Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson, the author of Notes from a Small Island, has written another travel-ish book. In A Walk in the Woods, he decides to walk the 2100 mile Appalachian trail with his friend Katz and witnesses the beautiful forests and lakes that make up this fragile wilderness. Of course, with his comedic talent, he manages to poke fun at the silliness of human beings, and at his own difficulties in the forest, and make it quite hilarious. He also writes good descriptions of the beautiful landscape as well as quotes statistics and numbers that complement the reading experience. Another thing that he does is tell about the history of the Appalachian Trail: when it was founded, and some times when it looked almost doomed. He details Katz, who is a fat, lazy guy, Mary Ellen, an annoying woman who briefly latches on to them, and the various people who they meet at rest stops, which are brief returns to civilization for them. I enjoyed this book more than Notes From a Small Island for two reasons. First, it was less repetitive, and I loved the cover of the bear peering right in front of the camera! It must be photoshopped, but still... Secondly, I'm more interested in nature and the forest than in England, so I was more interested in this book's subject. I always admire someone who can make fun of themselves too, and Bryson is a master at it. And, of course, the underlying question is: will he make it to the end of the Appalachian Trail? 274 pages, 4.6 stars.

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