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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail Mass Market Paperback – December 26, 2006
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“Bryson is a very funny writer who could wring humor from a clammy sleeping bag.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Short of doing it yourself, the best way of escaping into nature is to read a book like A Walk in the Woods.”–The New York Times
“A terribly misguided, and terribly funny tale of adventure.... The yarn is choke-on-your-coffee funny.” –The Washington Post
“Bill Bryson could write an essay about dryer lint or fever reducers and still make us laugh out loud.” –Chicago Sun-Times
“Delightful.” –The Plain Dealer
“It’s great adventure, on a human scale, with survivable discomforts, and, happily, everybody goes home afterwards.” –Times Picayune
From the Inside Flap
God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath--The Appalachian Trail.
The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.
With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey.
An instant classic, riotously funny, "A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans.
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Bryson is merciless in his observations of British towns and the British in general, but it's all in the spirit of that endearingly cynical, self-deprecating, quintessential British humour. (see what I did there?!) His way of writing puts you at ease and it's like a cross between travel guide, government & history lesson and stand up comedy, as Bryson loves to go off on barely relevant and hilarious tangents. You never get the sense that he is trying too hard or being pretentious, either. A bonus is the glossary he provides in the back of the book for British words like "dual carriageway" and "naff."
The fact that it was recommended to me by English and Welsh friends is testament to the authenticity of Bryson's observations and his comedic genius. Seriously recommend this read if you're an Anglophile or just enjoy a good, fun read.
Bill Bryson faces many challenges in the story, such as dealing with annoying people, being forced to stay in shelters that are in bad condition, and his struggles to push himself to finish the vigorous trek. Bill Bryson balances the hardships of this endeavour with comedy in almost every page of the story which makes the book funny to read and strengthens his point of view of the conflicts he encounters. An example of Bryson’s quick wit is shown when he talks about how hikers complain too often about wild animals, “Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature. Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old.” As a Maine resident, I can respect Bryson’s humorous interpretation of a moose, yet most people know there are definitely times this animal should be completely avoided! Bill Bryson’s interpretation of the AT provides valuable information, while his comedic writing style captures your interest, which in turn, makes you laugh.
This book has inspired me to do further research on the AT and motivated me to want to hike it when I am older. Bill Bryson illustrates the problems one may face and in doing so has helped me to understand how I can better prepare for a hike of this magnitude. I would recommend this book to anyone, whether you live in the city and have never hiked before, or to those of us whose passion is conquering peaks in the wilderness.