Outdoor Adventure Book Recommendation: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.

A Walk in the Woods

Earlier this year, my wife and I attended a meeting at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.  During one of the discussions, the speaker asked how many attendees had read “Bill Bryson’s Appalachian Trail book.”  Nearly everyone in the crowd raised their hand… except us.  Neither one of us had heard of Bill Bryson or his book about the Appalachian Trail.  The speaker explained that sometime later in the year, the movie based upon the book would be released to theaters.

When we returned home, Misti found and ordered Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods:  Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail from Amazon.  Within two days, the book arrived on our doorstep.  Technology is uncanny!

Although far from my favorite outdoor adventure book, I highly recommend A Walk in the Woods.  For starters, it is fun!  Bryson’s writing is humorous and entertaining.  Even if you never intend to hike the Appalachian Trail (even if you don’t intend to hike from your house to the mailbox everyday), you will enjoy reading about Bryson’s adventures.  I literally laughed–out–loud several places in the book.

In addition to the entertainment value, Bryson interweaves American history and geography into A Walk…, providing readers a deeper insight into the people, places, and events that have shaped and are still shaping our nation.  Even without the humor, this aspect alone makes A Walk… worth reading.

Even though I enjoyed reading A Walk… and am recommending it to you, I do have one complaint.  I was a bit disappointed with an aspect of the story itself.  When I read a book about hiking the Appalachian Trail, I expect to read about someone who through–hiked the entire trail from Georgia to Maine.  Bryson didn’t through–hike the trail, nor did he hike the entire distance.

The movie, A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, opens in theaters today.  I have full intentions of paying for overpriced tickets and overpriced popcorn within the next two weeks to see it.  As soon as I do, I’ll let you know how the movie rates against the book and whether it is worth the time and money.

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9 thoughts on “Outdoor Adventure Book Recommendation: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.

  1. Good recommendation! I’d recommend almost anything Bryson has written – as you say, worth it for his wit alone. When I read “A Walk in the Woods” I too was left disappointed that it wasn’t really the whole hike. A minor complaint given the strength of the overall piece.
    I suspect the movie will be somewhat different to the book. I’m ok with that, simply because Redford and Nolte sparring as grumpy old men ought to be worth the (over) price of admission.

    • Thanks! This was the first of Bryson’s writing that I’ve read. I enjoyed it pretty well. Any others that you recommend?

      Like you, I suspect that the movie will be a bit different. Hollywood has to sensationalize! I’m pretty OK with it too. Should be good chemistry between Redford and Nolte. I’m anxious to find out!

      • One favourite I have, not really travel, is “The Mother Tongue”, a history of how language between the US and UK developed and changed – funnier than it sounds, I promise.
        “Down Under”, about his travels in Australia is good, as well as “Neither Here Nor There”(Europe) and “Notes From A Small Island” (UK).
        His memoir about growing up in Iowa, “The Adventures Of Rocket Boy” (I think that’s the title) is affectionate and amusing. I may have muddled some of the titles – like you, just moved house, so surrounded by boxes, and can’t lay my hands on anything…
        Bryson is a funny guy, takes the piss (which is why the British like him), but always with warmth.

      • Awesome! Thanks for the recommendations. As a language scholar, I suspect that “The Mother Tongue” would be pretty interesting to me.

        It’s always tough having everything in boxes, but it does tend to reinforce the concept that we all have far too much stuff.

      • Agreed. We downsized when moving out and I’m sure we’ll downsize more when we move in, but we’ll still have far too much stuff!

        Books get preferential treatment at our house as well. Boxes and boxes of books: “books, favorites,” “books, desk,” “books, misc.,” etc. etc.

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