Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Appalachian Adventure - book review

One interesting older book I found at my local library was a coffee table style book called Appalachian Adventure - From Georgia to Maine- A Spectacular Journey. edited by Alfred O. Hero; written and photographed by a team of journalists, illustrators and photographers from five different newspapers who walked the trail in relays.
I find this to be a wonderful book, full of lavish photographs, maps,extremely interesting and user friendly graphs and sidebars such as The Toll of the Trail and and reports from the various teams who climbed five different sections of the trail. In addition there are checklists, sidebars on the mountains and trail itself, from history and maintenance.
As a photojournalist and features writer for my local newspaper for four years, I especially enjoyed the graphs and sidebars, realizing how difficult it is to create one compressing the most relevant information
into an easy to comprehend yet attractive form.  I was encouraged to create some sort of sidebar for each feature article I wrote and found them to be a fun, but sometimes difficult challenge.  So I can appreciate the work these teams went into, often having to write, shoot and create the files to send to their editors right from the trail.
Each team also has different approaches and styles in telling of their first hand experiences based on what part of the trail they hiked and their individual personalities.I believe this book would be a great incentive and preparation for any future thru-hiker, more philosophical and inspirational perhaps than a guide to plan the day to day aspects of a hike. \
And even more so, I think, even more this book will be a type of support to family and friends missing their thru-hikers.  I borrowed this book from the library three times over the course of Loner's trek and then ended up buying it.  It gives Kendall, my granddaughter, a view of the hike, from a different perspective of Loner's videos and gave me more insight to many of the facts and helpful knowledge about the Appalachian Trail and what a thru-hike entails so I can more fully understand what Loner experiences throughout hiking the various states and mountain ranges.
Plus, even though I haven't written for a newspaper in years, I do enjoy it from a professional angle because our newspaper would never think of taking on a project this size.  It must have taken a heck of a lot of time just to arrange it through the five papers, The Atlanta Jounral-Constitution, The News and Observer of Raleigh, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Hartford Courant and the Maine Sunday Telegram. And that's not c0jsidering the complexity and time to deal with the logistics. In addition, I know of few journalists who would volunteer for such a job. Each team's story was published in their newspaper before the publication of the book, so they had to think on two different levels - from writing a feature story to writing a chapter in an anthology.  That's a tough call, and I wonder how much communication they had with the other teams as they went along to keep the book cohesive and then there's the difficult job of the editor and photo editor.  This is a monumental effort, and as a previous editor I can't imagine taking on such a complex challenge.
It's one of those books, you can pi9ck up o0ver and over, check out a section or just enjoy the photography. 

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