Appalachian Trail from south to north in 2006. She is very proud of her experience though she will completely agree with Bryson's unromantic assessment that hiking day after day is a long slog. Bryson undoubtedly loves America and it's many natural wonders, and he seems endlessly conflicted about how one can best appreciate the wilderness alongside modern progress. I think that's impression he's trying to convey.

Oct 22, 2011
  • fzlu rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The history interspersed within the author's personal hiking story were very interesting. I like the way he describes things.

I want to research more about Centralia -- an ex-mining town that has coal burning under it, annd is sitting on enough to burn for a thousand years if the rate of burning remains more or less consistent.

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Oct 22, 2011
  • fzlu rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

In America, alas, beauty has become something you drive to, and nature an either/or proposition--either you ruthlessly subjugate it, as at Tocks Dam and a million other places, or you deify it, treat it as something holy and remote, a thing apart, as along the Appalachian Trail. (p. 200)

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app12 Version nodvandig Last updated 2015/03/05 16:13