9 New Books About Nature & Hiking That You Should Add To Your Summer Reading List
If you're a bookish hiker, then by now you've probably already read John Muir's entire library, as well as Henry David Thoreau's classic Walden, Bill Bryson's beloved A Walk in the Woods, and Cheryl Strayed's moving memoir Wild. But that doesn't mean you've read ever hiking memoir and travel story out there. In fact, there are plenty of new books that all hikers should add to their summer reading list.
There are few things I love more in life than throwing a good book in my backpack and hitting the trails. Something about reading outdoors, whether it's just off the path, on top of a mountain, or by a hidden lake in the woods, makes the experience almost magical. In the forest, no one is there bother you about what you're reading or ask you questions about your book. If you're really lucky, you might even find yourself out of the range of cell service, where not even your phone can interrupt you. Out on the trails, it's just you, your book, and nature. In other words, pure bliss.
If you're looking for something to throw in your pack this summer, don't reach for the same old stories. From travel memoirs and nature narratives to fictional adventures and extraordinary true stories, here are nine new books all hikers should read instead. Trust me when I say, the extra weight in your bag will be worth it.
'End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood' by Jan Redford
In this charming and spirited memoir, debut author Jan Redford shares tales from her many heart-pounding adventures, as both a woman in the male-dominated world of rock climbing and as a new mother struggling to rediscover herself. A moving story about learning how to make it in the wilderness, and how to survive in life, End of the Rope is must-read for any hiker looking to forge their own path.
'American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West' by Nate Blakeslee
Out in paperback this July, American Wolf is a fascinating true story about the rise and reign of O-Six, the most famous wolf in Yellowstone history. In this critically acclaimed book, author Nate Blakeslee explores the life and survival of this powerful alpha female, as well as the world around her, including the wolf watchers who made her famous, the pups she raises, the hunters who threaten her food supply, the wolves she must compete with, and more. A riveting story of nature versus, or more accurately, wolf versus man.
'The Overstory' by Richard Powers
In this ambitious novel, nine strangers are called to action by the trees to stand as the last protectors of the remaining virgin forest, and in doing so, come to see the natural world in a whole new light. A breathtaking story about the relationship between nature and mankind, The Overstory is beautiful book nature-lovers will fall head-over-heels for.
'The Pursuit of Endurance' by Jennifer Pharr Davis
If you have ever dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail but are unsure of how exactly to do it, this book by National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jennifer Pharr Davis is for you. A extraordinary account of perseverance, both on the trail and off, The Pursuit of Endurance will teach readers how to look inside themselves for find the courage, bravery, and strength they need to face any of life's challenges.
'The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit' by Michael Finkel
Now out in paperback, The Stranger in the Woods is the remarkable true story of Christopher Knight, a hermit who spent nearly 30 years hidden in the Maine wilderness. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Knight, journalist and author Michael Finkel reveals how he survived, and how he lived, so far away from modern life and other people for so long.
'Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, the Last Great American Frontier' by Mark Adams
Journey into the last great American frontier in Tip of the Iceberg, a captivating true story that retraces the famous 1899 Harriman Expedition. Featuring lush descriptive writing and an unusual cast of characters you won't soon forget, this is the perfect hiking companion for anyone who has dreamed of exploring the Alaskan wilderness.
'Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver' by Mary Oliver
A stunning collection of poetry from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, Devotions is beautiful ode to the natural world. The perfect book to bring with you on the trails, there is a poem in here for all hiking, backpacking, and travelling occasions.
'A Sharp Solitude' by Christine Carbo
In this gripping novel, the prime suspect in a brutal murder, Reeve Landon is on the run from the law, and the woods provide the perfect place to hide. Meanwhile, Montana FBI investigator Ali Paige is determined to get to the bottom of the case, so she can save her daughter from the heartbreak of losing her father — but what if the truth isn't what she wants it to be? Set against the dramatic backdrop of Glacier National Park, A Sharp Solitude is a thrilling new mystery perfect for nature lovers.
'The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife' by Lucy Cooke
Did you know that moose like to get drunk, or that worker ants like to relax as much as we do? Believe it or not, animals have all kinds of hilarious, charming, and strange behaviors you've never considered, but Lucy Cooke's The Truth About Animals is here to tell you all about them. Funny and fascinating, this book will change the way you see wildlife.