A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson

Illustrated by James Weston Lewis

Full of sweat, tears and side-splitting humour, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods is a page-turning travelogue and this Folio Society edition is the ultimate companion for fans of the author’s inimitable wit.

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‘The perfect travelling companion. When it comes to travel's peculiars, the man has no peers.’
  1. The Times

Stretching more than 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail crosses 14 states, hair-raising mountain peaks and passes, and the natural habitats of wild creatures and even wilder hikers. So, when best-selling travel writer Bill Bryson discovered a path leading to the trail just metres from his house in New Hampshire, his interest was piqued and his diary hastily blocked out for the next few months. Bryson’s riotous account of the tortuous climbs, bland food and physical hardship is also an impassioned plea to preserve the trail and reveals his deep appreciation of the natural world. James Weston Lewis captures both the desperation and jubilation of the hike in his striking colour illustrations and charming black-and-white vignettes, while his newly drawn map shows the sheer scale of this seemingly endless endeavour.

Bound in blocked cloth

Set in Kennerley with Source Sans as display

296 pages

3 full-colour illustrations, including a double-page spread

Illustrated black & white title-page spread, 10 black & white vignettes and a map

Blocked slipcase

9½˝ x 6¼˝ 

Bill Bryson’s books have sold over 16 million copies worldwide and his unique blend of pitch-perfect observational humour, unashamed grumpiness and addictive writing style have gained him a devoted following. For Folio’s foray into Bryson’s woodland trek, A Walk in the Woods is given a gorgeous technicolour makeover with James Weston Lewis’s joyful illustrations, including a double-page spread, plus a title-page montage of scenes from the trail. Lewis has also designed a series of ten integrated black-and-white vignettes, from Bryson’s overloaded backpack to a panoramic lake view and a rest stop under the tree canopy. A beautiful binding design and newly drawn map of the trail complete this edition of a travel classic.

‘Hiking was a tiring, dirty, pointless slog between distantly spaced comfort zones.’
  1. Bill Bryson

It turns out that hiking the Appalachian Trail requires a little more planning – and shopping – than an afternoon stroll. As Bryson adds endless kilos to his kit, and endless dollars to his credit card, reality kicks in and the enormity of the undertaking hits home. So, when recovering alcoholic and cake-loving Katz offers to accompany him, Bryson overlooks the fact they last saw each other decades ago and parted on bad terms. As they hit the trail and the initial tantrums, aches and pains subside, the pair ease into a companionable routine, the drudgery and deprivation of trail walking interrupted by uninspiring bowls of noodles, coffee filtered through toilet paper and regular encounters with other people crazy enough to attempt the world’s longest footpath. Bryson finds the humour in every situation and his easy style and caustic observations take readers to the heart of the woods without stepping out of their homes.

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, but has lived most of his life in the UK. His first great success was The Lost Continent, an account of a trip round small-town America, and he came to greater prominence with an affectionate account of travels around Britain, Notes from a Small Island. His subsequent travelogues include Notes from a Big Country, on his relocation to the US, A Walk in the Woods, on hiking the Appalachian Trail, and Down Under, on a trip across Australia. In the last two decades Bryson’s broad and infectious curiosity has prompted investigations of Shakespeare, the English language, the human body, and – most ambitiously – A Short History of Nearly Everything, which won the EU Descartes Prize for science communication and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He has also served as chancellor of Durham University, which renamed its library in his honour; as president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England; and as the first non-British honorary fellow of the Royal Society.

James Weston Lewis is an illustrator and printmaker based in London. He studied printmaking at the University of the West of England, and now combines traditional techniques such as woodcut and linocut with digital media in his illustrations, which are often exquisitely detailed and heavily layered, with a limited colour palette. He has illustrated six children’s books, including The Great Fire of London, which was longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. His clients have included Penguin Random House, Little Brown, Quadrille, Hachette, Nosy Crow, Simon & Schuster, the Financial Times, Radio Times, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Ivy and Johnnie Walker. 


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