Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Into the Wild

So apparently I’m the only one in the entire world who has never read “Into the Wild”, by Jon Krakauer. I started describing this really “cool book” to Justin, and how I think he’ll like it, and he interrupts me and says, “what, like Into the Wild or something?”. And excitedly I said “Yes!”. Then I get this look of shock as he says, “how could you never have read Into the Wild?”

At my work, we have a “library” for our employees, where they can come and take books home. Yesterday, an employee returned “Into the Wild”, and since I love to read, I read the back cover of the book while it was on my desk waiting to be put back and was intrigued.

Despite Justin’s reaction, it’s not hard to see why I’ve never read the book. I wasn’t ever really into non-fiction (before college), and I definitely wasn’t about to read about hiking or camping or the wilderness. It also wasn’t a reading requirement in school for me, and after reading the book, I can see why some schools wouldn’t add it to their curriculum. It does talk about living a “vagrant” or responsibility-free life, with money, jobs, and titles all as meaningless labels. It also discusses the story of a man who decides, with little to no survivor experience and with not near enough supplies or food, to venture into the Alaskan wilderness, assuming that he knows what he needs to survive. He is found 4 months later dead in an abandoned transit bus. He did this alone, and all by choice. And he wasn’t mentally insane either.

I interpreted the cover as I was reading it as it being a story about a man’s body being found in the woods, and that it would be discussing how he got there and the investigation that followed. This hit on my Criminal Justice “nerve”. But the book goes into much more detail about his life than I thought, and about the lives of the people he met during his travels. It also goes into great detail about this man’s philosophy of life and nature, and why he would “do something like this”. The author also weaves stories from his own life that he feels really connect him with this unfortunate traveler he’s writing about.

The author also states, in not so many words, that people will read his book or hear this story and form their own opinion; either they’ll think “what he did was amazing and brave”, or “he’s completely stupid and deserved what he got”. To be perfectly honest, I am developing my own opinion. But I’m still on the fence. And I may never fully decide how I feel.

Either way, it’s still a very intriguing book, and although I had never picked it up before yesterday, I’m glad that I finally read it. (And for those of you keeping track, I picked up the book yesterday after someone returned it, and I finished it today at lunch. That’s less than 24 hours – and no, I’m not joking. It really IS that interesting!) I think the biggest reason why I read it, and read it so quickly was because I can’t fathom, in my mind, someone who is educated, reasonable, and considerably well off doing something like this. The opinions I form will definitely get me thinking. But no worries – I don’t plan on selling all my possessions and picking up and moving to Alaska anytime soon!

I’m also still going through “Augustus”, by Tom Everett, and it’s still interesting every time I pick it up. I’ve decided I love reading too much to keep putting it off each night – so I’m making it a goal of mine to read a minimum of 30 minutes a night, no matter what. Then I’ll be able to document thoughts and opinions and offer suggestions to anyone who may read this on here! Maybe not so much to the interest of any readers, but more so as documentation for me to look back on.

A blog that I follow has a completely separate blog on the books that she’s reading – I kind of want to start that, to keep me accountable for my reading and to share books with others, and to also get good recommendations. In that case, I may get rid of Bailey’s blog, since I talk about him on here anyway, and hardly update that one!!

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