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Download A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail Audiobook, by Bill Bryson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.11 out of 54.11 out of 54.11 out of 54.11 out of 54.11 out of 5 4.11 (36 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bill Bryson Narrator: Bill Bryson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2000 ISBN: 9780553750331
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"Not long after I moved with my family to a small town in New Hampshire, I happened upon a path that vanished into a wood on the edge of town."

So begins Bill Bryson's hilarious book A Walk in the Woods.  Following his return to America after twenty years in Britain, Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.  The AT, as it's affectionately known to thousands of hikers, offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to test his own powers of ineptitude, and to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.  

For a start, there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa who accompanies the similarly unfit Bryson on the trail.  Once Bryson and Katz settle into their stride, it's not long before they come across the fabulously annoying Mary Ellen, whose disappearance ruins a perfectly good slice of pie, a gang of Ralph Lauren-attired yuppies from whom Katz appropriates a key piece of equipment, and a security guard in Pennsylvania who, for no ascertainable reason, impounds Bryson's car.  Mile by arduous mile these latter-day pioneers walk America, along the way surviving the threat of bear attacks, the loss of key provisions, and everything else this awe-inspiring country can throw at them.  

But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike.  Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this fragile and beautiful trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness.  An adventure, a comedy, a lament, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods is destined to become a modern classic of travel literature. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • A terribly misguided and terribly funny tale of adventure...choke-on-your-coffee funny. The Washington Post Book World
  • A Walk in the Woods is an almost perfect travel book. The Boston Globe
  • The Appalachian Trail...consists of some five million steps, and Bryson manages to coax a laugh, and often an unexpectedly startling insight, out of every one he traverses...It is hard not to grin idiotically through all 304 pages...sheer comic entertainment. Kirkus Reviews
  • Bryson is . . . great company right from the start—a lumbering, droll, neatnik intellectual who comes off as equal parts Garrison Keillor, Michael Kinsley, and . . . Dave Barry...[Readers] may find themselves turning the pages with increasing amusement and anticipation as they discover that they're in the hands of a satirist of the first rank who writes (and walks) with Chaucerian brio. The New York Times Book Review
  • “[Bryson is] great company from the start—a lumbering, droll, neatnik intellectual who comes off as equal parts Garrison Keillor, Michael Kinsley, and…Dave Barry…[He is] a satirist of the first rank, who writes (and walks) with Chaucerian brio.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The Appalachian Trail…consists of some five million steps, and Bryson manages to coax a laugh, and often an unexpectedly startling insight, out of every one he traverses…Sheer comic entertainment.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “This is a seriously funny book…Bryson also writes most beautifully about the loveliness of the forest and the mountains…[He is] a natural wonder.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Bill Bryson could write an essay about dryer lint and fever reducers and still make us laugh out loud.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • A Walk in the Woods is an almost perfect travel book.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Engaging [and] delightful.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “If you were to cross John Muir’s writing with Dave Barry’s, you’d end up with something along the lines of…[A Walk in the Woods].”

    National Geographic Traveler

  • “Nobody has written anything like this book. It’s funny—so funny I was laughing out loud.”

    Providence Journal-Bulletin

  • “Terribly misguided, and a terribly funny tale of adventure…The yarn is choke-on your-coffee funny.”

    Washington Post

  • “Yet another comic, witty, gritty…piece of travel writing-cum-commentary by Bryson…Reading about the AT, in Bryson’s droll, hyperbolic, information-stuffed style, will bring many of his readers to a grateful, amused appreciation for his walk, his work, and his wit.”

    Des Moines Register

  • “A delightful and enlightening account of the author’s attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail.”

    Salon

  • “Bryson’s truth-telling happens to be hilarious.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A mix of tenderness, humor, and an awakening environmental consciousness.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Bill Bryson has produced a book that has once again left me cackling out loud and grinning until my jaw ached.”

    San Francisco Examiner

  • “Bryson reaches a new emotional plateau in his writing…A level of hilarity shot through with sad understanding.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Bryson is so wry and discerning a tour guide, so lucid and companionable a lay naturalist, that the sum is gleaned from the parts…[His] knowledge proves not only broad but red-hot.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • A Walk in the Woods is a hilarious account of [Bryson’s] adventures on the Appalachian Trail. It’s worth repeating that salient point: This book is so very funny.”

    Arizona Republic

  • “A well-deserved bestseller…It’s a great adventure, on a human scale, with survivable discomforts, and happily, everybody goes home afterwards.”

    Times-Picayune

  • “Bryson’s style, humor, and narrative gifts elevate [it] well above the mere travelogue…[He] takes history, observation, and traveler’s angst and weaves them together seamlessly.”

    Lexington Herald-Leader

  • “Bryson is a very funny writer who could wring humor from a clammy sleeping bag.”

    Hartford Courant

  • “Savor it a chapter at a time—and read in public so passersby can wonder what could possibly be causing you to laugh so hard.”

    Fort Worth Star-Telegram

  • “[A Walk in the Woods] again shows off [Bryson’s] skills of observation as well as his hilarious wit and is definitely a keeper.”

