I will only warn you once. If you bump into me on the street, or for that matter EVER have a conversation with me (it’s hard, I consider myself socially awkward), don’t bring up books. Don’t even mention that you CAN read.
Unless of course you want to, then I will gladly welcome a 5 hour conversation on things like how much I hate Hemingway (sexist!) and how the Kindle will be the death of me (technology!). Yes, I lean on the Neo-Luddite side… romantically speaking. Books may be the one thing in this world I am truly good at. Reading, that is. The apex of all book reading? Books with a strong connection to nature. Books that make you want to reject all things of this world and get lost the woods that are lovely dark and deep. Books that make you feel like you could be best friends with a jolly big jungle bear, and no! he would never eat you for supper. Silly bear.
The books that made me as a kid were ones like Where the Red Fern Grows and Sign of the Beaver. Julie of the Wolves. And let’s not forget faithful ‘ole White Fang. See a pattern here? As I grew (taller), not much has changed. Perhaps the vocabulary in the books I’m reading now sounds more sophisticated, but it sends the same message: You belong to the wild. ::signal wild Loon sound::
Theses days, I read books with nature themes to remind myself that life is not all about working, and sleeping, and eating. (I haven’t quite been successful.) And that we are not just a bunch of sheep going about our day in the city to get the bills paid and perhaps drink a few straight double whiskeys at the local watering hole. Books that inspire me about the outdoors are like candy. Delightful, slow melting candy that leaves a lasting finesse on my tongue. They make me want the real thing. Enter: Bill Bryson. My hero. I mean, this guy has to be a genius. I’ve read a few of his books and I always finish the last page, close the book, and think; how the hell does that guy know everything about everything? I’ve read about the dinosaurs, the death of Native American language, where English catch-phrases come from, how a “house” got to be a “house”, Babe Ruth and Charles Lindbergh, the Great Depression, the scale on which our universe operates, and at the VERY least, how insignificant humans are to our Earth’s history… so far. If we can manage not to destroy it. I mean damn Bill, leave some for the rest of us. But seriously, if you haven’t read A Walk in The Woods by Bill Bryson, you are missing out. It is by far one of the most hilarious books I have ever picked up. And it’s about the Appalachian Trail. Double whammy.
And then there’s Thoreau. You sassy man, you. Think you can just escape the world and live by a pond? Me too. One day, when I have kids, I’m dragging them out to the middle of nowhere to be raised and writing the next great Walden. That no one will read. “Near the end of May, the sand cherry (Cerasus pumila) adorned the sides of the path with its delicate stems, which last, in the fall, weighed down with good-sized and handsome cherries, fell over in wreaths like rays on every side. I tasted them out of compliment to Nature, though they were scarcely palatable.” Did you envision a glowing sunset scene too when you skimmed that? I did. Walden, for me, is about taking your time and feeling what Thoreau is writing. And pretending you lived back in that time. Or is that just me?
My last mention of outdoorsy books will have to be Twilight by Susan Meyers. Kidding. Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, I read all of them. Yes, I’m on Team Jacob. Yes, I hate the movies. No, this does not negate all the opinions I have ever had about literature. TO EACH HER OWN!
Now, the last mention I have is Wild by Cheryl Strayed. There are three major trails I would love to thru-hike one day. The Appalachian Trail, The Conntinental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. (For some reason I just heard the dun-dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnnnnn creepy music in my head.) Cheryl Strayed wrote Wild about her experience on the PCT. And experience it was. Let’s use an analogy to sum this book up.
Cougar : poor defenseless human :: hiking the PCT : Cheryl Strayed
I think I did that right. The point is, Cheryl starts out alone on this MAMMOTH of a trail as a novice and is running from all the hurt in her life. The trail (as it usually does) kicks her ass into shape and changes her life. It makes me feel like it’s all worth dropping and setting out and doing it myself. Then I just look at my dog. How could I leave that slobber monster.
I hope you guys share the same love as I do for a great read. Otherwise this whole post was pointless. If you want to talk about what books inspire you, or have some suggestions for me to read, send me a smoke signal. I’ll be waiting.
P.P.P.P.S: Shout out to my sweet fella for teaching me how to use a fancy camera and contribute some of the photos he took to my bloggy. I owe you one… half of the beer that’s left in the fridge.