Sunday, April 06, 2008

Books in 2008, #12

#12. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Feeling the urge to get better in touch with nature, Bill Bryson, after spending some twenty plus years in Great Britain, decides to walk what many see as not walkable: the Appalachian Trail. It is a stretch of path that goes on for 2,100 miles, from Maine to Georgia, and is brimming with trees, bears, and history. Joining him on the trek is his pal Katz, a man who at first seems incapable of walking the length of a shopping mall. The two of them quickly discover that the AT is not what they were expecting. It has its ups and downs, its quirks and faults, and its Mary Ellens.

While some of the minute details of A Walk in the Woods had my eyes glazing over, the wit and charm of Bryson and his observations were more than enough to keep me turning the pages. Now, he most certainly does not walk from Maine to Georgia, but he is more than successful in getting himself back to man's roots. And small victories, in the grand scheme of Mother Nature, are much more acceptable.

Parts of the narrative hit home, especially since I have some strangely fond memories of a walk I once took with my parents, father at the ship's wheel, where Sunfish Pond was "only a little further" away. It's easy to see how Bryson and Katz grew quiet or agitated on the AT, how in all that beauty a little madness can still grow.

So yeah, a fun read, though sometimes thick on the details. Especially enjoyable for fans of the outdoors. A final warning: the cover is misleading.


Jules said...

Where are my candy bars?!!!

Paul Abbamondi said...

Are you referencing the part where Bryson did not bring along Katz's uber stash of candy bars?

If so, that was funny. If not, I have no idea what you are talking about.

TK42ONE said...

Funny. I always assumed the story was about a trip to Alaska. Maybe I'm confusing it with the book about the guy that gets eaten by the bear (you know, the one they just made into a movie).

Oh well.

Paul Abbamondi said...

Ha, nope! You're thinking of Grizzly Man, which was fascinating and upsetting. But Bryson does not get eaten by a bear in this book. Or, uh, in any other I assume.

D said...

Yes, yes, too many details. But such fun for those naive, idealistic hiking fools. He is quite humorous.

Paul Abbamondi said...

Yup, very funny man. Do you have any of his other books?