Friday 7 September 2012

A Walk In The Woods - Bill Bryson

Bryson lives near the Appalachain Trail and one day decides it's about time he explored it. He decides to start at from the South and work his way north with his old friend Stephen Katz in tow. The Trail is approximately 2,184 miles and passes through 14 States. Bryson gets himself and his friend kitted out and reads every book he can get his hands on. This in now way prepares him from the humongous task ahead. The hike alone is hard going but he also has to put up with irritating hikers, snow blizzards and of course his friend who is in no way fit for the challenge. Then of course there is his fear of bears.

This is second book by Bryson and my first travel book. I've been wanting to try his travel books for a long time so the travel category in this challenge was ideal. I don't know why I picked this one up though other than the fact that I think it was the title that was most familiar since quite a few of my friends have read it. I have to say though that I was vaguely disappointed. I was expecting big laughs. There were some but not really from Bryson. For the most part his friend Katz provided the entertainment. I quite liked his one liners and there were times when I felt that Bryson was just a little too hard on his friend.

The book came across as a little preachy at times. There were large portions of the book dedicated to how we are destroying the world. Or how the AT is being destroyed or misused. Having said that I did learn a lot. Especially about the trail. My knowledge of it didn't go much further than the fact that I knew it was there. I even learned a lot about my own country and all the plants that I had previously thought were indigenous to it.

For the most part I enjoyed it. It was written in a way that made it very easy to read and I found that I managed it quite quickly. It wasn't as good as his autobiography but it was still good. I think I would have liked it more if it had been a little less preachy and a little more about his experiences on the trail itself. It hasn't put me off though and I will read more of his books. Usually I start with the first of an authors books and I think I will go back and do that.

As I mentioned I read this for the Mixing It Up Challenge hosted by Ellie of Musings of a Bookshop Girl. I am getting there with this challenge. Slightly ahead since I read this book and another in August. I couldn't wait though. If you want to see how I am getting on you can do so here.


  1. I do generally like his observational writing but I have only read one of his travel books, Notes from a Small Island, which was a little outdated but enjoyable.

    1. I liked his observations in his autobiography. I think his attitude to his friend along with the slight preaching just irritated me a little. It was still good though and worth a read. I'm still looking forward to trying some of his other books.