Instead of a review or a synopsis, I’m hoping my version of a literary mixtape gives you a flavour of the book. By pairing songs with passages from the book you can then decide whether it’s for you, and have a bit of a groove while you’re at it.
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed wasn’t a book I thought I’d like – but I did. I’m still not sure how she made 300 pages (of pretty small text) about walking in some mountains into a cohesive narrative, but I found it pretty enjoyable. Although, I should say that out there in the interweb, there are some people who really, really don’t like this book.
These Boots are Made for Walkin’, Nancy Sinatra
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… 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 Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love, Sun Kil Moon
My hike on the Pacific Crest Trail hadn’t began when I made the snap decision to do it. It had begun before I even imagined it; precisely four years, seven months, and three days before, when I’d stood in a little room at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, and learned that my mother was going to die.
California Soul, Marlena Shaw
It was clear sailing through the rest of California, I supposed. Then through Oregon to Washington.
Books are Burning, XTC
I’d watched Faulkner’s name disappear into the flames feeling it was a bit like a sacrilege – never had I dreamed that I would be burning books – but I was desperate to lighten my load.
How, Regina Spektor
Leaving Paul and destroying our marriage and life as I knew it for the simple and inexplicable reason that I felt I had to.
Blood Sugar Sex Majik, Red Hot Chilli Peppers
It was a version of myself I’d first tasted way back when I was a child of eleven and I’d felt that prickly rush of power when grown men would turn their heads to look at me or whistle or say Hey pretty baby just loudly enough that I could hear.
Cold Turkey, John Lennon
How I’d ended up shooting heroin with him in spite of the fact that I hadn’t touched it since that time he’d come to visit me in Minneapolis six months before…
‘Give me your ankle’, Joe had said when he couldn’t find a vein in my arm.
500 Miles, The Proclaimers
‘Looks like you’ve been backpacking.’
‘Yes. On the Pacific Crest Trail. I walked over eleven hundred miles,’ I said, too excited to contain myself. ‘I just finished my trip this morning.’
Friends who’ve read Wild, what would you add to this list? For those who haven’t, does this make you want to read it, or duck ‘n’ weave it?