This one remained on my "To-Read" list for several years, but it sat there untouched until I recently started getting more interested in hiking. Sometimes going into a book knowing next-to-nothing is a good idea, whereas other times it can help to have a solid foundation of what to expect. I didn't know much about A Walk in the Woods before I cracked it open other than that it was about hiking the Appalachian Trail, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
In this book, author Bill Bryson weaves together a captivating tale with well-researched information about the Appalachian Trail's history and the surrounding sociology, plants, animals, and people. The story starts with an interest in hiking the trail that grows in him after moving to New England and follows Bryson on his voyage through the wilderness alongside his old friend "Stephen Katz". Their general naïveté concerning the art of hiking and frequently-clashing personalities make for some hilarious (and occasionally foolishly dangerous) situations.
The book is written in a style that cleverly mixes together gut-busting humor and Bryson's serious storytelling ability into an extremely satisfying concoction. I wholeheartedly recommend reading A Walk in the Woods if you have any interest in hiking, nature, or having a good laugh. It's no wonder that this book made The New York Times Best Sellers list and was named the funniest travel book ever written by CNN—Bryson's ability to be honest and vulnerable about the myriad of challenges that he and Katz faced on the trail make for a compelling and entertaining read.
4/5 stars. 305 pages.