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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America…

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (original 1997; edition 2006)

by Bill Bryson

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12,160359207 (4.01)515
Title:A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Anchor (2006), Edition: 2nd, Mass Market Paperback, 397 pages
Collections:Your library, 2012, pre-2007
Tags:non-fiction, 20th century, travel, appalachian trail, hiking, mmp, 3.5

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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (1997)


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English (353)  German (3)  Dutch (3)  French (1)  Italian (1)  English (361)
Showing 1-5 of 353 (next | show all)
Bill Bryson can be hit or miss for me. Or rather, I typically enjoy portions of his books -- the portions with humorous, personal anecdotes -- and get a little bored with the historical or informational bits. This one was similar. I enjoy books that can mix the two seamlessly, but Bryson, though well-researched, seems to struggle with blending the two into something that I can claim I absolutely love.

In this, probably his most well-known book, he and his friend Stephen Katz attempt to hike a large portion of the Appalachian Trail. Though Bryson's book is older, it was hard not to make some comparisons to Cheryl Strayed's Wild. But I won't do that here. Bryson does do a good job of researching & presenting the facts, although they do sometimes tend to be dry. In this book, he is at his most enjoyable when portraying the relationship & dialogue between himself and Katz. The chemistry, or sometimes lack of, between the two is classic, and that often more than makes up for the dryer portions of the book.

I read this on abridged audio, so am not entirely sure what I missed out on by reading the shorter version. I did enjoy it and gained new knowledge about the Appalachian Trail (really had no idea it was so long). Overall a recommended read. ( )
  indygo88 | Nov 13, 2016 |
funny AND educational! ( )
  rosies | Aug 24, 2016 |
I just have to say how much I loved this book. So many times I found myself laughing out loud or wanting to read a portion of it to my husband. I was also very interested in the history of the trail. One thing that really interested me was the fact that the trail seems to be always changing. Rerouted due to some new road or other being built. And how there never seems to be a consensus on how long the trail actually is. I guess part of that can be attributed to the fact that it is changing so much. Hearing all of his experiences and the people he met on the trail made me a little jealous. There was nothing else I wanted to do besides load up a pack and go hit the trail! Of course I am not in shape and don't have the money for all the hiking equipment so for now I'll just have to make do with the easier state park trails in my area (well, when winter is gone anyways). I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the great outdoors, hiking or humorous travel accounts. ( )
  pennma05 | Jul 21, 2016 |
Bill is a great writer and very funny. Too not read this would be a "big mistake" Lol ( )
  Gary_Power | Jul 10, 2016 |
Quite enjoyable, but occasionally too many statistics. Would not encourage me to walk the trail. ( )
  Cat-Lib | Jul 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 353 (next | show all)
Bryson's breezy, self-mocking tone may turn off readers who hanker for another ''Into Thin Air'' or ''Seven Years in Tibet.'' Others, however, may find themselves turning the pages with increasing amusement and anticipation as they discover that they're in the hands of a satirist of the first rank, one who writes (and walks) with Chaucerian brio.
[Bryson] was often exhausted, his ''brain like a balloon tethered with string, accompanying but not actually part of the body below.'' The reader, by contrast, is rarely anything but exhilarated. And you don't have to take a step.

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Brysonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Goddijn, ServaasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Katz,
of course.
First words
Not long after I moved with my family to a small town in New Hampshire I happened upon a path that vanished into a wood on the edge of town.
But always the wandering trail ran on.
“You all right?” I said. “Oh, peachy,” he replied. “Just peachy. I don’t know why they couldn’t have put some crocodiles in here and made a real adventure of it.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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ISBNs 0552152153 and 0553455923 (or 9780553455922) refer to abridged versions. Please do not combine with unabridged works.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307279464, Mass Market Paperback)

Your initial reaction to Bill Bryson's reading of A Walk in the Woods may well be "Egads! What a bore!" But by sentence three or four, his clearly articulated, slightly adenoidal, British/American-accented speech pattern begins to grow on you and becomes quite engaging. You immediately get a hint of the humor that lies ahead, such as one of the innumerable reasons he longed to walk as many of the 2,100 miles of the Appalachian Trail as he could. "It would get me fit after years of waddlesome sloth" is delivered with glorious deadpan flair. By the time our storyteller recounts his trip to the Dartmouth Co-op, suffering serious sticker shock over equipment prices, you'll be hooked.

When Bryson speaks for the many Americans he encounters along the way--in various shops, restaurants, airports, and along the trail--he launches into his American accent, which is whiny and full of hard r's. And his southern intonations are a hoot. He's even got a special voice used exclusively when speaking for his somewhat surprising trail partner, Katz. In the 25 years since their school days together, Katz has put on quite a bit of weight. In fact, "he brought to mind Orson Welles after a very bad night. He was limping a little and breathing harder than one ought to after a walk of 20 yards." Katz often speaks in monosyllables, and Bryson brings his limited vocabulary humorously to life. One of Katz's more memorable utterings is "flung," as in flung most of his provisions over the cliff because they were too heavy to carry any farther.

The author has thoroughly researched the history and the making of the Appalachian Trail. Bryson describes the destruction of many parts of the forest and warns of the continuing perils (both natural and man-made) the Trail faces. He speaks of the natural beauty and splendor as he and Katz pass through, and he recalls clearly the serious dangers the two face during their time together on the trail. So, A Walk in the Woods is not simply an out-of-shape, middle-aged man's desire to prove that he can still accomplish a major physical task; it's also a plea for the conservation of America's last wilderness. Bryson's telling is a knee-slapping, laugh-out-loud funny trek through the woods, with a touch of science and history thrown in for good measure. (Running time: 360 minutes, four cassettes) --Colleen Preston

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:30 -0400)

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Traces the author's adventurous trek along the Appalachian Trail past its natural pleasures, human eccentrics, and offbeat comforts.

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