Why is this book considered a comedy? There are a few mildly amusing moments, but it's not a particularly funny or endearing book in my view. Also, Mr. Bryson - please don't narrate again. The whining of your prose is only magnified by the nasality of your voice.
For funny stuff about the outdoors, try Pat McManus. For whining and pedantry, by all means: Bryson's your man.
No offense to the other people that left reviews, but I didn't find this humorous in the least. Mostly it was boring. I listened to about half of it before I lost interest. Unless you're actually planning on hiking the Appalachian trail, you'd be better served listening to something more interesting.
Like David from Raleigh said below, his humor is used at the expense of everyone he meets on the trail. I suppose that when compared to "the great" Bill Bryson himself, they are all fault-ridden and shallow. It feels like a book hell-bent on the self-importance of the author.
I have looked at "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson for a few years now, and despite my love for the outdoors, have been slow getting to finally read it.
I cannot say what my reservations were, other than that I generally choose not to read the work of celebrated Atheists, of which Bill Bryson is among those counted. Why? Because I have found that, being a Christian myself, 'Atheist authors' tend to disparage my point of view in favor of their own. Yes, this is their right, just as it is my right not to choose to read their work. thank you.
As I started listening to A Walk in the Woods, something dawned on me like the lifting of a thick fog over a soupy valley. The more I listened, the clearer the writing appeared to me... in the way words becomes clear from a book you had read long ago, but had forgotten that you read, then accidentally read it again "thinking" that you had not read it in the first place! That is exactly how it felt, because it dawned on me that I had already read this book! when? how? why? I asked myself, but at any rate, the day was uneventful, so I listened to it again.
I have done a lot of camping and hiking in the past similar to what Bryson did, so I found the reminiscences interesting, but mostly because it reminded me of when I went hiking.
It was hard to say now why this book was so popular. ? It was a lot of story about hiking the trail, but almost as much was a history of the trail itself, which was interesting, but somewhat removed from the light feel of the camping. The science discourses where expectantly offensive to my Christian outlook, but I am sure Bill Bryson would find my POV equally offensive (as he undeniably and emphatically states in a chapter dedicated to smearing Christians). Other than that brief rant, and a prevalent secularist viewpoint however, it was rather mild in that regard. And, in the spirit fairness, Bryson was equally cantankerous towards the US Park System and Government regulations.
All in all, this might a good book for one listen, but the second listen made me think it was just alright. 3 sold stars.
The interaction between Bryson and Katz reminds me of Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat.
The times the two hikers screw up or can't walk as far as they had planned.
Inflection. When he reads what he actually said you get a real feeling of how it sounded.
I have almost all of Bryson's books and enjoy them very much.
This book is well written and enjoyable. I happen to dislike the fact that he presents the walk as a true story but in fact, he made up many parts. This makes me not trust the author and question everything in the book. For example, you can't find beautiful orb spider webs in the early spring and a bear doesn't drink from a stream for a half hour. There were at least a dozen such nature faking moments in the book, so if that bothers you, avoid this author. It bothered me so much that I refuse to read any more books by Bryson, but I am probably more sensitive to this than most people.
I persevered and finished this book hoping any minute it would become the humorous treat others had written off but that point never came for me. I think I have a pretty good sense of humour but the books continual reference to the trails history, its neglect by so many individuals and government departments, and the diseases that affect it could not raise a smile here. I really was disappointed having read the earlier reviews.
Bryson as always paints a picture in your mind that is complete down to the shape of the bootprints left on the trail. I felt as if I was hiking along with them. It was a great companion on my every day long drives.