2013 Book Selection
2013′s selection, as chosen by the residents of the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro area, is Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods.
For reasons even he didn’t understand, Bill Bryson decided in 1996 to walk the 2,100-mile Appalachian trail. Winding from Georgia to Maine, this uninterrupted ‘hiker’s highway’ sweeps through the heart of some of America’s most beautiful and treacherous terrain. Accompanied by his infamous crony, Stephen Katz, Bryson risks snake bite and hantavirus to trudge up unforgiving mountains, plod through swollen rivers, and yearn for cream sodas and hot showers.
This amusingly ill-conceived adventure brings Bryson to the height of his comic powers, but his acute eye also observes an astonishing landscape of silent forests, sparkling lakes, and other national treasures that are often ignored or endangered. Fresh, illuminating, and uproariously funny, A Walk in the Woods showcases Bill Bryson at his very best. (From the publisher.)
About the author:
Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He moved to and settled in England in 1977, working in journalism until becoming a full time author. For many years Bill lived with his English wife and their four young children in North Yorkshire, before moving the family to New Hampshire in America for a spell in the late 1990s. Now they have all returned to live in the UK.
Bill Bryson is the UK’s biggest selling non-fiction author since official records began. In The Lost Continent, his hilarious first travel book, he chronicled a trip in his mother’s Chevy around small town America. It was followed by Neither Here Nor There, an account of his first trip around Europe. Other travel books include the massive bestseller Notes From a Small Island, which won the 2003 World Book Day National Poll to find the book which best represented modern England, followed by A Walk in the Woods (in which Stephen Katz, his travel companion from Neither Here Nor There, made a welcome reappearance), Notes From a Big Country, about the USA, and his exploits in and observations on Australia, Down Under, which went on to become the most-borrowed travel book of the Noughties.
Bill’s books on the English language, including Mother Tongue and Made in America garnered wide critical and popular acclaim. Then he turned his attention to science. A Short History of Nearly Everything was lauded with critical acclaim, became a huge international bestseller and won the Aventis Prize for Science Books as well as the Descartes Science Communication Prize. It was reissued in a lavishly illustrated edition, followed by an illustrated version for younger readers: A Really Short History of Nearly Everything. In 2006, his memoir of growing up in 1950s America, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, was released and became an instant hit. Bill’s next subject was the life of William Shakespeare, chronicled to great effect in Shakespeare: The World as a Stage. A revised and updated edition of his Dictionary for Writers and Editors was recently published by Black Swan.