Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Books to Distract You - A Walk in the Woods

Native son (from Des Moines) Bill Bryson gets it into his head that he'd like to hike the Appalachian Trail. Never mind that it's an enormous undertaking for seasoned hikers, and Bryson isn't even lightly salted. And, because Bryson's a lucky guy, his buddy Stephen Katz shows up to go along for the ride. Now Bryson has done his research, bought the right gear, really tried in his scholarly, city-boy way to prepare for the trip. Katz is even more out-of-shape than Bryson and bonus: Katz pitches all his hiking stuff almost immediately because it is too heavy. Bye bye water. Later, Katz gets lost. I'm guessing no one was surprised by this. Bryson delights in his friend's company nonetheless - Katz is a really nice guy. And he makes for terrific anecdotes. This is a lovely winter read (sunshine! sweating! nature!) from a genuinely funny writer.

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