It's only fair to say that Elizabeth Gilbert also authored one of my favorite books of all time Eat, Pray, Love. I found The Last American Man after listening to an intriguing episode of This American Life, which I now cannot find. The podcast discussed the books main character, Eustace Conway and his record setting horseback ride across the United States. What was presented in the podcast turns out to be the shiny version of the real story described in the book. Eustace Conway is such an interesting and just amazing person. I seriously wish I could meet him one day. Elizabeth Gilbert, who is a friend of Eustace's manages to write about him in such a real, sometimes painful way. There is too much to share about Eustace Conway in this short review, but I feel like I should note that he has been living (truly living) off of the land since he was a teenager. The book is so full of information, history, environmental politics and points of view, but reads like a window into someone's living room.
I don't typically read books like this (i.e. non-fiction) and I'd seen and heard about this book several times and continuously passed it by. I finally started reading it one evening when I'd run out of other books. It caught me from the first few pages. I really loved the story and the way Christopher McDougall told it. It was also so interesting to learn about the Tarahumara Indian tribe. The thoughts and style of the Tarahumara and Caballo Blanco turn any main-stream running theories on their head. If all of that wasn't enough, this book will totally inspire you to run. If I'm feeling tired when running now, I pretend I'm Tarahumaran. I also bought Chia seeds and I'm planning to attempt to make my own GU. In addition, I'm also now determined to teach myself to run in sandals. Seriously.
Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail), by Cheryl Strayed
I think the best way to describe this book is raw. After losing her mother at a very young age, Cheryl Strayed goes through an extremely difficult time in her life. She decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (which runs from Mexico to Washington state) in order to find herself. Her journey, both physically and emotionally, is pretty amazing. The book is everything: funny, thrilling, scary, sad, painful, happy, joyous ..the list goes on. Most of all, I think it's incredibly brave for an author to write in such a revealing way, exposing every part of herself. I both admire and respect her for taking the journey and sharing it with the world. In other news: our house has been inspired by the PCT. Shortly I hope to share some exciting things with you.