The Pacific Crest Trail (aka the PCT) stretches approximately 2,650 miles from the Mexican to the Canadian border. It travels through various terrains, including the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range. At age 26, Cheryl Strayed hiked from the Mojave Desert to the Bridge of the Gods alone, traveling around one thousand miles. “Wild” tells the extraordinary story of her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. Although she hiked the trail in 1995, “Wild” was published in 2012, and since then her book has been quite the success, becoming a #1 New York Times Bestseller.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paolo Coelho in “The Alchemist”
By all accounts, Clay Jensen seems like an ordinary, run of the mill high school student. But of course, that is how good stories begin. One day Clay returns home from school to find a box with his name on it and thirteen cassette tapes. These tapes were recorded by his classmate and crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Clay is given a burden that he will struggle through. Hannah recorded thirteen tapes with the thirteen people outlining the reasons why she is dead. The tapes are passed from person one to person thirteen and only to the people who Hannah blames and talks about on the tapes. Hannah outlines her journey through the last couple of years via a map and landmarks, instructing the listener to go to each landmark as it is discussed. Though it pains him to do so, Clay will battle to listen to all thirteen tapes and follow Hannah’s instructions to different places all around town. From cafes to libraries and gas stations, Clay will piece together the mystery of why Hannah is gone and why his name is on the tapes too.
Many people have seen the movie, but much fewer have read the book. “The Princess Bride” (1973) by William Goldman is everything that the movie is and more. Although lengthy, it is worth the read. Goldman claims that his book is the abridgement of “The Princess Bride” by S. Morgenstern which his father read to him as a child. That book does not exist, but Goldman’s claim of his version of “The Princess Bride” having only the good bits is definitely true. That claim helps Goldman tell the story with a narrative twist on the classic style of the novel.
Don Tillman is definitely not a typical protagonist. A professor of genetics at a prestigious university, he prepares Lobster, Mango, and Avocado salad every Tuesday, once memorized the Periodic Table for fun, and uses a giant whiteboard to schedule out his time literally to the minute. Don lives his life as a science…until a spontaneous, fun-loving woman by the name of Rosie comes crashing into his life. As Don and Rosie take on one challenge after the next in Graeme Simsion’s “The Rosie Project,” readers will find themselves captivated by one man’s unexpected journey of spontaneous fun, irrational attraction, and ultimately, true love.
Salman Rushdie has written a variety of adult books including “Midnight’s Children” and “The Satanic Verses.” While these books are great reads, they are complicated, long, and at times very confusing. “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” (1990) is the lightest and most accessible of Rushdie’s books. It was written for Rushdie’s son after Rushdie was separated from him for a significant period of time. Although this book could technically be categorized as a book for young adults, it tackles important societal problems (that are especially relevant in India, Rushdie’s home country) and has themes that are relevant to people of all ages.
The novel “The Ways of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson is an incredible book worth picking up. It is a perfect book for anyone who loves a good fantasy book featuring well developed, complex characters and unpredictable plot lines. While the one thousand pages that make it up can seem a little daunting, the story makes it completely worth it. “The Way of Kings” is a complex book that just keeps throwing new twists in, just to keep readers interested.
Oftentimes, the word “autobiography” can seem off-putting at best. Fortunately, “The Heart and The Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL” by Eric Greitens defies any notions the of self-serving narcissism that readers often fear when cracking open an autobiography.
“A Feast of Fire and Ice: The Official Companion Cookbook to A Game of Thrones” is a cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, the owners of the website Inn at the Crossroads. The cookbook aims to expand on what the website has and currently does, in that it recreates recipes for food described in the “Song of Fire and Ice” book series, from which the “Game of Thrones” television show is adapted from, by using cookbooks from the Middle Ages and making modification to those recipes based on the various locations and cultures within the fictional Westeros and Essos as well as to better accommodate the modern kitchen.