"Wild" by Cheryl Strayed (2012)
"My legs trembled as I stepped onto the rockslide in a half squat, fearful that my usual hunching in a remotely upright position would upset the rocks and cause them to slide en masse farther down the mountain, carrying me with them."
Cheryl Strayed is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. Before writing Wild she wrote a novel, Torch, published in 2006. During the same year Wild was published, Vintage Books also released Tiny Beautiful Things, her self-help book. Wild was given the film treatment in 2014.
In Wild the author hikes a section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) after her mother's death and the breakup of her marriage. She quickly learns that hiking this famous route is a lot more difficult than she imagined, and her struggles along the trail help her to come to terms with both personal failings and recent tragedies.
It's a well written book that doesn't overstay its welcome. Sure, the author comes across as a bit self-absorbed at times, but what she offers in Wild seems to be a faily authentic account of what really happened. Sure, opening up more of the book to the people she met along the trail would have made Wild more interesting, but from the outset that she wasn't writing that kind of book.
"The Devil Wears Prada" by Lauren Weisberger (2003)
"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (2009)
"Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life" by William Finnegan (2015)
"Choke" by Chuck Palahniuk (2001)*
*Palahniuk's book is included because he also lives in Portland, and because he was a member of Strayed's writing circle.