I'm already a fan of Bill and read the book years ago, but this is how good it was - while doing a non-stop 100km charity walk, I saved this for the midnight to dawn section and it was so entertaining and engrossing that I pretty much forgot I was on a rutted track in the pitch dark and had been walking for 20 hours. All I remember of those hours are Bill's stories of preparing for and slogging up and down Appalachian mountains which not only made what I was doing seem really easy but I'm pretty sure made me the only person on the track who was laughing out loud. For that alone I have to give it 5 stars.
My ideal travel story - great details of the people, countries, landscapes and culture along the way, told in a light-hearted, upbeat, entertaining style. Not a story of soul searching or "finding himself" but not superficial either, packed full of one fascinating episode after another.
Sam gets fully immersed in Africa and the people around him, and his observations are totally open-minded and non-judgemental. Love that he narrates it himself, and he comes across as a totally likeable guy.
I loved his pragmatic "just deal with it" attitude - whether getting malaria, dealing with the many excruciating border crossings or having a serious bike crash.
Found out he's written several more travel books and my only disappointment is - why are they not on audible??
If you love stories about escaping to the wilderness and living a totally self-sufficient life with only the wildlife for company, you'll love this.
But what I loved most was Richards' unfailing cheerful, practical, philosophical attitude to everything that happened to him and everything he had to do. This is a guy who gets dropped off in the middle of nowhere and cheerfully sets about building a log cabin from scratch, making every piece of furniture; hunting, fishing and growing food, exploring the surrounding mountains - all of it with no help or company, except for the occasional supply drop and the local friendly wildlife.
There's no angst or hardship, no preachy-ness, just a genuine appreciation and love for his surroundings, and uncomplaining embracing of the fact that anything you want done, you've got to work out a way to do it yourself.
It's entertaining, moves at a steady pace, and the overall effect is totally uplifting and inspiring. Makes you want to go live in the mountains and build a log cabin yourself, even if you'd never thought about it before.
Hard to avoid the cliché - they don't make many like Richard anymore but you so wish they did.
Some potential great stories, but they're so brief you might as well be reading the blurb on the back cover - or that's how it seemed to me. Even Shackleton's incredible epic journey gets turned into a short and not very impressive story which I wouldn't have thought possible.
I love amazing sailing stories, but amazing story summaries are not the same thing.
It's a truly epic journey and gripping survival story. Mary's ability to survive her hellish ordeal was almost super-human and definitely inspiring, BUT...be warned - it's quite relentlessly grim and harrowing.
I kept waiting for the small triumphs to come, maybe catching a fish just once, or finding some moss or bark or leaves they could make something out of, but once they were on the trail there were very few light moments or any relief from the constant grimness.
And that was after the gruesome brutality of the Indian attack and captivity.
But if you can handle that - definitely recommended as an epic story of survival against all odds, and makes you very grateful for every small comfort - like food, warmth, clothes, river bridges...
The ending was really great, a long epilogue covering what happened to Mary and her family afterwards which was very satisfying to hear, and put it into context with the history of the time and place. You don't always get that and I really appreciated it.
I knew his life would be full of fascinating, entertaining, funny stories and I fully expected to enjoy it, but I had no idea he's such a fantastically entertaining writer.
If you're interested in him already - definitely get it, you'll love it even more than you expect.
Detail, honesty and humour by the bucketload. Particularly loved hearing about the process of how certain classic songs came to be written, and all the detail about different bands and people he played with over the years - all written in a totally entertaining way. Always fast moving and entertaining. Never angsty or plodding. Of course not, it's Rod.
And even if you're not particularly interested in him - get it anyway. It's a brilliant read, never a dull moment. Everything you'd expect, plus fantastic descriptions of life in London and L.A the 50's, 60's, 70's. Lot's of it is hilarious and he comes across as such a likeable person, with the exception of how he treated some women along the way, but even that's O.K since karma eventually got him for it.
Not only highly recommended - he should write more books!!
I love stories about epic journeys on foot, and the A.T is one of the most epic.
Really enjoyed Jeff's good natured, upbeat, steady-paced telling of his journey, could totally visualise being on the trail and it was engaging from beginning to end. Loved hearing about the landscape and terrain, the psychological ups and downs, the hiking strategies, the fellow through hikers, the shelters and the towns along the way, all very entertaining. For a non-professional writer, Jeff writes very well.
I'd already read Bill Bryson's Walk In The Woods, and if you want lots of reseach, history and hilariousness I highly recommend that - but it was great to hear this story knowing that Jeff had made it all the way to the end. In fact there was barely a moment when he doubted he would, which I imagine is pretty rare on the A.T.
As for tears and laughter - quite a few gentle laughs and just a few tears at the incredible acheivement of completion. If you like hearing about heroically long hikes over mountains and through forests, you should DEFINITELY get this.
Bought it because I like William Roberts and outdoors and kayaking are subjects I like reading about. But it was a big mistake.
Characters were dull and brutish, humour was dim and crude, not really anything original or engaging or redeeming about it and absolutely no incentive to keep listening after a quarter of the way through. Just a bunch of dim-witted thugs blundering around in Florida.
If you know and like the author go ahead; if you think - like me - it might be an entertaining story set in the everglades, with a bit of amateur crime solving and hide and seek in kayaks, give it a big wide miss.
If two thirds of it had been left on the editing floor it could have been a good story, but it was so long, so convoluted, so repetitive and ultimately so tedious it kept putting me to sleep. Eventually I forgot what the heck was going on and who was doing what, then forgot I was meant to be listening and eventually just fizzled out and gave up. Only the second book I've ever given up on.
Really quite hard to fathom why so many thousands of unnecessary words were written about so many mundane details and why the author had the will to do it.
If you specifically absolutely love this genre and the longer it is the more you like it, then give it a go. If not, don't even think about it.
I don't generally go for the standard Crime/Mystery books, often seems like you're reading the same story, just different names and places, but the desert, canyons and lake are centre-stage in this, the landscape and surroundings are a constant main character of the story so that gets 10 points from me for a start. I'll try almost anything with that kind of setting and this book delivers totally in that department.
Also a great, well paced adventure mystery with a feminist slant that gives it a bit more interest.
Very entertaining, easy listening - not a dull moment as the action moves from the park housing village, to the sink-hole prison, across the desert, down into to the cold water of the canyon, up the rock climbing faces and back, escaping death by thirst, hypothermia and cliff-falls at every turn.
If you like a fast moving adventure story set in the extreme outdoors, you'll love this.
Only the third Anna Pigeon I've read, but I plan to start working my way through the series.
And narration is good too.
I've listened to some of Tim's other books and enjoyed them but this is not his best work, more like a bunch of B sides that didn't make the first cut.
Some of the stories seemed a bit pointless; could only describe them as vaguely interesting and mildly amusing and quite glad when it finished.
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