Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Club: Memoir Edition

As an English major, I have very little time during the school year to read for pleasure. (Right now The Saga of the Volsungs and Gulliver's Travels are staring guiltily at me. Every spare moment of my day, I feel like I should be reading for class.)

Still, I've been trying to make extra time this year to read more. I've recently finished two books that I'm absolutely obsessed with. Funnily enough, they're both memoirs. Normally I'm more of a novel person, but these memoirs were both amazing, for completely different reasons.

Mindy Kaling is Hollywood's new "It Girl," and for good reason. She is brilliant, sharp-witted, and stylish; she's a talented writer and actor, in addition to being gorgeous and hilarious. Basically, I want her as my BFF. Who doesn't? She seems like she has it all.

Her memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), was the best book I've read in a long time. Nearly every page, I was stopping to read a line out loud to my roommate. Kaling is just so funny. I'm not exaggerating when I say the book had me laughing out loud page after page. Plus, unlike other celebrities, Mindy Kaling just seems easy to relate to. This is a really fast read, so if you have any spare time in your life I really recommend this book.

The second memoir I read is completely different. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, is the tale of remarkable courage and strength in the face of staggering difficulties. Cheryl lost her mother to cancer very suddenly at a young age and suddenly, her world was flipped upside down. Her marriage crumpled, her siblings scattered, and she turned to drugs for escape. Just when she thought she hit rock bottom, she discovered the Pacific Crest Trail, a hiking trail stretching from Mexico north all along the west coast. She decides, abruptly and with no true hiking experience, to hike the PCT alone in an attempt to regain control of her life

Losing and finding herself along the trail, Cheryl perseveres through sweltering heat, blankets of snow, blisters and torn toenails and a backpack so huge she names it "Monster." Facing the elements, Cheryl struggles in the wild, but ultimately learns to adapt to the great outdoors. She meets fellow hikers on the trail, but it's in her moments of solitude that she finds her greatest strength.

I'm not an outdoorsy person by any means, but this book makes me want to scale a mountain and lose myself in the wilderness. It's inspirational in ways I can't even describe and makes me feel like, if Cheryl succeeded on her own in the wild, I can do anything. I definitely recommend reading this emotional and motivational memoir! What sort of books have you been reading lately?

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