The moment I walked into REI — the legendary outdoor store/co-op — every authentic outdoors-man in the joint glanced at one another and muttered: “another Wild -devotee.” (OK, maybe a slight exaggeration, but it felt like it.) And the fact is, I have read Wild — a few times; and yes it is the predominant contributing factor in turning what was once a vaguely recreational love of fresh air into a full-blown hiking obsession.
Yesterday, in fact, I completed a 4.2-mile hike in five-inch wedge boots, after which I realized my fear of seeming a phony in the outdoor store finally paled in comparison to my fear of the very real possibility that I was going to have to leave my feet in the woods. So my blisters and I hobbled to REI, where a gentleman who looked like he could build a mountain, and therefore certainly climb one, took ahold of my toes, did some complicated geometry, shoved the exact boot that would meet my burgeoning-hiker’s needs onto my foot, and then asked me if I’d read Wild. So, I’d been found out.
The point is, this is what we book-lovers do: we read and we read and we read; we become smitten with written landscapes and people and endeavors, convinced we must have them for ourselves. And then we go out into the world (or woods) to discover such things off the page, and sometimes we end up looking foolish because we have no idea what we’re actually doing. But I’ve decided that’s fine — I share this story with you not as a cautionary tale against the siren song of literature, but only to let you know you’re not alone.
Ever wondered what your favorite book says about you? (At least, in this humble writer’s opinion.) Check out the list below.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Whether you've always loved the laugh-out-loud antics of Scout and Jem, or were reintroduced to this childhood classic after Go Set A Watchman hit shelves, there's no doubt that a true To Kill A Mockingbird lover is great at balancing an unflinching sense of justice with a great sense of humor. Perhaps you yearn for a simpler time when summer break still spanned from June until September, and children could run around the neighborhood barefoot; or maybe you model your personal moral code after the inimitable Atticus Finch. Either way, if this book is your fave, you're in great readerly company.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
If Pride and Prejudice is your go-to read, you're definitely a gal ahead of her time — one who says what she things, balks at the thought of living according to society’s rules, and who will never marry for any reason other than love. You've probably got a little of that old-school romance style, and are far more likely to get into a debate on the first date than share a first kiss. You keep doing you, girlfriend.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
If any of the Harry Potter books land at the top of your favorite reads list, you've definitely done a great job of maintaining your childhood sense of whimsy and wonder. Go you. If Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is your absolute fave, you're definitely not one to go for a damsel in distress plot line. The Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood tag-team make this the most feminist-friendly of all the Harry Potter books, IMO.
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Fans of Sister Outsider aren't readers to shy away from a good ol' ideological kick in the pants every once in awhile. Having this politically and emotionally electric collection of essays on your shelf means that there’s no subject you’re not afraid to tackle, and you’ll definitely stand strong for what you believe in. You’re also probably a bit of an activist. Keep on keeping on, you.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
If you’re the kind of lass who casually drops the fact that Gone Girl is your favorite book at dinner parties, you probably don’t mind making a bit of a stir. Sure, you’re witty, powerful, and at least one step ahead of everyone you know — but you might also be a bit conniving and high-strung. It’s great that you don’t take anyone’s crap, but there’s also definitely more peaceful ways of solving interpersonal strife than tapping into the antics of Evil Amy. Tread lightly here.
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
If Like Water for Chocolate is the title for you, you’re definitely no stranger to passion — or the kitchen, for that matter. Though you might put professional or familial obligations first, you’re not one to give up on romance, no matter how long you might have to wait. You’re also totally into explosive, dramatic finales.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
I'm being punked... right? JK, you're totally allowed to have this novel as your fave; let your freak flag fly, friend. But really, you'll have to explain this one to yourself. I got nothing.
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
Curling up in bed with a copy of The Holy Barbarians , for the hundredth time, either means you’re a die-hard Gilmore Girls fan just waiting for your Jess to come along (because this title was one of the first they fell in lust over) or you were totally born in the wrong decade. A hemp necklace, fringe vest, and Marianne Faithful bangs are definitely your go-to look on a Friday night. The Venice Beach of today will never live up to your bohemian fantasies — but that hardly means you shouldn’t still traipse up and down it wistfully, every chance you get.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
As a lover of The Little Prince you’ve done a bang-up job of maintaining your youthful sense of awe and imagination. You’re probably a bit of a searcher — one who regards everyone you meet as a teacher, if you only stick around long enough to learn what lessons they have to offer. You probably find a lot of your peers disappointing, and feel like you’ve been gifted with a secret of life that few fellow humans possess yet. Be patient, the rest of us will catch up eventually.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
You, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo fan, have got a dark side and you’re not afraid to show it, tattoos and all. You’re probably a bit of an adrenaline junkie, too, and you’re definitely a survivor. Rules aren’t really your thing, if you’re seeking out the answer to a question you’ll leave no stone unturned, and there’s literally no one who can outsmart you — so wield those powers wisely.
Wallflower at the Orgy by Nora Ephron
Chances are if Wallflower at the Orgy is your favorite, you’re well-versed in the teachings of Nora Ephron — and therefore kind of fabulous. You tend to regard everyone and everything around you with sincere amusement, and you’re also not afraid to laugh at yourself. You have a keen sense of irony and a well-developed talent for storytelling — you’re the person everyone wants to invite to their party, as long as the stories you’re telling aren’t about them. The too-ridiculous-to-be-true is your friend.