“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ― Oscar Wilde
If can’t be outside doing it, I’m reading about it. Nighttime, bad weather days, long airplane rides… These are the times I bury myself in a good book. While not all of my reading material relates to the outdoors, a majority does. Sometimes I have two or three books going at once and pick up the one that fits my mood at the moment. Did I mention I’m a tad ADHD? I also like shiny rocks.
Here are my recent favorite reads, divided by outdoor and general topics.
NOLS Wilderness Wisdom: Quotes for Inspirational Exploration
If you follow my Instagram feed you’ll see a bunch of quotes ripped from the pages of this book. I pour over it looking for the quote that fits my mood at that moment. It’s like a black hole for me. I open the book and find 30 minutes have passed and I’m running late.
Tales and Trails of Krispy Kritter, by Wayne Petrovich
I was meandering through Mountain Crossings in Neels Gap, reminiscing over the last time I arrived there on foot via the Appalachian Trail, when I spotted someone I knew – on a book cover. Wayne works at Travel Country Outdoors where I’ve shopped for years. He’s a long distance hiker with great stories to share. His book includes an inspiring collection of them, including his AT thru-hikes. A great read!
Mountain Rescue Doctor: Wilderness Medicine in the Extremes of Nature, by Christopher Van Tilburg
An ER doctor based in Hood River, Oregon, Van Tilburg shares his experiences on the Crag Rat wilderness rescue team. You’ll find yourself unable to set the book down as he shares raw and personal stories of rescues and recoveries. His style is candid and unglamorous, even relaying the impact his volunteering had on his family life. I nearly got back into search and rescue this year thanks to this book, and then I remembered I write for five blogs, have a job, and might want to have a life.
Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, by Brendan Brazier
Okay, this isn’t story, but it’s a great book on health and nutrition. Even if you have no plans for a vegan diet, you’ll learn a lot about sports nutrition in general. It also includes over 100 recipes, including natural energy gels, sports drinks and recovery foods.
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, by Anne Lamott
There is no easy way to describe how good of a read this book is. All I can say is, if you’re a parent, you will find yourself laughing out loud and talking to yourself as you read this book. Anne Lamott describes in gritty detail her first year as a mom, who is also a recovering alcoholic with supportive friends who also have their own struggles. At one point I was laughing so hard reading next to a campfire, that my friends grabbed the book to see what was so funny. “Oh s**t, that’s hysterical, oh my…” they exclaimed. All I can say is, parents need to read this book.
Okay, this isn’t a read, it’s a write, but I spend a crazy amount of time with this book. As you can derive from my writing on this site, I’ve been doing a lot of self-exploration over the last year, much of it while hiking. I also meditate and journal at home. I’ve filled yellow pads and tacky note books with my mental wanderings in penmanship that would lead some to believe I’m either illiterate or missed my calling as a doctor. Lately I’ve been writing a beautiful Louise Carey journal given to me by a gal friend. It makes me smile, and I really relish writing in it while drinking my morning coffee. My point, if you like to journal, treat yourself to inspiring tools.
Now it’s your turn. Please share your favorite reads in the comments below…
There are NO affiliate links in this post. Amazon just happens to have all of the books I listed.
Currently finishing ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed, and really loving it.
‘This Game of Ghosts’ by Scottish mountaineer Joe Simpson is a must for anyone who loves the mountains.
‘On Foot Through Africa’ by Ffyona Campbell
‘Into Thin Air’ by Joe Krakauer, one of several accounts of the 1996 Everest disaster. Moving.
Thanks for sharing your list! 🙂