"Ten Million Steps (1/5) Nimblewill Nomad's epic journey from Florida to Canada. The guy is a legend, but his book didn't really do it for me. Very spiritual but did not really capture the details of the trail."
Lil' Budda did this trip last year; you can read about that journey on his trail journal at http://www.trailjournals.com/about.cfm?trailname=9885
He writes well, IMO, and is a fun guy in general.
I met Nimblewill Nomad a couple of times on the PCT in 2008, got to know Lil' Budda slightly better on the AT last year, so that perhaps alters my perceptions. In general I'm a lot more interested in reading trail journals of people that I know than books written by strangers. Though I guess I did meet the guy hiking the PCT with his daughter, I think I met them the year after they did their thru-hike.
Bottom line is that there are a lot of trail journals out there, suited to various tastes, primarily on trailjournals.com and postholer.com. My own journals tend to be pretty verbose, per-day entries. Some folks work to be quite witty, others focus on specific aspects of the trail, some do a better job at describing flora & fauna, etc etc. Though most journals are aimed primarily at friends and family, I think it can be worth finding a few journals that you like on trails that you're interested in. I don't know how to find "best" (if there is such a thing) journals on trailjournals.com, though I think there's one or more whiteblaze thread on that topic. On postholer.com you can do a search on a particular trail and a particular year for the most "journal visits", a hit count if you will. This doesn't necessarily mean "best", but at least it turns up perhaps "more popular" journals.
One kind of nice thing about trail journals IMO is that they're typically un-edited; things are a bit more "fresh", raw/gritty. For better or worse, I guess.
In any event, I've never felt inclined to read any of the books. I did read Bill Bryson's book, and as you or someone else pointed out, not really too inspiring in comparing that to writings by folks who have actually walked these trails, though of course funny and a quick read. Got it for a Christmas present and was sort of glad that I read it just so I knew what everyone else was so often referring along the way with various references to it.