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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bill Bryson is Probably Happier in Great Britain

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian TrailA Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bryson is funny at times but I don't like his descriptions of people he meets, particularly those of the South. I see no reason why a man who lived in Hanover--where everything is priced for the elite--should have chosen to describe a waitress in Gatlinburg, Ga as Betty Slutz because he found his bill for a hamburg and drink to be outrageous and she looked it over and said welcome to Gatlinburg! Tourist traps are tourist traps and Ivy League towns are Ivy League towns--guess he didn't mind paying more for the same meal in Mollie's Balloon--but here I'm being funny at his expense and that I'm sure wasn't the source of his humor.

His better than anyone else on the AT attitude aside the tales of the trail are interesting. I still don't know why anyone wants to walk an outrageous distance over impossible terrain in horrendous weather but his description of the functioning of a tree and how vulnerable it is to disease, of meeting a moose at a common watering hole;of arrogant bourbon drinking hikers taking over a lean-to;of black flies and other insect attackers; of great heights and panoramic vistas or not; of the absolute isolation of deep forest are all good reasons for reading the book. I've experienced the same things in the woods of the Eastern seaboard and on its mountains and never set foot on the AT. It is nicer when you don't decide to kill yourself but rather do these things in day long or overnight doses and for me just as satisfying. I must say that I'm glad I did NOT read this book before my daughter and a friend hiked from Gunnerson, Co to Bozeman, Mt last year. I had a few sleepless nights but would not have slept at all had I read this before she departed.

All in all I'm glad I read this but am not inclined to read anymore of his books.

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