Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
Ben Montgomery has given us a glimpse into Grandma Gatewoods (age 67) walks... yes plural... she did the Appalachian Trail three times and many, many others. She was the first ultra-light camper... carrying only a homemade stuff sack, wool blanket, shower curtain and Vienna Sausages. Ben takes his information from her brief journal notes, newspaper articles, family records and interviews. The third person narrative and the writers obvious desire not to write fiction, limits the beauty of the story... and I didn't like the book at first. I listened at 1.25 (not my normal) because it does drag along. However, the magnitude of what she accomplished outweighed any failures in the rendition of it and I'm glad I continued to listen.
This is less entertaining than Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" but she does complete the hike, which Bryson didn't... leaving me ticked at him still. You learn less about trail hiking than you would with Cheryl Strayed's book "Wild." However, anyone serious about hiking, changing lifestyles to be more active or biting off a big goals will appreciate her grit. I googled her after finishing the book and enjoyed the collection of photo's about her hike. She might not of saved the Appalachian Trail single handed, but she certainly motivated a generation of hikers who realized if "Grandma Gatewood" can do it, I can too.
This was offered as a bonus buy book for me... so glad I gave it a try. In 1998 at age 50 Richard Proenneke retired to the solitude of Twin Lakes in Alaska. This book follows his first 18 months living there alone... as he builds his $40 cabin. His work ethic, creativity and true love of nature is revealed in the journal entries. I love his voice, descriptions and point of view. There is no plot... just daily accomplishments, interactions with the animals and joy in a handful of blueberries or pot of beans. So if you are looking for an amazing Alaskan adventure book this isn't it... if you truly love nature and are content to let the rabbits eat the pea plants in your garden because they were here first. You will love it!. He lived in the cabin for 30 years and it is now a Park Service historic monument... his nature films have been combined to make two PBS specials. I loved the pictures of his cabin I found on the internet. My only complaint was - it's way too short, I wanted more and first introduction chapter is kinda boring... his voice and journal starts in chapter 2.