Literary Mixtape: Wild

I recently stumbled across the idea of a literary mixtape, thanks to Kate and Rory, who have produced some excellent specimens.  I love this idea!

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.

9781782394877-smallWild, 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?

This is a site about books and about tea, and how we should read more books and drink more tea. Sometimes, it's hard to know what books to read and what tea to drink. This is where I can help out.


  1. Yay! Mixtapes are fun, aren’t they?
    I haven’t actually read this book but have heard good things and I liked the quotes you selected (plus th songs to go with them).

    • I’m indebted to you for bringing this concept to my attention. If you do ever read it let me know what you think. I reckon it could go either way- she seems to have an enormous fan base and a huge ‘not-fan’ base. Think she’s on at Bendigo writers Festival if you’re heading there.

  2. I like your song selections! Wild is on my list of books to read for a summer reading challenge I’m doing. I saw most of the film on a long haul flight – missed the last five minutes because of turbulence as we came in to land – so I need to know what happens to her. The film was better than I was expecting, and I’m looking forward to the book.

    • Ive heard the film is good – I mean to watch it soon. We did this book for one of my book groups and it did have a mixed reception. I think it depends if you gravitate to her as a person. Enjoy it!

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