I've previously talked about my love affair with Bill Bryson's snarky wit, so when this book became available to review on Blogging for Books, I jumped at the chance. It's rare that a book on my (excessive) to-read list becomes available to read for free. I was pretty excited.
A Walk in the Woods doesn't disappoint. It details Bryson's trip hiking the Appalachian Trail, a feat I absolutely, positively, under no circumstances would ever want to do myself, but it sure makes for entertaining reading. His misadventures with his friend Stephen Katz are laugh-out-loud funny, and the eccentric cast of characters he meets along the way help to flesh out the book and keep it from becoming too one-dimensional. In addition to his humor, he's also extremely reflective and contemplative, which apparently is a common phenomenon for hikers on the AT. Anyone that likes hiking, humor, or both should read this book (along with his others as well, but that's another story for another time).
My only criticism is that at times he often delves into a little too much history of the Appalachian trail, and it becomes a little dry in sections. The parts I loved were his own adventures, not the history. But it's not so bad that I don't recommend reading the book. Just be prepared, and maybe skim through those sections. Not that I would ever do that, of course (wink).
The verdict: It's a great book that you definitely should read. 4 out of 5 stars.
The disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
...to bring you this very important public service announcement. And today's announcement is brought to you by the letter E. E is for Emily. E is for excited. E is for....ENGAGED!
So I'm sure you can understand why you'll have to wait until tomorrow for a review of the butterbeans, no?
It happened yesterday, August 10th. We were going to go hiking at Paris Mountain and take Luna, but it had monsooned again on Friday and we were afraid it would be super muddy and then we'd have to give her a bath (and for the record, bathing a reluctant 85-pound Labrador? Not fun). So we left her at home. Off we went...and I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about it, either. I kept saying, "Let's just take a short hike. We have to go to the Farmer's Market to get groceries. We'll have to eat lunch too late," and on and on and on. And my B just smiled and said, "Sure, we can take a short loop today." Spoiler alert: he was lying :)
The trail we typically take starts at the top of the mountain and the middle point of the trail is in a valley at a lake. Right after we cross the dam over the lake, there is a little clearing in the shade by the lake with a bench that we use to rest and stretch and get some water before beginning the uphill part of our hike.
Our spot :)
We reached our bench as usual, stretched a few minutes, and then B sat down on the bench. I thought he was going to pull out his phone to see how far we'd hiked, but instead he pulled out a piece of paper. And then he said, "I have a note for you." The minute he said that, I knew.
B reading me the note :)
He read me the sweetest note, which was so incredibly written and so amazing that I think he may have been lying all this time about not liking words. And then he fished the ring box from the bottom of his backpack, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him.
B standing up so he could get down on one knee :)
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
I love him, so ridiculously much.
I think I said "Yes!" like 12 times. I just wanted to make sure he got the memo :)
And then - well, then there was clapping behind us in the woods. I thought it was just some random hiker who had happened to stumble upon us and witness the proposal, until Brian said, "Say hi to the camera." It took me a good 30 seconds to realize that the guy clapping was his friend and coworker James, who was hiding out in the woods to take pictures of the proposal.
I know - it sounds so creepy, but it was hilarious. Especially when he told us that about five minutes before we had gotten to "our spot," a family of five had been hanging out there. He had popped up out of his hiding spot in the woods, scaring them to death, saying, "No! You have to go! My friend is coming here in a few minutes and he's going to propose to his girlfriend. You have to go NOW!" To which they had replied, "Which way? Where do we go?" and he said, "Anywhere! Just get out of here!" Pretty sure I'm going to be laughing about that for a long time. That poor family. I think if I had been them I would have wanted to hide out in the woods with James to see the proposal.
So what did we do after the proposal? Well, first we had to do the uphill portion of the hike to get OUT of the woods. During that time I managed to call my mom and dad, my brother and his fiancee, and my best friend. Once we finally got out of the woods and to our car, I called my great-grandmother and my grandmother. We went to the farmer's market to get produce (I wasn't kidding about our need to go food shopping!). And then we went back to B's apartment, where we cleaned up a little and busted out leftover Mexican food and a fresh bottle of champagne to celebrate. We then proceeded to call remaining family and friends whom we hadn't been able to get in touch with before. And then B turned on the golf channel, snuggled up with Luna (who is thrilled her parents are going to be married and she will only have to live in one house instead of two), and we all took naps.
For dinner, we just went to one of our favorite sushi restaurants, and then we went back to Trappe Door, where we went for our first date. It was all pretty low-key, and that's the way we both wanted it. That's what keeps striking me the most about this. I always assumed that when I got engaged there would be thunderbolts and trumpets sounding and angels descending from heaven to witness this momentous event. But it's just normal. It is incredible and I'm excited and SO happy. But it's really just normal and comfortable and feels like exactly what we should be doing. B is my best friend and the person whom, without a doubt, I want to spend the rest of my life with and raise babies with and all that stuff. I couldn't ask for a better person to be by my side. So while I'm DYING to start planning my wedding and I cannot stop looking at my ring (seriously: so sparkly. So, so sparkly), the most important part of it is that I officially get to spend the rest of my life with the love of my life, and THAT is a major WIN.