Greg and I read this book out loud to each other in the evenings over a period of several months. Bryson is a bit hard to read out loud. He’s a great writer, very smart with words and wordy with sentences. However, much like this trip he takes, in fact, he tends to ramble all over the place making you read ahead three words for every word you read out loud. We both loved this book. Bryson starts down South determined to get to Mount Katahdin in Maine by the end of the season. He both does and does not accomplish this. Along the way he spends time with an old friend, learns way too much AT history and even gets himself in a bit of shape.
This book isn’t quite, as the back cover blurbs call it, “hilarious.” There are some pretty funny parts, definitely worth chuckling over, but just when you think you’re in for a rip-roaring good time, Bryson will tell you the stories of what happened to the American Chestnut tree, or discuss hikers who have been murdered, or how development is encroaching on the rest of Americas wilderness, and you sober right up. This was a perfect read for when we had to sit inside and look out at the freezing Vermont landscape and just try to remember what a tree smelled like, or a long walk felt like. Bryson’s practically a neighbor and I was suprised how much his perception of much of this area is not unlike my own. Definitely one of the best books of this year so far.