Pop Culture Homework Assignment for Beth

Any basic analysis of this site will clue you into one fact: Beth reads (and reviews) way more than I do. For the past few years or so, she has been my go-to for book recommendations. First, because she has really good taste and knows how to sniff out hits (she recommended Hunger Games and Divergent to me before they were big. She also got me hooked on Bone Season and the Shades of London and countless other series that, ultimately, I’m thankful for even if I’m annoyed after I’ve finished a book and have to wait for the next one). And, second because she is honest and she will not sugar coat it that when a book doesn’t live up to expectations. I have read a lot of really fun books because of her suggestions so suggesting books to her is a real responsibility.

When we proposed this challenge, Beth and I asked each other about a number of different books and authors. I found out that Beth has never read one of my favorite travel memoirs, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. This led me to a theme for my books: travel.

Bookending the assignment are two travel memoirs that feature hiking. Since we don’t come from a hiking kind of family, these will both probably feel like a way weird choice for her. But, hiking is the backdrop to the story in these narratives. Beth will be starting with Wild by Cheryl Strayed and ending with A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Both of these books I enjoyed immensely but I am interested in her opinions on them. The middle two books are both from different genres (and don’t involve hiking). I picked Wild because I think it is a beautiful narrative about family and personal growth. Book 2 is Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott (travel as a metaphor for spiritual growth!). I picked this because I thought this book was full of essays that were funny and touching. Book 3 is 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, a fictional tale of a young adult doing some traveling to say goodbye to a loved one. So, travel, family. This book is funny and touching and full of adventure. A great summer read! Finally, A Walk in the Woods is a fun story about two middle aged dudes walking the Appalachian Trail. It is funny, it is touching, and it is informative.

So, the list is:

Book 1: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Book 2:Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
Book 3: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Book 4: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.

There you go, Beth! I hope you love them as much I did! Or, not! Whatever! I can’t wait to hear what you think!