I read lots of different kinds of books (as well as blogs, magazines, online newspapers, celebrity gossip sites, and oh yeah – heaps of academic journals and textbooks… sometimes I don’t know how I have room for my own words in my head when it’s so filled with other people’s rants).
The only type of books I don’t read are crime novels. Booooooring. There’s a murder/disappearance, a detective/policeman/PI, and a villain (always the one the author means for you not to suspect). Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I thought I’d start rounding up the books I’m enjoying the most this year. I know, I know, it’s not even September yet, but just the thought of making lists like these in December – which appears to be kind of mandatory for bloggers – makes me feel exhausted. I’m getting off to a head-start. I’m thinking I’ll probably divide this into categories, and I’ll start with…
…the ones who are on a journey
I find reading about other people’s adventures, travels and journeys incredibly uplifting. These are the three books about adventure that I enjoyed the most so far this year, and I would be so stoked if you had any tips or recommendations for me! Drop me a sentence in the comments 😉
1 // Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I’ve been wanting to read this book since 2007, given that the Sean Penn-directed film adaptation is one of my all-time favorite movies. And that’s saying a lot, cause I’m a serious film buff and discussing movies is probably the only time that I don’t idly throw around terms like “greatest”, “best” and “favorite”. But you know, life happened, and it wasn’t until six years later that I found the time to read the book by Jon Krakauer.
It chronicles the true story of young Chris McCandless who came from a well-off family in West Virginia, but didn’t quite want to “give in” to society and its expectations of him. After graduating Emerson University in 1991, he gave away all his money and almost all his possessions and started traveling the country, basically running away from modern Western society. In the spring of 1992 he hitch-hiked to Alaska and walked into the wild by himself. He was found dead out there in the wilderness the following fall.
The book uses McCandless’ own journal to tell the story of his last months out in the Alaskan wilderness, and narratives from his family as well as all the people he met on his travels around the country, to try and make sense of the whole tragedy.
Loved it, loved it, loved it. This story is so dear to me, for some reason. This kid, and his life, really made an impression on me ever since the first time I saw the movie a long time ago. Whatever your interpretation of McCandless’ actions are and however you feel about it, Into the Wild will definitely make you think.
2 // Wild by Cheryl Strayed
This was one of the most successful books of last year, so there’s plenty of reviews and Oprah interviews floating around the web for you to look at. Basically it’s a memoir by a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (from the Mexican border to the Canadian border) by herself in the 90s.
Yes, I realize I’m being a little bit self-involved as usual, but here’s how this book relates back to me:
Back in 2007 I watched Into the Wild (see above) for the first time. And in a montage of some of the places McCandless’ passed through on his journeys in North America, there is a short clip – probably 5 to 10 seconds total – of him on the Pacific Crest Trail. The moment I saw it, I jumped up in my seat and my mouth dropped. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I. Have. To. Go. There.
Since then, I’ve been fascinated with the PCT and have watched plenty of Youtube documentaries and read blogs online about people doing it. I just know somehow that I’m meant to go there – maybe not to do the hole 3-4 month trek, but at least a section of it and to see it with my own eyes. And last year, the lovely Cheryl Strayed published a book about hiking the PCT alone as a female, and I nearly lost my shit.
This is a sign, I thought.
Don’t read this, Mom, but truth be told, the PCT has been one of the top 5 on my bucket list for six years now and it is happening. Don’t know when, don’t know how, but it’s happening.
3 // the Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman
Another memoir! Whohoo!
So this one’s by an American chick who was always the typical good-girl, and felt like she had to experience some sort of adventure before real life would set in after graduating college. She went to Ireland by herself for one summer where she met a free-spirited Australian girl who would become her friend and partner-in-crime in future travel adventures. The book is basically divided into 3 parts: Ireland, Australia, and South America – the three places these two girls backpacked together.
I read this on the plane on my way over to Oz and loved reading about Rachel’s travels in Australia, of course. But the most exciting part was by far reading about their travels in South America! Especially because they split up and actually spent the first weeks traveling by themselves, which is something I’ve always wished I had the balls to do. I’ve done my fair share of moving new places, taking little trips, and generally doing stuff on my own, but I’ve never undertaken a longer trip by myself.
I have so much respect and awe for the people who go backpacking on a different continent by themselves (especially women), and I not-so-secretly hope that I’ll have the courage to do it someday (soon!).
What books, fiction or non-fiction, about journeys or adventure have you read lately that you loved?