Karen’s Books

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America’s Great Hiking Trails

  • Published by Rizzoli (2014 ) and by National Geographic (in German)
  • 2014  New York Times Travel Bestseller
  • Lowell Thomas Gold Award winner
  • 2015  Foreword Magazine/IndieFab “Book of the Year 2014” 
    Gold  Medal in  Adventure  and Recreation 
  • Society of American Travel Writers (East): Gold Award for Best Book 
  • 2015 Barnes and Noble: “Top Book Picks 2014″
  • Yahoo: “One of the year’s best books for travel” 
  • Vail Daily (Colorado): “Best outdoor book of the year”

A celebration of America’s national scenic trails, this lavish coffee table book features photography by Bart Smith, an introduction by Bill McKibben, and essays about America’s great long-distance hiking trails.

More info from Rizzoli

The Pacific Crest Trail

A Hiker’s Companion
Countryman/​W.W. Norton, 2000; Second edition published in 2014

Karen Berger and Daniel R. Smith break the PCT into 18 sections. For each one, they tell you about the route, gear, seasonal considerations, what you’ll see (history and natural features), thru-hiker considerations, trailheads, resupplies, best hikes, and thru-hiker info.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Piano Exercises

Alpha Books, 2011

In addition to writing the text, Karen composed and recorded the music for this book of piano exercises. The book introduces the reader to a wide range of piano techniques, including fingering strategies, cross-hand playing, scales and arpeggios, syncopation, polyrhythms, and transposition.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Teaching Music on Your Own

Alpha Books, 2010

How to market, operate, and manage an independent music teaching studio.

Be Prepared: Hiking and Backpacking

DK, 2007,  in cooperation with Boy Scouts of America

An outdoors primer based on Karen’s 2005 title, Backpacking and Hiking.

The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Piano Chords

Alpha Books, 2006

Ever wonder how people can “just sit down and play songs” on the piano? This book reveals the secrets to “faking” it — playing by means of chords symbols.  But shhhh… don’t let anyone tell you it’s “music theory.”

Backpacking and Hiking

DK Eyewitness Companion, 2005

Beautifully illustrated, chock-full of facts, and up-to-date with pictures of the latest gear and techniques and destination information for hikes around the world.

This book has been published in 12 languages: French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, and English. The American edition includes write-ups of more than a hundred US parks and trails; the European editions include more than 100 European parks and trails.

Hiking Light Handbook

Carry Less, Enjoy More
Mountaineers Books with Backpacker magazine, 2004

This book is written for anyone who has ever lugged a too-heavy pack up a too-steep hill.

Contains safe, sane strategies for reducing packweight without sacrificing comfort or safety.

More Everyday Wisdom

Trail Tested Advice from the Experts
Mountaineers Books with Backpacker magazine, 2002

This books assumes you’ve got a little bit of trail mileage — and a lot of questions. Based on hundreds of questions hikers have asked in lectures, on the trail, and via letters and the Internet.

Hiking & Backpacking

A Complete Guide
W.W. Norton, 1995, Updated edition: October 2002

Written in cooperation with PBS’s award-winning TV show, Trailside, this is one of the best-selling hiking books in America. Covers planning, food, destinations, gear, camping, and more. More than 125,000 copies in print.

Hiking the Triple Crown

How to Hike America’s Longest Trails
Mountaineers Books, 2001

Only about two dozen people have completed thru-hikes of the Triple Crown — the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide National Scenic Trails. Karen is one of them. In this book, she shares the knowledge gleaned from hiking nearly 8,000 miles of some of the best wilderness in America.

Scuba Diving

A Complete Guide (Trailside series)
W.W. Norton, 2000

The only YMCA/​Scuba-sanctioned guide to the wonders of the underwater world. Trailside’s Scuba Diving is a comprehensive diving guide that covers the information standard in all certification courses, with chapters on gear, dive planning, safety and first aid, the science of diving and how it affects the human body, diving techniques, the underwater environment, using dive tables and computers.

Along the Pacific Crest Trail

Westcliffe, 1998

Karen Berger and Daniel R. Smith tell the story of their 2.700-mile PCT thru-hike. Bart Smith takes photos that bring the trail to life.

Where the Waters Divide

A 3000-Mile Trek Along America’s Continental Divide
Harmony/​Crown 1993; Countryman/​W.W. Norton, 1997
Book of the Month Club Dividend Selection

Karen Berger and Daniel R. Smith thru-hike the 3,000-mile Continental Divide from Mexico to Canada and learn about nature, history, local politics, environmental issues, and the kindness of strangers.

Everyday Wisdom

1001 Expert Tips for Hikers
Mountaineers Books with Backpacker magazine 1997

Written in co-operation with Backpacker magazine, this book contains useful tips on everything from outdoor cooking to repairing broken gear in the field. Covers basic skills and a host of in-field improvisations.

Advanced Backpacking

A Trailside Guide
W.W. Norton, 1997
Finalist: Banff International Mountain Books Competition

Sequel to Hiking and Backpacking with more indepth info about winter, long-distance, leading groups, foreign trips, foul weather, and alpine hiking.

Karen's Books