©1998 Bill Bryson; (P)1998 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
I enjoyed the humourous way this writer reviewed his experiences hiking the Appalachian Trail. Being a wannabe hiker, I was able to enjoy his trials and tribulations through his entire journey, from the start of buying his equipment to the end when it was all over. The book began to drag when Bryson put in all kinds of environmental facts. These facts were interesting at first, but then I found it a bit "preachy". It seemed to go downhill about half way through. Not a bad listen, kind of different from the usual books I listen to.
I never listened to any of Mr Bryson's bookd before. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It provided a wonderful escape, through imagery, humor and vivid descriptions. I highly encourage anyone to get this book for a fun, light and relaxing escape from life's daily grind.
This is my favorite work by Bill Bryson, not because it is the best written or because it is the most interesting story, but because it feels the most personal out of all his works. Where as in other books, he is a witty and cool oberver of the places he sets out to explore (albeit with very keen insights and appreciation for history, local folklore and compelling statistics), in A Walk in the Woods, he is neck deep in it all: the sufferings in harsh conditions, the hopelessness and bleakness he faces at times, the mesmerizing beauty of the Appalachians and heartfelt appreciation for the little things that one can only gain after being through the rough. It is deeply personal. Remember in the movie, "Castaway" how devastated Tom Hanks was when he lost Wilson? There's a similar moment in A Walk in the Woods, and you've never seen Bill Bryson so vulnerable and so personal. Also, Stephen Catz, Bryson's bumbling companion during this trip, is the most humorous partner Bryson had in any of his adventures in all of his travel narratives; yet even in this, there's a deep sense of companionship that I've never seen in Bryson's other works.
Yes, as a reviewer noted, one of the drawbacks of this whole adventure is that Bill Bryson lacks a strong sense of purpose on why he has embarked on this endeavor and this results in a frustrating stretch of half-hearted day hikes that, for me, was the most unsatisfying part of the whole adventure. Other than this, however, I highly recommend this unique listening experience for fans of Bill Bryson.
After having already 50 books from audible.com, this book still stand out as my best read to date. Bryson not only make you laugh out loud about his Appalachian backpacking experiences, he also includes a quite a bit of political history and environmental insight. Bryson's reading of his own work rivals that of a stand-up comedian and makes this book especially enjoyable in audio format.
Likes intelligent mysteries, spy thrillers, world history, most anything Roman. Hates bad writing.
Bill Bryson fans, please don't hate me. I'm actually one of yours. However, I grew as weary of this book as Bill must have felt slogging across the Appalachian Trail. The story starts out strong, as Bill prepares for the adventure by a hilarious visit to his local sporting goods store. It builds nicely in momentum as he and his less than stalwart companion travel to the hinterlands of Georgia and embark on the Trail. They immediately encounter the eccentrics that populate Bryson's books, and Bill makes the most of his raw material. But all too soon the narrative deteriorates into the usual "man against mountain" (or ocean, jungle, outer space, or whatever) story, with the usual overwhelming circumstances, narrow escapes from the jaws of death, etc. Some people like reading about this kind of thing. I do not. As the book loses its strength (along with the hikers' resolve), and similar scenes seem to reoccur (bad weather, impossible terrain, psychological weariness), Bill interrupts his trip to take a break. He should have realized there and then there wasn't a complete book to be had from the experience. It's always a pleasure to hear Bill Bryson read his books. I imagine he's the kind of guy you'd like to hang out with for a beer or two (or three), soaking up his quirky sense of humor and basking in his overall bonhommie. But not this book, for this reader/listener, at least not after the first few chapters.
This is actually my 2nd listen of A Walk In the Woods. I read the book the first time but it had been awhile decided to give it another listen. Funny as I remember. Lots of factual information about the AT and it's history.
Several friends raved about the book, so I was really looking forward to listening to it. I'm not sure whether something was lost in the abridgment, or the choppy editing, but I was somewhat disappointed in the listen. The author's narration of his book is ok, but I agree with other reviewers that his whiny brit affectation grows weary. If you've got a monthly subscription to burn, and you're looking for a short change of pace from fiction, history and/or news, this book is a pleasant diversion.
Take away the fact I am an avid camper and desire to walk the trail, and it still is a delightfully ejoyable adventure from start to finish! The author holds your attention with witty, thought provoking descriptions of his adventure. In addition it is packed with knowledge and facts. His adventure is also full of first rate and real life humour. Finally the author has a pleasant voice, which always makes an audio book more enjoyable.
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