Last summer I was looking for books to read and stumbled across a fantastic author named Bill Bryson and his book A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. Now, first let me say that I love all types of literature so I’ll practically read anything. But, as a person who spends a great amount of time outdoors, I love picking up a book that has to deal with hiking, horseback riding, skiing, or anything nature related. Simply put, this is a hilarious book about two (rather unprepared and inexperienced) hikers that decide to walk the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.
Throughout the book, Bryson and his old college pal Stephen Katz meet a variety of characters on the Appalachian Trail, and – more often than not, they find themselves in many interesting and hilarious situations. Not only have I read this book, but I’ve also listened to it on tape and have literally found myself laughing out loud as Bryson masterfully weaves the comic, adventurous tale.
Don’t expect A Walk in the Woods to be a guidebook about how to hike the Appalachian Trail, because the book certainly isn’t that. Bryson does, however, let the reader in on the fascinating history that surrounds the trail and if you read between the lines (or laughs) you’ll find that Bryson makes a plea for the conservation of the Appalachian Trail.
As an outdoor lover, I honestly enjoyed this book. It’s a light, simple read that I would recommend to anyone with a sense of humor and love for America’s great outdoors. Oh, I should warn you that sometimes it’s crudely hilarious. In case you don’t believe me here’s a passage regarding bears in camp:
Up to that moment it had not occurred to me that bears might prowl in parties. What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die, of course. Literally shit myself lifeless. I would blow my sphincter out my backside like one of those unrolling paper streamers you get at children’s parties — I daresay it would even give a merry toot — and bleed to a messy death in my sleeping bag.”- Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods
See. Don’t you want to read the whole book now?
If you find A Walk in the Woods to your liking, I’d also suggest some of Bryson’s other works such as In a Sunburned Country which details life in Australia (also very funny) or I’m a Stranger Here Myself, which is a collection of slapstick humor columns about Bryson’s re-entry to America.