S’16 Solo Reading List

Spring 16 students can now join the proud ranks of Mountain School alums who have successfully completed their solo camping trips, this year with the added bonus of half a foot of snow that fell on the last full day. In addition to eating Ramen, working hard to stay warm, and repeatedly hitting their tarps to knock the snow off, the students read some great books. Here are some of their recommendations:

  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas: “It’s a classic, but totally engaging and written in a conversational way. It’s an awesome story about violence, but kind of honorable violence. I’ve always wanted to read it–I’ve read the abridged version. And it’s historical fiction, so I learned so much about the French Revolution, but I didn’t feel like I was learning because it was so compelling.” -KV
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: “I loved reading it because it read like a long, in-depth article in The New Yorker. Even though some of Truman Capote’s journalistic ethics were questionable, he really explored all sides of the story, and made the person reading feel very connected. If you like Serial, you’ll love In Cold Blood.” -EP
  • Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: “It was enlightening and funny. RBG is my queen. One of my favorite things I learned was that her husband gave up his job for her. She and her husband were really cute, actually. She became a pop culture icon only in the last two years; before that, just was kind of there. Now there’s all these memes and everything. Anyone with a soul will like this book.” -MB
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson: “It’s a personal account of the peak and failure of 1960’s counter cultures. It’s a seminal work for anyone who is an aspiring journalist. It’s a wild ride, a very twisted book that will give you very twisted dreams…” -CK
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss: “It’s about a man who writes a book about his ultimate love and a girl named after the character in that book and their convoluted quest to find each other. I could not fathom how any of the stories were interconnected. At the end it all came together, and I was starting to figure it out on my own, but the reveal was very satisfying.” -PM
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “The story of a Nigerian woman who coms to the United States and her journey in the US, especially her encounters with people and their perceptions on race. It was a really interesting viewpoint on American race because it was an outside perspective. I especially liked the blog that the main character keeps about race, which is interspersed throughout the novel. Adichie’s writing is awesome, and that’s part of what makes the book so good.” -AL
    • Editor’s note: Americanah is the best book I have ever read, and I honestly believe that everyone should read it.
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson: “It’s about one man’s experience navigating the criminal justice system and the death penalty in the south. It was really good because it balanced non fiction and narrative well. It explained systems in America while also telling a compelling story. I found the combo very enlightening.” -LKB
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: “It was a good read for solo because I was enduring the same hardships as the main character, Cheryl, to some extent. Like she talked about her hip bones hurting after carrying her pack all day, and I felt that too. It made me look at my experience in a different light.” -EKo
    • “It was a great book to read on solo because I’m alone, she’s alone, she’s working really hard while I’m sitting in my hammock… We were going through vaguely similar struggles.” -TM
  • Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee: “It was cool how McPhee gives an objective view of the conversations and the people with such conflicting views (an environmentalist facing people who don’t agree with him ideologically). I liked how he kind of forced you to take a side, but also makes you consider both sides of the argument. Also it was written in the 1970s, but it still completely relevant to issues we’re talking about today.” -MW
  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: “It’s a family favorite book, and I had never read it. I was really engaged with the narrator. I was told that it used to be taught in schools and now it isn’t as much because it’s unrelatable in the present era, but I disagreed. I felt a connection to the world at home even though it was written in 1951.” -RM
    • “Holden Caulfield is a supremely frustrated, loving, passionate 17 year old boy who tries to navigate his life after being kicked out of high school in New York City. He struggles to find where he belongs in a world where seemingly no people are like him or understand him. Behind Holden’s angst and frustration is a deeply caring and observant person. Holden stays by my side on the days when I feel like nobody is on my side. A must read for parents and teens trying to understand the thought process of unnecessarily angsty/hateful teens.” -PR
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: “It’s a father’s attempt to explain an unjust world to his son and people like his son. It was great to read on solo, especially the part where the author talked about being in Paris and being identified as an American, not a black man. He wasn’t defined by his race there, and I felt the same way in the woods. Mother Nature doesn’t care about my race or gender; she’ll unleash her fury equally on everyone.” -WB
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe: “It’s like watching “The Wolf of Wall Street,” but in book form, and takes place 20 years earlier. Super interesting.” -JL
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: “What makes it so amazing is that it’s about WWII – so it’s serious and political – but it’s also so funny. It’s really entertaining to read because you’re constantly surprised by what the author does and you never know what to expect.” -IBC
  • Blind Woman, Sleeping Willow by Haruki Murakami: “The short stories themselves are fairly simple, but they are told in really interesting way. It definitely made me think a lot.” -ZH
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s