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Summary

The Appalachian Trail covers 14 states, and over 2,000 miles. It stretches along the East Coast of the United States, from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. It is famous for being the longest continuous footpath in the world. (Compare this with the Pennine Way, which is a mere 250 miles long.) It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas - 'redneck' country - Moonshine, Lil’ Abner, 'There’s bears in them thar hills.' Remember the film Deliverance?

God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake this gruelling hike. Perhaps it was just a long-held ambition to lose weight: he has lost two stone so far. As he recently wrote from the trail to his publisher: ‘Speaking of vigorous exercise, boy have I just had some. Maine was a bitch. I want you to come back and walk it with me so that when you die if you go to hell you will be able to say: “Call this hell? Try walking across Maine in August.'"

Reared in the tradition of Mark Twain, James Thurber, and S.J. Perelman, Bryson used his many years in Britain to soak up a peculiarly English sense of irony and humour and to hone a laugh-out-loud style that is uniquely, hilariously, his own.

©2004 Bill Bryson (P)2004 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about A Walk in the Woods

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Author Narration

I disagree with the previous reviewer who didn't approve of Bill Bryson's narration. I find that I prefer it when Bill narrates his books, especially A Walk in the Woods as he is more able than any to get across the real feelings he experienced on his adventure. For a travel book like this one that has to count for something.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very funny & more interesting than it should be

It strikes me that a true account of every footstep on the Appalachian trail would be extremely tedious. It's a good job, then, that Bryson's includes his signature dry humour, a great deal of the usual fascinating and bizarre historical anecdotes and comic relief in the shape of Katz, his walking companion.
I chose this over the unabridged version as I much prefer Bryson's own narration to William Roberts excitable and overstated delivery. Besides, it's not much different in length!

6 people found this helpful

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Entertaining

Bill Bryson, has the great knack of writing in a manner that makes you feel as if he is telling the story just for you. His narrative flows smoothly from page to page and he is as comfortable laughing at his own foibles, as he is at pointing out those of others. If you have read Bryson before then you will enjoy this book. If you have never read Bryson then try this book, because it is good, but not his best, so if you enjoy it then you will enjoy exploring his other works. I also like the way that he narrates his own work. The title of this review sums up my feedback, so if you are looking for an entertaining read that is not too " heavy" then this could be for you.

3 people found this helpful

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Stop the DIY? No Way!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Having listed to the sample of both the unabridged version read by an actor and the abridged version read by Bill Bryson, Bryson wins hands down.
Only Bryson can really deliver the pithy, dry humour in his book, rather than the overeager delivery of an actor. As good a job as the actor does, it misses the point and reduces the enjoyment.
A Walk in the Woods is all about the dry humour, it has me laughing out loud, especially Katz the anti-anti-hero in this tale. Bryson's has a wicked eye for the ironic details of life's encounters and tribulations.
I definitely recommend the Bill Bryson narration if you enjoy a dead pan dry delivery, that's kinda the whole point of dry humour, it needs a dry delivery!

Which character – as performed by Bill Bryson – was your favourite?

Katz

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

If you go into the woods today, your in for a big surprise!

2 people found this helpful

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A dry and very funny odyssey

Loved this book. Interestingly I read it after seeing the film twice, and really enjoyed the prose, the characters, and the understated account of personal growth and friendship that Bryson shares in this story. I also found myself sparing more than a few sympathetic thoughts for his long suffering and supportive wife, who must have thought he was nuts. As an American married to a Brit and living in the UK, it put me back in touch with the wonder and beauty of the natural heritage of the 'new world', and saddened me with the realisation of how fragile it can be. The stories of tree species dying out, especially the threat to the dogwood, distressed me greatly. Having lived for years in Roanoke VA, the dogwood is like a family friend. As for the AT, the book counterbalanced my vague romantic notion with a much stronger appreciation of its quirky history and the rugged but majestic reality of the challenge of doing it. 870+ miles is a huge achievement - yes, Bryson, you and Katz can proudly say you have hiked the Appalachian Trail. Thanks for taking me with you. A final word about the narration - it is very special to be listening to Bill Bryson tell the story personally, and he does a brilliant job. I highly recommend the book, and this narration.

1 person found this helpful

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As enjoyable as I had hoped!

Just great. A tale of real people, rather than super powered beasts, doing something great.

1 person found this helpful

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Best of Bryson

An incredible story incredibly well told and incredibly well read. highly recommended. thoroughly enjoyed it.

1 person found this helpful

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Sensational

Laugh out loud, gripping and enjoyable. Highly recommend, even if you have no interest in hiking.

1 person found this helpful

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My favourite book of all time

Bill Brysons finest hour. A true masterpiece. Makes you want to put a loaf of bread in a knapsack and head off into the wilderness.

1 person found this helpful

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Classic Bryson

Classic Bryson, I only wish it wasn’t abridged. It’s great to hear him read it himself

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Genevieve
  • 09-02-11

Thoroughly enjoyable

The first third of this story had me laughing so hard I cried. I enjoyed the last third very much too. It lost my attention somewhat in the middle though when the story, and Bryson literally, got off track. Even so I would thoroughly recommend it. Bryson's voice, reading his own story, is such a pleasure to listen to.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • By What the...?
  • 01-02-11

Great Fun

As Bill Bryson is a favourite author I looked forward to hearing him read his own works. What a delight it is to listen to his gentle voice as he and Katz plod through primeval woods in their effort to be less like cupcakes. I listen to audio books whilst walking for exercise and could walk for hours being entertained by Bryson's wonderful sense of humour and irony. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MarqD
  • 10-05-17

inspiring

I love Bryson's work and this is no exception. I listened to it while walking and now yearn to go hiking.

1 person found this helpful

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  • John Lynn
  • 26-02-15

Feels like a friend telling you a story

Really good when the author narrates his own story wit pace and charm makes it an experience to remember great

1 person found this helpful