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

by Bill Bryson

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12,433368197 (4.01)522
Member:Cruiseheimers
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
Rating:*****
Tags:light reading

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

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» See also 522 mentions

English (362)  German (3)  Dutch (3)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All (370)
Showing 1-5 of 362 (next | show all)
[Contains spoilers]. It's tittersome in the usual Bryson style, but the gag density seemed a lot lower than the others of his. It's best in the early chapters as the largely ill-prepared Bryson and Katz head off on the Trail together. It loses its way when the trip is abandoned about halfway through the book; solo Bryson is less funny than the Bryson/Katz double-act, and it begins to feel like a series of Wikipedia entries as Bryson explores the Trail in sections alone. When Katz rejoins Bryson late on to walk the final part of the Trail it feels like too little, too late, and once again the walk is abandoned before the goal is reached. This broken narrative about an unsuccessful adventure left me feeling mildly dissatisfied. Oh, and avoid the film adaptation, which is bloody awful.
  PeterCrump | Apr 14, 2017 |
Funny, witty, interesting, and educational. What more could you want? ( )
  jtsolakos | Mar 20, 2017 |
This is a very entertaining account of Bryson's experience hiking the Appalachian Trail with out-of-shape friend, Katz. He covers a lot of ground (pun intended) although it seems he made the trek broken up into segments. He includes information about how the trail is maintained, ecology, and history. He was funny without being silly, informative without droning on. Up to the usual Bryson high standards. ( )
  VivienneR | Feb 16, 2017 |
This was an all-around fun-book; The reader learns a bit about the Appalachian Trail and the 'sport' of hiking. Also, the author threw in enough colorful characterizations to keep it human and toughing in parts! I liked the book and would strongly recommend. ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Feb 9, 2017 |
I recently reread "A Walk in the Woods" and appreciated it more this time, I think because I'm closer to Bill Bryson's age when he wrote it and could relate better to his physical aches and pains on the trail. It's not possible to give you an idea of Bryson's sense of humor, except with an example. So here is one from when his friend, who thinks he's going to be shot says: "I could be dead in a minute,” he said grimly, then clutched my forearm. “Look, if I get shot, do me a favor. Call my brother and tell him there’s $10,000 buried in a coffee can under his front lawn.” “You buried $10,000 under your brother’s front lawn?” “No, of course not, but he’s a little prick and it would serve him right. Let’s go.”

If you think that is funny, you probably will enjoy the book. I remembered how funny the book was, but I had forgotten how much Bryson writes about the history and life of the Appalachian Trail. It made me appreciate the trail as an important part of the American landscape. ( )
  eowynfaramir | Jan 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 362 (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.
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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.
Quotations
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.

(summary from another edition)

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