My New Favorite Book: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

WildTP_Books-330I love books. I love reading and learning new things. I typically have several books on my nightstand and will randomly read sections from each of them. I catch myself saying I’ve read a book when I really mean I’ve read through or skimmed a book. I call this reading the good parts. I skim chapters and slow down when something catches my attention that I find interesting.  Some of you are smiling because you know what I’m talking about and some of you are grimacing because you can’t imagine what I’m talking about. 

All the same, this is how I enjoy books and many topics. If I’m reading non-fiction this process works really well.  This doesn’t work as well if I’m reading fiction.  Attempting to follow a story is not as easy to skim through.  So I don’t read much fiction or books that tell stories. When it happens that a book holds my attention I think it’s worth sharing. A friend of mine mentioned an author named Cheryl Strayed.  Her name alone caught my attention.  Was that her real name? Cheryl strayed? She has written several books and my friend went on and on about what an interesting story she told.  She has been interviewed by Oprah and many others. 

In her book Wild, Cheryl shares her life story about making a random decision to hike 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail to attempt to “find herself”. She also shares how she got the name Cheryl Strayed.  It’s her real name but one that she actually picked for herself.  I was fascinated by what my friend was telling me so I went home that night and downloaded the book on my kindle and begin to read and read and read. I couldn’t put it down. I read every word. I laughed… out loud and I cried. Sometimes I laughed and cried at the same time. Below is just a small sample but you’ll get how captivating her writing is.

Sample of the prologue from the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed:

"The trees were tall, but I was taller, standing above them on a steep mountain slope in northern California. Moments before, I’d removed my hiking boots and the left one had fallen into those trees, first catapulting into the air when my enormous backpack toppled onto it, then skittering across the gravelly trail and flying over the edge. It bounced off of a rocky outcropping several feet beneath me before disappearing into the forest canopy below, impossible to retrieve. I let out a stunned gasp, though I’d been in the wilderness thirty-eight days and by then I’d come to know that anything could happen and that everything would. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t shocked when it did.

My boot was gone. Actually gone.

I clutched its mate to my chest like a baby, though of course it was futile. What is one boot without the other boot? It is nothing. It is useless, an orphan forevermore, and I could take no mercy on it. It was a big lug of a thing, of genuine heft, a brown leather Raichle boot with red lace and silver metal fasts. I lifted it high and threw it with all my might and watched it fall into the lush trees and out of my life.

I was alone. I was barefoot….

I looked north….. I looked south, to where I’d been, to the wild land that had schooled and scorched me, and considered my options. There was only one, I knew. There was only one.

To keep walking."

If reading is not your thing, watch for the movie December 5th. Reese Witherspoon is playing Cheryl Strayed in Wild.  Watch the trailer on You Tube.  Should be a good one, I can’t wait!

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