Friday, April 27, 2012

A Walk in the Woods (global reading challenge #13)

The next stop in my reading journey leads into the mountains: in "A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail", travel writer Bill Bryson tells his story of walking the Appalachian Trail ("AT") with his friend. The AT is one of the longest hiking trails that exists: it runs almost along the full East Coast of the US, starting in Georgia in the South, and ending in Maine in the North: 2100 miles altogether.

It's a book that is both humorous and reflective - it's about the physical task, but also about being out of the usual urban rhythm for a while. From theme, it connects to the previous book, "Deep Country", about living in a Welsh mountain hut for 5 years. Reading it made me think of the book I read a while ago, about walking the pilgrimage way “Jakobsweg” to Santiago de Compostella in Europe.

And it made me think of the hikes of my own childhood: my parents loved to be in the mountains, and so we often drove to Austria, with backpack, tent, mini-camping stove and all the things you need to be out there for 2 or 3 days. And I remember how huge and massive the mountains were, that you could walk on and on and on, and there always would be more mountain.

2 quotes from the book:

“But I got a great deal else from the experience. I learned to pitch a tent and sleep beneath the stars. For a brief, proud period I was slender and fit. I gained a profound respect for the wilderness and nature and the benign dark power of woods. I understand now, in a way I never did before, the colossal scale of the world."

and this, about the ambivalence of all: "I enjoyed the escape of civilization and ached for its comforts. I wanted to quit and do this forever. Sleep in a bed and in a tent. All of this all at once, on the trail or off."

Global + European Reading Challenge
In the read this year, i am taking part in a global and in an european reading challenge. the idea: to read books from each continent of the world / several countries of europe. so far i've been to:
- book 12: Deep Country (UK/Europe)
- detour: World Book Day - books, reviews, links
- book 11: Stone Age Venus (Germany/Europe)
- book 10: Journal of  a Solitude (USA/America)
- book 9: Mexican Lives (Mexico/America)
- detour: the world in 7 books
- book 8: Tagore (India/Asia)
- book 7: Zarzura (Egypt/Africa)
- book 6: Jericho (Israel/Middle East)
- book 5: Ledra Street (Cyprus/Europe)
- book 4: Disappearance. A Map (Alaska/America)
- book 3: Paris was Ours (France/Europe)
- book 2: Anar (Middle East)
- book 1: The Tigers's Wife (former Yugoslavia/Europe)
- more books: virtual bookshelf
- about: the Global Reading Challenge

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