31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 14} A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson. Day 14 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderA Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian TrailA Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson. Day 14 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Bill Bryson

For someone with no affection for camping out (I like my comfy mattress and the convenience of indoor plumbing too much to appreciate roughing it), I love reading about bike treks (It’s Not about the Tapas), and other outdoor adventures quite a bit. Apparently vicarious adventure is my favorite sort of adventure.

Bill Bryson gives me lots of laughs along with the adventure. He also throws in some history and science lessons as well.

Now, a spoiler so if you’ll be bothered by that stop reading. But if you’re like my husband you’ll want to know this in advance or else you’ll be more bothered by finding it out after investing a lot of time reading (well, listening to the audio version). Bryson doesn’t actually finish hiking the whole trail. He hikes portions of it, and he skips other parts of it. If you don’t want to read a book about hiking the trail by someone who doesn’t hike 100% of it, skip this one. The fact that he doesn’t hike every step of it doesn’t bother me.

Disclaimer: If you read my disclaimer yesterday about potential profanity? Yeah, this one too. I kinda think there is a little bit, but I don’t really remember. It certainly wasn’t enough to stand out to me, but as I said yesterday, I have fairly high tolerance level for that sort of thing as I’m reading.

Publisher’s Description:
The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).

31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads

If you like Bryson, I also really liked his In a Sunburned CountryIn a Sunburned Country, about travels in Australia. He’s got a lot of other books, but these two are the only ones I’ve read and liked (although there are still plenty of his books that I haven’t tried).

On Day 1 of this series (A Girl Named Zippy) Jessica at Quirky Bookworm mentioned his memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A MemoirThe Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir, and I do want to give that one a try.

If you like the hiking-the-Appalachian-Trail aspect of the book, the only other book of that type that I’ve read was Jean Deed’s There Are Mountains to Climb: An Inspirational JourneyThere Are Mountains to Climb: An Inspirational Journey by Jean Deeds. I really enjoyed it, but it can be tough to find. She’s actually from the Indianapolis area, so most libraries around here carry it, but if you’re not local I’m not sure how much luck you’ll have at finding it in a library.

To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads, go to the series page.

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  1. Ergh, this one looks good too! Sheila, you’re killing me with all these recommendations… and “31 Days” isn’t even halfway done! I was an avid hiker before Wegener’s hit in 2007, and I *love* reading hiking stories. Guess this one’s on the list too! 🙂

  2. I’ve read one other book by Bill Bryson and I really enjoyed it so I’ll definitely give this one a try!

  3. Your profanity disclaimers make me laugh. I’m the same way. I just do not notice it when I’m reading it. I do very much notice it in speech, though, which is funny. Like, I loved Jenny Lawson’s memoir (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened) and enjoy her blog and all of her profanity doesn’t faze me for even a second, but I am not sure I could stand having an actual conversation with her if she really talks like that. Weird.

    Also, I think following your blogs has convinced me of the necessity of starting a GoodReads account…I can’t keep track and I can’t read fast enough to get them back to the library on time. 😉

    • Oh, now see with Lawson’s memoir there was enough of it that I remember it. Same for Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. If, as I’m reading the book, I’m cringing thinking of all the people I can’t recommend it to I’ll remember it.

      It’s just those that may have it at a much lower level that it doesn’t phase me and I read right over it. And yeah, I’d probably notice it more in person, but reading? Don’t care.

      GoodReads is awesome, and I have a post coming up after this series is over about it because I love it so much. No disclaimer, they don’t know me and I get nothing for gushing over them. Simply love their site.

  4. Found you today, via Catherine, and am loving your blog. I think you would probably really enjoy Bryson’s “I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away.” I love his humor and have read many of his books, but this is perhaps my favorite.

    • Thanks Wendy – I’ve got that one down on my list to try again. Several years ago I started it via audio book and gave up on it before finishing the first disc. I wasn’t sure if it was just not a good audio choice for me, or if the timing in general wasn’t right for me to like it, but I wanted to give it another chance. Your comment reminds me that I need to give it that second chance.


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