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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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14,563431287 (4.01)591
Traces the author's adventurous trek along the Appalachian Trail past its natural pleasures, human eccentrics, and offbeat comforts.
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» See also 591 mentions

English (423)  German (3)  Dutch (3)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (432)
Showing 1-5 of 423 (next | show all)
I picked up this book as a means of research because I wanted to learn more about hiking the Appalachian Trail . I’ve been mulling over the same book idea for over a year, but just couldn’t seem to put it to paper. I’ve hiked parts of the AT, but only those found in the northeast. How could I possibly write about a 2100 mile trail that begins in Georgia and ends in Maine without seeming like a total fraud? Or worse, an inexperienced idiot? I set out to solve this problem the same way I always do – by reading.

I picked up this book by Bill Bryson before I knew that it was being made into a movie. It seemed like an ideal starting point to learn more about hiking the AT without losing myself in a dry, technical trail guide. My hope was that this firsthand account would provide me with with both information and color – and it did!

This book mixes Bryon’s account of hiking the trail with the history of the AT, the surrounding wilderness, and anything else Bryson thought would be useful (or fill pages). The end result is an awesome educational tool (for me) that is surprisingly funny! I enjoyed this book much more than I anticipated I would enjoy reading about two middleaged men walking in the woods. It was, in my opinion, a delightful surprise that held my attention and made me itching to lace up my hiking boots and hit the trail. Five stars. ( )
  ShannonHollinger | Feb 15, 2021 |
I was on a hiking trip with my nephew and two of his friends, when we got into a discussion of the best books we have ever read. One of the guys began talking about Bill Bryson and A Walk In The Woods. He talked about how it changed his life and about what an awesome read it was. Naturally I sought it out immediately after the hiking trip, and I was pleasantly surprised. For such deep topics (the meaning of life, aging, the beauty of nature) the book was very easy to read. What surprised me the most was the humor in the book. I had never read Bryson before and humor was spot on. He speaks from a place of innocence, in regard to hiking and the outdoors in general. For those who have never hiked or camped, do not shy away from this book as Bryson shares his own experience of taking those first steps (and missteps) into the woods. This should probably be on everyone's "must read before I die" list. :) ( )
  Randy_Foster | Feb 13, 2021 |
Entertaining and educational written in a style that keeps your attention. The authors humorous attempt to hike the Appalachian trail mingled with the history, biology, geography, geology of the trail and surrounding areas. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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  SteveKey | Jan 8, 2021 |
Leuk boek over een poging van de auteur om de Appalachian Trail te lopen met een oude vriend van hem. Ze zijn hier uiteraard veel te oud voor, maar proberen het toch, ondanks alle tegenslagen. Zoals gebruiken bij de boeken van Bill Bryson beschrijft hij ook wat natuur historie over de plaatsen/bergen/gebieden waar ze door heen lopen. ( )
  mslourens | Dec 27, 2020 |
This book is so funny! I did not expect that. Part 1 is funnier than part 2. I enjoyed Part 1 more.

Here are two men, hiking the Appalachian Trail, having some good times and some bad times and meeting interesting people along the way. The weather varies from one extreme to the other and it makes all of it an adventure. I ended up relaying some of these stories to my friends and family.

Bill Bryson also talks quite a bit about ecology and the environment. He throws in some history lessons. I did learn quite a bit. I believe I will check out more of Bryson's books.

( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 423 (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.
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.”
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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ISBNs 0552152153 and 0553455923 (or 9780553455922) refer to abridged versions. Please do not combine with 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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