J.L. Sutton's Reviews > A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
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it was ok

I wanted to like Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. Not sure what I was expecting from this—perhaps more about hiking on the actual AT and the reasons Bryson made this trek—but I was mostly disappointed. It read like a series of travel brochures: here’s the history of the region on this section of the trail, and now another…There was much more attention devoted to towns along the route than hiking the actual trail. It was also disappointing that Bryson noted the historical stereotypes of Appalachian people and casually confirmed their stupidity without any real interaction (not once but many times). The smugness of his remarks was irritating. I still would like to hike the AT, but Bryson did little to illuminate what it’s really like to hike the trail except to offer that it’s not what most people expect.
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Reading Progress

March 21, 2016 – Shelved
March 21, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
April 28, 2016 – Started Reading
May 1, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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message 1: by Tooter (new)

Tooter The movie was really awful. Even Robert Redford couldn't save that piece of work!


message 2: by Gergana (new)

Gergana Wow! So glad I gave up on this one after 5%. Sounds like a very annoying read.


J.L.   Sutton I hadn't seen the movie. Since I like to hike, this book had been recommended, but it definitely wasn't for me. Anybody have suggestions??


message 4: by Sonja (new)

Sonja Arlow My last read from this author, Neither Here nor There, also left me disappointed. I think I have outgrown his brand of humor


Danny McGee J.L. wrote: "I hadn't seen the movie. Since I like to hike, this book had been recommended, but it definitely wasn't for me. Anybody have suggestions??"

As an outdoors-man, who wrote my own book about wild bear encounters, I really did not like the book, maybe it was because I found it not only completely boring and irritating but I kept waiting for a bear to show up that never did, as the cover implies. I would like to suggest my book "Don't feed the Wild Bears! (Especially trout fisherman!) Some good nature photos are on my website www.dannymcgeebooks.weebly.com


Rogue I am trying to finish the audiobook, but so far I feel he hasn't described the trail much at all, and the friend-bashing is so distracting, along with fat girls, "hillbillies", and hey, why not, a moose, because they are dumb, too.


message 7: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Minchew The movie made me lol many times. I havent read the book but the movie was funny, and had beautiful scenes of the trail. This movie is inspiring me to hike our trail PCT and I plan to read the book.


J.L.   Sutton Haven't watched the movie. However, anything that inspires hikes in the mountains is a great thing!


message 9: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Webster Hi JL, I read your review and although my opinion differed greatly from yours on this particular book, I noticed that you were looking for content about the hike itself. Based upon your statements, I wanted to make a recommendation about a book that really talks to all of the points you made, as to why you were disappointed in this particular book and what you wanted to see from a book about through hiking the AT. You might want to try reading "Becoming Odyssa" by Jennifer Pharr Davis. She's a through hiker that has written a couple of books about her experiences on the trail. There was a lot of useful content in there. She has through hiked the AT in 49 days on one of her subsequent hikes to writing Becoming Odyssa and she earned the Nat Geo adventurer of the year award a few years back. Interesting woman. I thought that perhaps you might want to check it out.


message 10: by Danny (new) - rated it 1 star

Danny McGee Thanks for the tip Margaret, I am always looking for new books to read about someone's "true life" experences and I will definitely check it out. Not long ago I finished "Son of old man hat" a true story of an Indian from way back when, a good read if you like tales of the old west from an Indian point of view.


message 11: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Webster Hi Danny, I will check it out. Thanks for the tip. :)


JamieS There is a distance hikers mindset that Bryson clearly does not have. Seems he basically did it as a lark to write the book. It was OK, but a weak BB effort. Katz totally ruined it for me. What a loser - I found it highly unlikely BB would have normally agreed to seriously tackle the trail with Katz, other than to add the 'disgusting ' element.


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