A Walk in the Woods

List five books you would recommend to others and then choose one you would like to discuss with your roommate over coffee. Why would it be your choice? (150-300 words)

Verghese’s Cutting for Stone, Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, and Colbert’s I am America and So Can You are five books that I would recommend to anyone as worth the read. But the one that I think would make for the best conversation over coffee is A Walk in the Woods.

One part failed adventure, one part comedy act, and one part plea for the environment, Bryson’s book describes a middle-aged man’s failed attempt at hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in one summer. The book recounts numerous hilarious scenes that Bryson and his ridiculous hiking partner go through as it chronicles the places where the two stop, the hikers that they meet, and their wildlife encounters. I loved the story because it made me laugh the whole time, but it also incorporated a ton of important points about nature conservation and how something like the Appalachian Trail has changed over the years. Important problems like lack of funding, extinction of species, and global warming are examined, but the environmental lessons that Bryson teaches us are in no way boring; they are incredibly informative and kept interesting through Bryson’s relentless sarcasm.

I can easily imagine talking about the book with my roommate and maybe even using it as a springboard for thinking about the possibility of our hiking the Appalachian Trail together, when we are still young enough to do it.