Everyone likes to take their summer reading to the beach, but if you're looking for a real literary adventure this year, grab your sleeping bag, pack your tent, and don't forget to pick out one of these books to take camping with you. Nothing says "hello, summer" quite like reading a novel by the light of a campfire.
For many people, camping is a yearly tradition that gets them out of the office, away from their computers screens, and back to where they belong: in nature. Whether it's at an official campground with bathrooms, at a secret spot off the beaten path, or a sandy hideaway by the beach, camping is a great way to reconnect with Mother Earth — and it's also a fantastic opportunity for some serious rest and relaxation. Sure, the tent has to be pitched, the fire needs to be built, and dinner needs to be prepared over an open flame, but once all of the set-up is done, camping provides the perfect setting to sit back, relax, and enjoy some serious peace and quiet. What better way to enjoy the serene setting than by diving into a good book about the wonderful world around you?
From thrilling adventure memoirs to beautiful nature novels, here are 11 books you should take camping with you. Trust me when I say, they're best enjoyed by campfire light.
'Found: A Life In Mountain Rescue' by Bree Loewen
In this moving memoir, author Bree Loewen describes her exciting life as a leader of the Seattle Mountain Rescue, a volunteer search-and-rescue operation in Washington state. From the most dangerous rescue attempts to the most epic climbs, Found chronicles the the dangers, risk, and deaths brave heroes like Loewen confront in the backcountry. This is a truly inspirational book about the incredible people who risk their lives to save others.
'The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit' by Michael Finkel
Escape the modern world and live life on the fringe with Michael Finkel's bestseller, The Stranger in the Woods. It tells the remarkable true story about Christopher Night, a young man who gave up everything and spent 27 years living as a hermit in the woods of Maine. An in-depth exploration of his Knight's life in the wilderness, including the greatest challenges, unique survival tactics, and the desire for solitude that pushed him into the woods to begin with, Stranger in the Woods is an unforgettable story about isolation and the natural world. The perfect book to enjoy alone by the campfire.
'The Last Neanderthal' by Claire Cameron
A touching story about two women born a millennia apart but connected through their shared experiences with motherhood, The Last Neanderthal is an absorbing read you won't be able to put down. Over 40,000 years ago, a young woman, Girl, braves the harsh winter weather and attempts to make it to an annual meeting where she is sure to find a mate. But when the dangerous environment separates Girl from her family, she is left to care for a young foundling, Runt, and soon realizes she might have the key to saving her dwindling people. In the same place but in the modern day, pregnant archaeologist Rosalind Gale works tirelessly to excavate newly found Neanderthal artifacts before her child is born. Although the two women were born into different worlds, their lives, emotions, fears, and dreams aren't so different.
'Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History's Most Iconic Extinct Creatures' by Ben Mezrich
If you've ever wanted to see a woolly mammoth in real life, Woolly will make your dreams come true. Well, sort of. A thrilling nonfiction science book that reads like a sci-fi novel, Woolly tracks the history of the woolly mammoth as well as the modern attempts to revive these ancient creature and undo its extinction. A thrilling and absorbing book about the incredible power of science and undeniable impact of humanity on the planet, Woolly is a titillating narrative you have to read to believe.
'All Over the Place: Adventure in Travel, True love, and Petty Theft' by Geraldine DeRuiter
Not everyone is born to be a world traveler, but that doesn't mean they can't try. After being laid off from her dream job, that's exactly what Geraldine DeRuiter does, and luckily for readers, she chronicles all of her misadventures in All Over the Place. From the frozen tundra of Russia to the glistening coast of Italy and everywhere in between, this book paints a vivid and loving picture of every new country, every lost bag, every wrong turn, and every glorious new discovery with wit, honesty, and heart.
'The Gypsy Moth Summer' by Julie Fierro
Set on the wooded island of Avalon, The Gypsy Moth Summer is an incredible story of young love, dangerous prejudice, and the ties that bind us all together. When Leslie Day Marshall, the daughter of one of the most prominent family's on the island, returns home one summer with her black husband and biracial children, she is the talk of the entire town. Well, her, the gypsy moth invasion, and the cancer that is plaguing the island. When local girl Maddie falls for Brooks, Leslie's son, things only get more complicated. A riveting story that combines family saga, summer romance, and small town narratives, The Gypsy Moth Summer is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking, and the perfect camping trip read.
'Beartown' by Fredrik Backman
Journey into the heart of a small, secluded community in Fredrik Backman's Beartown, the gripping story of one town torn apart by an unspeakable act of violence. Beartown is barely a real town anymore, but the people who live there still believe in the possibility of a real future — one that's riding on the backs of the junior ice hockey team that is about to compete in the national semi-finals But when violence breaks out at the game, one family is left devastated... and the entire town is left reeling from the event. A breathtaking novel about youth and hope, age and despair, truth and lies, and the things that bring people together and tear them apart, Beartown is a beautiful story you won't soon forget.
'Rants from the Hill: On Packrats, Bobcats, Wildfires, Curmudgeons, a Drunken Mary Kay Lady, and Other Encounters with the Wild in the High Dessert' by Michael P. Branch
If the subtitle doesn't clue you in, Michael P. Branch's Rants from the Hill covers a wide range of insane, often unbelievable, encounters from Nevada's Great Basin Desert. A humorist and an environmentalist, Branch channels his unmatched wit and love for his unforgiving surroundings into his book-long rant about everything from his crazy neighbors to the pesky desert animals to unexpected wildfires and more. Fun and charming, Rants from the Hill will not only change the way you look at the desert, but it will transform your opinions of the people who live there, too.
'Astrophysics for People in a Hurry' by Neil deGrasse Tyson
What better time to learn all you can about the universe than when you're sitting under the stars? In his latest book for the masses, beloved astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson guides readers through some of the most incredible theories and principals behind what makes the universe work the way it does. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is the perfect read for busy and curious campers.
'Once in a Blue Moon Lodge' by Lorna Landvik
If you've ever dreamed of leaving on a camping trip and never coming back, you are not alone. In Lorna Landvik's Once in a Blue Moon Lodge, that's exactly what Nora Rolvaag does. After her mother sells the salon that was practically her second home, Nora embarks on a camping trip with the intention of relaxing in nature, but two encounters turn her getaway into a brand new life. A beautiful and touching book about saying goodbye to the old and embracing the new.
'The Marsh King's Daughter' by Karen Dionne
If you like to read scary stories around the campfire, look no further than Karen Dionne's spine-tingling page-turner, The Marsh King's Daughter. A grown woman who has found success in love, family, and business, Helena Pelletier is living a life better than anything she ever expected. That is, until her murderous father escapes prison and disappears into the marshlands Helena knew so well growing up. Forced to confront a past she has spent years trying to keep buried, Helena knows she is the only one who knows the land well enough to find her father, so heads to the place she once called home, willing risk anything to put an end to this nightmare, once and for all.