Tuesday, December 18, 2007


A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson, Broadway Books, 1998, 274 pp

I read this book for a reading group and was totally surprised by it. Bryson tells the tale of his attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. His writing is brisk, clever and humorous and anyway I am a sucker for such quests.

The book is full of pertinent and interesting historical background on the trail, no-nonsense appraisals of ecological issues and the hilarious, uneasy relationship with his walking partner, so I was captivated most of the time. Of course, the idea of walking the trail from start to finish (called "through-walking") appealed to my compulsive A to Z nature. They did not achieve it but learned much in the attempt. The majority of the enterprise is just walking, up hill and down for hours and days and weeks. "Walking, that's what we do," he would say.

It is much like my Big Fat Reading Project: reading, page by page, book by book, year by year. Reading, that's what I do. I admire that approach to anything. I'm glad I read this book and if it weren't for reading groups, I never would have.

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