I don’t know how I ended up reading Bill Bryson. I think a colleague recommended him with something along the lines of: “You just have to read him!” I think I asked why; what kind of stuff he wrote and if my friend wanted to suggest any specific book but I just got the same kind of response: “Just read him! Any book – they’re all brilliant!” Well, I tend to trust my colleagues (at least the ones I like) so I figured such an all-encompassing recommendation must be worth something.
I never actively sought out one of his books. But I ended up with this one – A Walk In The Woods – when I came across an Audible sale. Still, I hadn’t heard of the title, just the name of the author and figured, Here’s my chance!
This book is about the Appalachian Trail (a pretty famous hiking trail in America, in case you hadn’t heard of it) and Bill’s trek along it. It’s one part biographical hiking book, one part nature and history lesson, and all parts hilarious. For reasons unknown to me (either because they were never stated in the book, or because I’ve forgotten) Bill decides to try and hike the trail, and he decides to bring along his friend, Steven Katz.
Bill’s writing is very captivating, at least if you’re interested in hiking trails, the history of them and the surrounding nature. He has this kind of voice that makes me think he’d be an amazing teacher. He keeps me hooked on.
Also, the story is funny. He and Katz are definitely not used to hiking, so the fact that they decide to take on the Appalachian Trail as their first big trip is… well, it makes for fun reading.
I realize that I’ll end up echoing my colleagues recommendation: read something by Bill Bryson. Maybe start with this one, if you’re into it, but I hear there are others out there that are probably better. I know I’m definitely going to be reading more.