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Book Club: A Walk in The Woods by Bill Bryson and a great Ice Cream Soda recipe

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

In this book when asked by his friend whether he felt bad about leaving the trail (they ditched their trek into the wilderness in Maine) and Bill replies: "I had come to realise that I didn't have any feelings towards the AT [Appalachian Trail] that were not contradictory, I was weary of the trial, but captivated by it'... Well for me that about sums up this book.

Bill does show some of his renowned wit at times but in other places comes across smug and derogatory, particularly to women which doesn't sit well, me being one and all. But then in other parts I do appreciate the lad banter and his comedy surrounding his anxieties did have me laughing out loud. I checked to see when the book was published, so maybe its the style of writing that is just a tad outdated now as this was written in the 90's. The book is very informative about the trail but some how lacks the emotion that I loved about the Salt Path for example. Except at the end, no spoilers but I thought wow now this book is turning itself around.

Normally travel writing makes me want to go to these places but I'm not sure I want to do this, perhaps that is the charm of this book as it truly is an extraordinary feat and certainly not lip-glossed, especially as his travel companion is slightly volatile. Also Bill doesn't paint a great picture of what America is doing to the wilds of its country. Then in other areas it gave you a historical lowdown on the area that read like a few travel brochures patch-worked together. The narrative didn't flow as well as I thought it could.

This was the first Bill Bryson book I have read and I feel (as he is fairly prolific) that I should try another one out for size. If you have any recommendations I would love to hear them?

There is also a film about this book so I think I need to watch that to see if I warm up to the idea of hiking this trail! I would however happily drink an ice-cream soda and watch the X-files!

Inspired to find a great American Ice Cream soda recipe I found this:

Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Soda - Serves 4

3/4 cup of chocolate syrup

1 cup of milk

4 cups of chilled soda water

8 scoops of chocolate ice cream

whipped cream in a can

  1. Place 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup in each glass. Add 1/4 cup of milk and 1 cup of soda water to each glass. Stir until foamy. Add 2 scoops of ice cream to each glass. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Bill Bryson - A walk in the Woods front cover
Cholcolate Ice Cream Soda

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