Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail Receives 100th Amazon Review

Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Appalachian Trail, Appalachian trail Books, Bill Bryson, Skywalker--Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail | 0 comments

Are book reviews important? You’re darn right they are–in their entirety. Yes, individual reviews can be overrated, to be sure. For example, I recently received a review that said my Appalachian Trail narrative, Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail was, “Better than Bryson”. Of course, the reviewer was referring to the international bestseller, A Walk in the Woods, by renowned travel writer, Bill Bryson. That book has been out almost 15 years, yet still remains popular, due to Bryson’s humorous depiction of life on the AT, as well as the comic interplay between him and his hapless sidekick, Katz. To be sure, I greatly appreciate the compliment from the reviewer. But I do take it with a grain of salt.

Another review I recently got seems perhaps more on-target. “At times it seemed like Skywalker didn’t belong out there,” wrote the reviewer. Amen. I want to second that. In fact, that is Skywalker’s place in the food chain of Appalachian Trail books. I decided to write it b/c it seemed like most hiking (and outdoor) narratives are written by experts, for other experts, in a narrow kind of expert’s language. Well, as the reviewer noted, I was about the farthest thing out there from an expert! It was a daily struggle that often seemed like a see-saw battle between my determination on the one hand and incompetence on the other. Apparently that message got through in my book, as evidenced by this review.

The most important thing is the overall trajectory of the reviews.  And here are the results:

56  five-star ,  33 four-star, 5 three-star, 4 two-star, and 2 one-star.

So let’s just make it clear–I ain’t Hemingway, and never will be (up to and including the way I perish from this earth!). But my original idea of writing a narrative that the average person–who aspires to do something above average–could identify appears to have been well borne out. I am grateful to all readers, and all reviewers. And that includes those 2 one-star reviews!

Bill Walker is the author of Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail. He is also the author of Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as The Best Way–El Camino de Santiago. Walker, who is nearly 7-feet tall, is currently working on a whimsical book on the subject of height.

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