Book Review: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Author: Bill Bryson
Title: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Narrator: Rob McQuay
Other Books Read by the Same Author:

Publication Info: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, 1997

My fondness for Bill Bryson’s travel writing was shaken by revisiting The Lost Continent and discovering that it wasn’t anywhere as good as I recalled. So I’m happy to say that my favorite Bryson book, A Walk in the Woods, is still very, very good.  Granted Bryson’s misanthropic crankiness is still off-putting and there’s way too many fat jokes.  But Bryson’s memoir of hiking the Appalachian Trail is enriched by his research into the trail’s history, nature, and various anecdotes of hikers’ experiences.  His narrative is also improved by Bryson sharing the experience with his old friend Stephen Katz, who is endearing as much as he is the total opposite of the type of person you’d expect to hike the AT.

Recommended books:

Rating: ****

6 thoughts on “Book Review: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

    1. Maybe “jokes” isn’t even the right word. But whenever Bryson is describing someone who irritates him he makes a dig about their weight. It’s gross, and I feel bad for not being conscious of it when I first read this book ~25 years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like some kind of unresolved issue he may have not even realized the roots of. Regardless, no-way, no-how would I read this author because of it. I’m sorry you didn’t reach this insight before reading all of those books by him. Fat-shaming is an ugly practice that seems to get a pass where other types of shaming (race, gender, orientation, cognitive capacity, class, etc.) get a pass. I was on a bike ride with some nice, fit women a month or so ago when one of them referred to a 200# woman she knew as a “gorilla.” I found that highly offensive!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I skipped the movie after hearing many bad reviews. For one thing, Robert Redford and Nick Nolte are both too old and too Hollywood handsome for these parts.


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