Reading is one of my favorite pastimes, and has been since I can remember. Even as a “busy adult” I still read a book each week. I love all genres, and often read a blend of things at once. [Right now it’s “The Happiness Project” (Rubin), “The Primal Connection” (Sission), and “This is How You Lose Her” (Díaz).]
There are thousands of good books out there on travel, adventure, the wilderness, and wandering. I wanted to share some of my favorite novels for stirring up wanderlust, books I love to read curled up in front of my wood-burning stove or cuddled in my sleeping bag in my tent.
I’d love to hear about some of your favorite books that inspire wanderlust. Leave a comment on this blog, or on this post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and I’d love to read and discuss with you!
(And as a random section at the bottom, I’ll include a list of all the books I read on my A.T. and Camino thru-hikes. There’s some crazy stuff in there.)
Some of my favorite wanderlust books:
- The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey (Millard)
- I had a serious crush on Teddy before this book, and now I am at near-obsession level with the man.
- Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster (Krakauer)
- Climbing Everest isn’t on my bucket list, but lots of good knowledge in here on what NOT to do if you want to stay alive and other pleasant things.
- In a Sunburned Country (Bryson)
- Yes, everything in Australia wants to kill you, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun!
- A Walk in the Woods (Bryson)
- Bryson skipped around a lot while hiking the A.T. and didn’t do a thruhike, and was often woefully unprepared, but it still gives a good general introduction for life on the trail.
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Strayed)
- Fantastic book about starting over and conquering fear. I was able to complete my thruhike with all my original toenails, but you can still enjoy the scene where she doesn’t. *shudder*
- Hatchet (Paulsen)
- This is considered a young adult fiction book, but everyone should read it for the thrill of survival – and some decent wilderness tips. I’ve been able to spot animals in the woods since I was 9 because of this book (p.s. – look for shapes, not colors…).
- The Poisonwood Bible (Kingsolver)
- When people make you pick a favorite book, this is the one I always go to – I even wrote a paper on it in college. It’s amazing in so many ways, and Africa is really its own character in this tale.
- Tarzan of the Apes (Burroughs)
- Unlike many books written in the early 1900s, this book starts with action and never slows down. It’s a lot scarier than any movies let on, too. (And has a decent love story for all those hopeless romantics out there!)
- Prodigal Summer (Kingsolver)
- This beautiful tale takes place in the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia, and really delves into ecology and environmental topics. Think of it as “Christy” with more science and modern protagonists.
Here’s the lists of books I devoured on trail. I found them in thrift stores, libraries, hostels, and shelters. Some, like American Gods and Slaughterhouse Five, were amazing. Others (ahem, Red Ponies…) were not. My Camino books were all purchased via Kindle and I read them on my phone.
Appalachian Trail hike books:
(in no particular order)
“Water for Elephants” (Gruen)
“The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way” (Bryson)
“The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey” (Millard)
“American Gods” (Gaiman)
“In the Moon of Red Ponies” (Burke)
“Rose Madder” (King)
“Dandelion Wine” (Bradbury)
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” (Shaffer)
“Tarzan of the Apes” (Burroughs)
“Go Set a Watchman” (Lee)
“The Martian Chronicles” (Bradbury)
“The Witch of Portobello” (Coelho)
“The Martian” (Weir)
“Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates” (Robbins)
“Slaughterhouse Five” (Vonnegut)
“This Idea Must Die” (Brockman)
“The Girl on the Train” (Hawkins)
“Chronicle of a Death Foretold” (Garcia Marquez)
“The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches” (Basho)
El Camino hike books:
(in no particular order, and not a long list since it was only 24 days)
“The Alchemist” (Coelho)
“The Lioness of Morocco” (Drosten)
“The Lost City of Z” (Grann)
“A Clockwork Orange” (Burgess)
“The Nightingale” (Hannah)
“Beneath a Scarlet Sky” (Sullivan)