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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Reviews: Hiking Through and Hatteras Girl

Photo by: Apolonia

Hiking Through, One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman is an entertaining book while also a chronicle of how the author deals with two challenges: his wife’s recent death from cancer, and the 2,176-mile trek over the length of the Appalachian Trail. This book is a little less dramatic than Stutzman’s other book, Biking Across America. I think it’s because there’s a huge difference in being mostly alone on a very long mountain trail and biking all the way across a continent and meeting many more people. Still, we get to know the serious and not-so-serious hikers, hotels and good restaurants, Paul’s internal struggles, the hardness of the Appalachian Trail (days in the rain, plopping into two bogs, weariness), camping, camaraderie, and much more. I appreciated especially his sharing the gospel and the message God gave to him on the mountain. I am glad “Apostle” (Paul’s trail name) doesn’t shy away from sharing his faith with the reader. I enjoyed his adventure and getting to know more about the Trail and the people on it. Many details surprised me.

I actually hiked a part of the Appalachian Trail with my family many, many years ago—so long ago I can’t remember what state we were in. We were casual day hikers, and I imagine our hike lasted only a few hours. But, I still remember some of the beauty we found—wildflowers and birds and insects. It was a gorgeous day that sticks in my memory.

But Paul’s account is about serious hiking. He’s a “purist,” one who will take not one inch of shortcut, one who insists on doing all of the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, and I think you will, too.

Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler is the third book I’ve read by this author. This is fun, clean fiction. It begins with yet another unsatisfying blind date set up by her well-meaning Aunt Sheerly. Jackie Donovan is sipping Diet Pepsi and waiting for him to show up. This poor guy is another wealthy, single loser. He’s so boring Jackie makes an excuse and leaves him sitting there—after they’ve eaten. Jackie has always wanted to live near the sea, and she has a dream: to own and operate an old bed a breakfast that used to serve lemon cookies and raspberry soda. In the middle of the book, she does an interview with a man too handsome, suave, and all the rest for his own good and falls hard for him. The rest of the book is about love, truth, trust, revelations, and the old bed and breakfast. If you enjoy a good, clean, thoughtful and fun book that includes a bratty kid, lots of love, and plenty of losses, you’ll enjoy this one. By the way, it has a happy ending.

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