Bill Bryson has long been considered a literary treasure in his adopted country, England, where he’s famous for his ironic, self-mocking travel books. He recently moved back to New England, and as a kind of American baptism resolved to spend a summer hiking the Appalachian trail, all 2,200 miles of it, from Georgia to Maine. A Walk in the Woods contains some interesting, informative geologic musings a la John McPhee, and some lovely descriptions, but they are overwhelmed by petty carping about everything from bad weather to the stupidity of the people he meets on the trail—although he doesn’t meet that many, because in the end he hikes less than half the route. The book is subtitled “Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail,” but Bryson doesn’t seem to have discovered very much at all. C

A Walk in the Woods
2015 movie
  • Movie
  • 98 minutes