Welcome back to my Nonfiction Book Party!
Grab your boots, trail mix, and some water because it’s National Take a Hike Day! Today’s featured books are a combination of memoir, self-discovery, and how-to guide. From the Pacific Crest Trail to the Alaskan Arctic to the forests of Maine, these books share each author’s unique journey as they search for clarity, solitude, and healing. In Adventures in Opting Out, the author cleverly suggests there is a parallel between taking a different path in life and the mental work it takes to summit a mountain. The five-point journey starts at the base, progresses to the viewpoint, moves into a valley, and then up a final slope to the summit.
Title: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Synopsis: At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered, and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State–and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
- Add to Goodreads
- Website: CherylStrayed.com
- Article: 14 Cheryl Strayed Quotes That Will Inspire You to Live Boldly
Title: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
Author: Michael Finkel
Synopsis: Many people dream of escaping modern life. Most will never act on it–but in 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight did just that when he left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another person for the next twenty-seven years.
Drawing on extensive interviews with Knight himself, journalist Michael Finkel shows how Knight lived in a tent in a secluded encampment, developing ingenious ways to store provisions and stave off frostbite during the winters. A former alarm technician, he stealthily broke into nearby cottages for food, books, and supplies, taking only what he needed but sowing unease in a community plagued by his mysterious burglaries. Since returning to the world, he has faced unique challenges–and compelled us to reexamine our assumptions about what makes a good life. By turns riveting and thought-provoking, The Stranger in the Woods gives us a deeply moving portrait of a man determined to live his own way.
Title: The Sun Is a Compass: My 4,000-Mile Journey Into the Alaskan Wilds
Author: Caroline Van Hemert
Synopsis: For fans of Cheryl Strayed, the gripping story of a biologist’s human-powered journey from the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic to rediscover her love of birds, nature, and adventure.
During graduate school, as she conducted experiments on the peculiarly misshapen beaks of chickadees, ornithologist Caroline Van Hemert began to feel stifled in the isolated, sterile environment of the lab. Worried that she was losing her passion for the scientific research she once loved, she was compelled to experience wildness again, to be guided by the sounds of birds, and to follow the trails of animals.
In March of 2012, she and her husband set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic, traveling by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe. Together, they survived harrowing dangers while also experiencing incredible moments of joy and grace — migrating birds silhouetted against the moon, the steamy breath of caribou, and the bond that comes from sharing such experiences.
A unique blend of science, adventure, and personal narrative, The Sun is a Compass explores the bounds of the physical body and the tenuousness of life in the company of the creatures who make their homes in the wildest places left in North America. Inspiring and beautifully written, this love letter to nature is a lyrical testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
- Add to Goodreads
- Website: Author website
- News article: How a Year of Living Off the Grid With Kids Helped Prepare Me for the Global Pandemic
Title: Adventures in Opting Out: A Field Guide to Leading an Intentional Life
Author: Cait Flanders
Synopsis: We all follow our own path in life. At least, that’s what we’re told. In reality, many of us either do what is expected of us or follow the invisible but well-worn paths that lead to what is culturally acceptable. For some, those paths are fine — even great. But they leave some of us feeling disconnected from ourselves and what we really want. When that discomfort finally outweighs the fear of trying something new, we’re ready to opt-out.
In Adventures in Opting Out, she offers a trail map to help you with both. As you’ll see, reaching the first viewpoint can be easy — and it offers a glimpse of what you’re walking toward. Climbing to the summit for the full view is worth it. But in the space between those two peaks, you will enter a world completely unknown to you, and that is the most difficult part of the path to navigate.
With Flanders’s guidance and advice, drawn from her own journey and stories of others, you’ll have all the encouragement and insight you’ll need to take the path less traveled and create the life you want. Just step up to the trailhead and expect it to be an adventure.
- Add to Goodreads
- Website: Author website
- News article: Do you want a change, but feel like you shouldn’t jinx things going so well? Author, podcaster and adventurer, Cait Flanders, shares three reasons why it’s OK to make a life change – even when life is good
What is the Nonfiction Book Party? All month long I’ll be sharing newly released nonfiction titles and some of my 5-star favorites too! Join me on Instagram for an epic book party with an amazing prize pack. Tag all your posts #NonfictionBookParty
Bloggers: Make sure to blog along with DoingDeweyDecimal, JulzReads, What’s NonFiction, and Shelf Aware and follow #NonFicNov. Over on BookTube, get the details on #NonfictionNovember20 and join the Goodreads Group here.
Want to see which books I’ve posted about in previous years? (And which books are STILL on my list?!)
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