    Chattanooga Free Press

  • “Bryson’s book is a marvelous description and history of the train and the mountains…[His] great humor makes this a journey worth taking.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gaiagirl | 2/17/2014

    " I forgot how funny and informative this was. Just as good or better the second time even if the information is out of date. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa Kuhn | 1/31/2014

    " I read this several years ago before I had a Good Reads account. I fell in love with Bryson's humor and his willingness to go through so much just to provide us with information about the Appalachian Trail. Read everything written by this man immediately!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 1/18/2014

    " What a wonderful writer for people who love to travel and experience the extraordinary. Currently my 70 year old cousin is thru hiking the Appalachian Trail. He has completed 60% of the trek. I have been able to follow his adventure through the words of Bill Bryson. We hope to visit my cousin as he treks through Massachusetts in July on his way to Maine. Bill, continue to share your experiences through your writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 1/4/2014

    " I read this book in High School and it was one of the few that I actually enjoyed. Very well put together - had it's humor, serious, and just down-right heart felt moments. Great Read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elise Kessler-wiley | 12/24/2013

    " A re- read for me, it keeps me laughing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kendra | 12/22/2013

    " Meh... I have listened to several other of Bill Bryson's books and have enjoyed them, but in this one I felt like he was complaining the whole way through. And if you are going to hike the Appalachian Trail, why are you not more prepared?? He over packed weight wise, but did not take enough food. He didn't work himself up to the hike and get used to the pack. His friend, Stephen, was just as annoying. I think I'm going to take a break from this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose Wesselman | 12/19/2013

    " Very interesting. I know of several people who started out on the trail this year as well as a few who intend to go. It is way out of my league. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 10/15/2013

    " There aren't many laughs in this book. I have never been tempted by long distance walking and this book reinforces all my reasons for not embarking on adventures of this kind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yvonne Carter | 9/28/2013

    " Fun, delightful, and informative read about hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Of interest to me since my husband and I have hiked/walked different sections of this trail in North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire and Maine "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginny | 9/13/2013

    " Wonderful book! Having done a little hiking, easy to relate to so much of the story. Takes you right to the AT and wonderfully entertaining as well! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alex Tilley | 8/30/2013

    " A fairly uninspiring account of Bill's trudge along the appalachian trail. He moans about how hard it is for a lot of the book, which gets boring quickly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emmi | 8/6/2013

    " This book started out super entertaining. I laughed out loud when he bought the book about all the different ways people died from bear attacks along the trail. The book petered out though as soon as he pulled of the trail the first time. It lost my interest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bridget | 7/3/2013

    " THE best book to read if you want to learn some great facts about bears and get inspired to walk (at least some) of the Appalachian trail. One of Bill Bryson's best books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan Mckeon | 5/8/2013

    " I love this book. Bryson masterfully combines humor with in-depth historical research. This doesn't really follow the traditional book pattern. There is not really any buildup or climax, but you will be entertained the whole way through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cornelia Brown | 4/26/2013

    " One of the funniest books I've read. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James Austin | 3/31/2013

    " I really liked this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan Murdock | 1/18/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Extremely well written, wittily observed, and it made me want to lace up my hiking boots and hit the trail. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gail | 7/28/2012

    " Yes! It's rare for me to re-read a book, but this is one of my go-to's. You can't go wrong with Bill Bryson, and this is his best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Siobhan | 6/10/2012

    " Not sure what else I can say other than a hilarious story of hiking through the Appalachian's with your fat, lazy, unpreppared friend. A great read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 6/9/2012

    " Three and a half stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan Osler | 1/10/2012

    " Would have given it 5 stars except that Bryson occasionally shows himself to be an unkind ass while trying to make a joke. Every night I went to sleep thinking it would be great to be in a tent; every morning I woke up so glad to be in a bed without a 15 mile hike ahead that day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth Wanless | 11/9/2011

    " This is one of my favorite books of all-time. You'll laugh out loud, you'll cry, you'll be freaked out by bear attacks! It's a wonderfully enchanting and educational read...it won't disappoint. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Florence Ditlow | 8/6/2011

    " Due to my experience as a hiker, I was glued to this hilarious account of walking in the mountains with the two funniest explorers to wear hiking boots. If you want an adventure- staying in your easy chair, I recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 7/14/2011

    " Who wants to hike the AT with me? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 7/3/2011

    " Funny, real story of the authors decision to walk the Appalachian Trail and not to finish it. An experience I wish I could have as I love the natural beauty of the US "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ethanadam | 6/30/2011

    " This book is hilarious. Completely true, as it is a memoir.

    Aside from the comedy and story-telling, it has random interesting knowledge thrown in about the places he's at, or what he's doing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 6/30/2011

    " I quite enjoyed this book! Bryson is a great storyteller- his non-fiction reads like a novel. A great read on his trip along the Appalachian Trail, interspersed with history, comedy, and ever-present self deprication. Highly recommend this book! I will surely read Bryson's other books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Menolly | 6/27/2011

    " Interesting book and Bryson has a great sense of humor. Really made me want to hike the AT "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanna | 6/26/2011

    " Loved the first half, but then it got preachy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kat | 6/24/2011

    " Best Bryson book ever. Laugh out loud funny (dry humor). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 6/22/2011

    " Yeah, Bryson's kinda mean in this one. But what I like about his books is that he puts in so many weird little historical facts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 6/22/2011

    " Laugh out loud funny. A quick and easy read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary.nagle | 6/22/2011

    " Funny, interesting story, and I learned a lot! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 6/22/2011

    " I enjoyed that the two main characters, Bryson and Katz, just went for it. They didn't think too long or hard about every decision, they just decided to do it. I found that freeing and relaxing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 6/21/2011

    " My first Bill Bryson book and I laughed out loud. Great humor coupled with an interesting story. My kind of books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 6/19/2011

    " Getting ready to hike the Chilkoot again, makes this book even more enjoyable. I laughed aloud! "

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About the Author
Author Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is the New York Times bestselling author of At HomeA Walk in the WoodsThe Lost ContinentMade in AmericaThe Mother Tongue, A Short History of Nearly Everything—winner of the Aventis Prize—and various other works. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he now lives in England, where he has worked for both the Times and Independent and written for most other major British and American publications.