Review of ‘Wild’

I’ve always been into wilderness adventure books, but what I loved about this one was the raw detail that the author uses to describe her journey. Wild is a true story, more of a memoir, written by Cheryl Strayed about her summer hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in an effort to rediscover herself and come back from a dark place in her life.

Following the early death of her mother and the subsequent dissolve of her family, Cheryl’s life went into a downward spiral of drugs and devious sexual behavior. Then she found a guide book about the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that started the snowball affect towards her healing.

She spares no dirty detail of her trip hiking the trail alone, though she meets some nice people along the way. You feel as though you are right there with her on the trail. You cry with her, you laugh at the funny anecdotes, and you feel like maybe you are growing and changing too. This books is inspirational to those who may have hit rockbottom and need to find a way out. It’s an inspiration to people like me who have an adventuresome spirit but may chicken out of some of the big challenges.

I read the first half of this book before hitting the road to California and listened to the rest as an audio book while driving. I definitely couldn’t put it down or stop listening. It’s so well written. I have deep respect for Cheryl doing what she did and then having the guts to write all about it without sugar coating. I definitely recommend this book.

Check out Cheryl’s site for more information:


My favorite president, The Wilderness Warrior

Written by Douglas Brinkley, The Wilderness Warrior tells the life of my favorite president, Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy was one of the most conservation friendly presidents, growing up with an avid interest in wildlife, nature, and the world around him.

71SqeeKwwaLThe book, whose full title is The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, starts all the way back in Teddy’s childhood. Though it was a long read, it was definitely worth it. I learned so much that I never knew before about this great man and the things he did to try and protect America’s wilderness. It was fascinating reading about his upbringing and his family and the influence they had on him. Had we been children at the same time, I am certain we would have been best friends. As a child he set up his own little natural history museum in his house with specimens he would find. His family traveled a lot and he saw much more of the world than many people today have, even with modern transportation options.

A known game hunter, he is famous for refusing to shoot an American Black Bear which had already been captured, beaten, and tied up, knowing it wasn’t sporting and wash’t fair to the bear. That is how toy bears came to be known as “Teddy bears”; they were named after Teddy Roosevelt.

As I said before, it is a long read, and to look at the size of the book may be daunting, but it really is worth it. I read it on my Nook e-reader so I didn’t have to lug the big hard copy around. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the national park system, conservation, and history.

An Eye Opener: The World Without Us

When I first picked up The World Without Us (by Alan Weisman), I thought it would be another one of those global warming books that shoves a political agenda down your throat. As I read it, I quickly learned that this book was so much more than that. Yes, it obviously discusses many things humans are doing to harm the earth, but what it primarily does is break down how societies manmade infrastructures will degenerate ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred years and more after there are no longer humans to maintain them. It discusses the fate of many domesticated animals, both pets and livestock. And it discusses how the world looked before human expansion.

41Wxbmlr57LIt really opens your eyes to just how long some synthesized materials can last in our environment and just how quickly things can fall apart. It is an inspirational book for change in how we view the world around us, Mother Nature, and the environment. We may think that humans are all-powerful, forever stamping the planet with our brand, but nature…uh…finds a way (to steal a line from one of my favorite movies, Jurassic Park). Nature has a miraculous ability to heal itself, as long as we make changes before it is too late. In some cases, it may already be too late for things to be as they were before, but taking action now can certainly help.

This book was a wonderful, quick read. It was easy to understand, and both liberally and conservatively minded people can enjoy this book without feeling like someone else’s radical opinion is being forced on them. It sticks primarily to scientific facts and uses vivid words to paint and image in your mind of a planet in a time without humans.

“We Bought a Zoo”: Book vs. Movie

We Bought a Zoo. Both a book and a movie. About all they have in common are their titles and the fact that the main character…well…bought a zoo. Obviously, as goes with most book-to-movie productions, the book was better.

We-Bought-a-Zoo-bookI read the book a couple of months before they announced a movie was going to be made and the book was so good that I literally cried at the sad parts, laughed out loud at the funny parts, and couldn’t put the book down until I finished. I read that book cover to cover and was seriously bummed when I finished it. It was so inspirational. I wanted to visit that zoo. I was convinced that it was my new purpose in life to buy and refurbish and reopen a zoo. That lasted about a week before I remembered that it was only a book and that wasn’t really what I wanted to do, though it would be cool. The neat thing about that book is that it is a true story, and the author, Benjamin Mee, who is the man who bought the zoo, doesn’t spare any detail of the whole ordeal, even describing every intimate detail of his wife falling ill and passing away. (I don’t think that’s a spoiler but sorry if it was. Oops.)



The movie, starring Matt Damon, while also good, was very Hollywoodized (is that a real word?) and moved too fast through the story and left out what I feel are very important aspects of the story. But that’s show biz I guess. I didn’t feel like the movie allowed me to become emotionally attached to the characters like the book did and the romantic interests added in offended me because of the authors real life turmoil with loosing his wife in the book. I still enjoyed the movie and maybe my expectations were just too high because I loved the book so much. If you have’t read the book or seen the movie yet, I suggest watching the movie first so that you can enjoy it for what it is. If you read the book first, the movie will only disappoint.

Click here to visit the website of the Dartmoor Zoo (the actual zoo from the book and movie).

Review of “The Odyssey of KP2”

13403048This will be the first review in my “Book Reviews” category. I have so many books that I want to review but I must give them to you one at a time. I will start out by reviewing The Odyssey of KP2 by Terrie M. Williams. My brother gave me this book as a present last Christmas knowing that I have always been interested in marine animals. I started reading it while doing my internship in a sea turtle and whale hospital and absolutely loved it.

The author of the book is a researcher at UC Santa Cruz who studies marine animals like seals, dolphins, sea otters, and more. The book is all about the journey of an orphaned Hawaiian Monk Seal (KP2 is his name) who, after being handed around from place to place, ends up in the lab of the author and becomes an ambassador for his extremely endangered species. I don’t want to give away details of the book because I think you should definitely read it. It is heart warming and written in such a way that any person could pick it up and understand it. You feel like you are right there with the seal every step of the way. The Odyssey of KP2 is a truly inspirational book for someone like me who loves marine animals and conservation and hopes to work in wildlife rescue, but I honestly believe that any animal or ocean lover would enjoy this book.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon. Enjoy!