Monday, July 26, 2010

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Have you ever heard of the Appalachian Trail? I hadn't. The AT and I don't have much in common. Unlike me, the AT lives on the east coast. And while I enjoy an occasional brisk walk, the AT is a career walker, at about 2200 miles and traversing 14 states. While the history and geography of the AT is interesting, that's not why I picked up A Walk in the Woods. I really had no idea the book was about the AT; I just heard it was funny.

Bill Bryson recounts his attempt at hiking the AT with his friend Stephen Katz. His stories on the trail are indeed funny, but few and far between. He intersperses these stories with a lot of history about how the trail was founded and how it is maintained. Based on a couple recommendations, I was expecting the book to be more comedy and less eduction, but it was really the other way around. I'm actually a bit embarrased to realize how little I knew about the geography of the region surrounding the AT.

I'm a bit of a book whore and will pretty much read anything. But my husband gave the book a go and didn't finish it. So the jury's still out on this one. I think the book has something to offer, but it's somewhat of a niche topic. If you need ideas of what does or does not work while hiking and camping, or you just want to learn more about one of the country's most historic trails, then this book's for you. And yeah, some parts are funny.

Reviewed by Cathy

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