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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Review: A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson


I think that right now, this happens to be my favorite of all of the books that I've read so far in 2008. Granted, I don't read the volume of books that I have at other times in my life, but I've been working my way through books at a decent pace this year.

In the book, Bill Bryson gives an account of his travels up the Appalachian Trail. I compare this a lot to the Sex Lives of Cannibals, mostly because it's true, humorous, and still gives an account of the things that we have done to destroy nature, even in our attempts not to. So, it's funny and interesting, yet also sad in a way.

This book gave me a true idea of how American forests have changed over the years, and I've realized how sad it is to have missed out on what they once were. There are certain species of animals and plants that I will never see in my lifetime, and I doubt that I have a clear idea of what a forest in the Eastern US could be - since none are like they were 100 years ago.

What this book did not do, thankfully, is make me want to hike the Appalachian Trail. It sounds interesting, and I'm amazed at the folks that actually do it, but it's not for me. I have enough lofty goals and hobbies for now. The good news is that Bill Bryson is a pretty average guy, so his narrative of his experience sounds like what almost anyone's experiences would be if they were attempt this. His walking companion, Katz, is a true pain in the ass, but also fairly lovable. I certainly got a good idea of what hiking the AT is like, and maybe I'll spend a day doing it sometime... and then I'll go sleep in a mountain lodge or motel...

Definitely a good read, give it a look! My sister, Shelly, suggested it and let me borrow her copy, and next up will be one of Bryson's other books, given to me by Wife of Wacky Neighbor.

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