Book Club: ‘Wild’ and ‘Paper Towns’

It’s my personal opinion that there is no better way to spend a summer Sunday than to set course for Prospect Park to spend hours leisurely reading and sipping ice* tea.

[*Note: I have been informed that I’ve spelled ice(d) tea wrong for the past 20-24 years, but since ice tea has become such a part of my identity, I’ve decided to keep it because like a bad, misspelled tattoo**, ice tea and I have become one.]

[** Note on that note: Always, ALWAYS double check your tattoo spelling. Seriously, that thing is on your body forever! This is not the time for skim reading! It’s the time to get out the magnify glass and those elementary school spelling bee skills and set to work. Because if not, you’re going to come out with an “I love nuns” instead of “I love Mum” tattoo which will leave you unpopular with both your local convent and your mother.]

What was I saying? Goodness this is devolving into a Giles’ family tangent.

Right! Book reviews quick, before I start telling the story of Jeff Rubin yelling at me about cookies!


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^^ “Paper Towns,” not a huge success, but this stoop! It’s my new reading stop. ^^

Paper Towns‘ by John Green — yes, my YouTube hero! — follows the intersecting stories of Quentin Jacobsen (Q) and his neighbor/love of his life/badass adventurer, Margo Roth Spiegelman. One night, Margo hops through Q’s window whisking him away for a night of adventure around their “paper town” in Florida. The next day, Margo disappears and thus begins Q’s own adventure of exploring outside his comfort zone to find the girl of his dreams. As Q says in the book, “Margo loved mysteries so much, she became one.”

I think my opinion of this book would have been different if I hadn’t already read and loved “A Fault in Our Stars.” For me, “Paper Towns” didn’t hit the mark — which in part could be influenced by my age or the natural comparisons I kept making to Green’s other works. But come the end of the novel, I felt let down my Q and Margo’s “revelations.” I mean, as readers, we follow Margo’s paper trail for hundreds of pages only to end with a girl whose reasons for leaving don’t feel substantial. I want to believe if I had read this book in high school — when I too was going through major life transitions and realizing my “idea” of people was different than who they actually are — I would have loved this book a bit more. But in reality, it just wasn’t my favorite. Green does an amazing job of capturing and celebrating the life of teens and while “Paper Towns” wasn’t my cup of tea, I am still excited to read his other novels “Waiting for Alaska” and “An Abundance of Katherines.”


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And then there was “Wild.”

“Wild,” “Wild,” “Wild.” A novel I would recommend to every single adult human.

The memoir tells the epic journey of writer and backpacking novice Cheryl Strayed during her three month solo trek hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a hiking trail that starts at the Mexico, California border and ends in Canada. Strayed believes the hike will both help her heal from the lose of her mother and restart her life that at 26 is marked by tragedy, divorce, and drug use. In the three months on the trail, Strayed learns the power of good fitting shoes, perseverance, embracing a community, and the importance of letting go. Despite her loss of toe nails or the weight of the pack that rubbed Strayed’s shoulders and hips raw, I found myself dreaming of the idea of hiking the PCT myself. Just me, nature, books, and an epic adventure.

It’s the idea of taking on the impossible that makes Strayed’s story so relatable and in the end, proves that that extraordinary adventures are comprised of ordinary people putting their dreams into action. So while I don’t think we should all go out and hike the PCT for three months (I have cats to raise for pete’s sake!), this book is a great reminder to do little things that scare you each day.

So in honor of this wild spirit, I’m going to go buy some eye shadow and then I’m going to wear that eye shadow to work. Because that’s what brave tom boys do.


One thought on “Book Club: ‘Wild’ and ‘Paper Towns’

  1. Pingback: Book Club: 5 Books, 1 Review | The Curious Case of Carly Christine

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