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

by Bill Bryson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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14,692436286 (4.01)597
Traces the author's adventurous trek along the Appalachian Trail past its natural pleasures, human eccentrics, and offbeat comforts.

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English (425)  German (3)  Dutch (3)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (434)
Showing 1-5 of 425 (next | show all)
Bill Bryson is probably the best travel writer living today. His books are creating an atmosphere of joy and wanderlust! A Walk in the Woods is a perfect and funny example for that. ( )
  plitzdom | May 12, 2021 |
I think he hates women. I get that it's supposed to be funny but all the women were either his wife, dead, stupid or fat. I just didn't care for how he talked about women in general.

The book itself was alright. Interesting in some parts, boring in a lot of others. ( )
  Stacie-C | May 8, 2021 |
I fell in love with hiking years ago and when I learned about the legendary Appalachian Trail I was awed and wondered how people could manage to walk the entire trail. I have hiked parts of it in NJ and NY. It is one of those moments that drift up during little moments of reverie; how wonderful it would be to leave behind the boisterous cacophony of civilization and wander through the coniferous woodlands. One day maybe.

Bryson paints vividly the sights and sounds of the trails -- the tweeting birds, flowing rivers and the music the swaying trees make when a soft breeze flows through the forest. There were plenty of humorous moments as well as Bryson speaks of his misadventures with his friend and hiking buddy Stephen Katz.

The book was a joy and it has made me eager to hit the trails once again, with autumn and its colors slowly making their way to the east coast. ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
I found this book to be a mixed bag. It was part humorous commentary on himself and his friend, and hiking partner, Katz and it was part a lesson on the AT and its flora and fauna. So to really enjoy this book you must like both kinds of writing, or at least be open to it.
Personally, I liked both. I always enjoy learning something when I read. Therefore, I found the “teaching” parts of the book interesting and informative. They were not overly long and were interspersed throughout the entire book so that the story never became bogged done with it.
The actual tale of his trek through the woods with Katz was humorous. But it was also introspective at times. He does not shy away from his own failings in this adventure. He notes that very early in the first day of hiking he realizes just how immensely unprepared he is. Yet he and Katz struggle on.
In the end, Bryson and Katz ended up not being through hikers as planned, but section hikers. It seems Bryson could not stand the Great Smokies section. He and Katz mutually decided to skip over most of the NC section of the AT and rejoined the trail in Virginia.
Even though they only hiked around 800 miles, less than half the total distance of the trail, Bryson had many stories to tell. His musings on the possibility of being mauled by a bear and the encounter with Mary Ellen, a lone hiker in the first days of the trek, were among my favorites. Katz tossing food and other equipment (twice) in an effort to lighten the load was another favorite.
While I wished he had hiked the entire trail, if for no other reason as to have more fodder for stories, he portrayed it honesty and with mirth. A very enjoyable read indeed. I highly recommend it to everyone. ( )
  purpledog | Mar 10, 2021 |
I've read enough...

waste of time.
  wickenden | Mar 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 425 (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 (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bryson, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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.”
The book to which I refer is Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance by a Canadian academic named Stephen Herrero. If this is not the last word on the subject, the I really, really, really do not wish to hear the last word. [Chapter 2]
Black bears rarely attack. But here's the thing. Sometimes they do. All bears are agile, cunning, and immensely strong, and they are always hungry. If they want to kill you and eat you, they can, and pretty much whenever they want. That doesn't happen often, but -- and here is the absolutely salient point -- once would be enough. [Chapter 2]
I wanted very much to be calmed by these assurances but could never quite manage the necessary leap of faith. After noting that just 500 people were attacked and hurt by black bears between 1960 and 1980 -- twenty-five attacks from a resident population of at least half a million bears -- Herrero adds that most of these injuries were not severe. "The typical black bear-inflicted injury," he writes blandly, "is minor and usually involves only a few scratches or light bites." Pardon me, but what exactly is a light bite? Are we talking a playful wrestle and gummy nips? I think not. And is 500 certified attacks really such a modest number, considering how few people go into the North American woods? And how foolish must one be to be reassured by the information that no bear has killed a human being in Vermont or New Hampshire in 200 years? That's not because the bears have signed a treaty, you know. There's nothing to say they won't start a modest rampage tomorrow. [Chapter 2]
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Disambiguation notice
ISBNs 0552152153 (or 978055152150) and 0553455923 (or 9780553455922) refer to abridged versions. Please do not combine those with this, the record for unabridged works.
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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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