The Middle of Somewhere

Do you ever begin a book thinking it is one thing, and it ends up being even BETTER THAN THAT? I mean, this is why we read, right? We may come across some duds, but it’s the really wonderful stories that keep us going.

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On Monday, I talked about how I go into most books blind–I don’t really want to know much about them before I begin. And that’s true, but when I got the request for Sonja Yoerg’s second book The Middle of Somewhere, and saw the cover, I knew immediately that I was interested. I have a thing for backpacking stories–fiction or nonfiction. I think it is the idea that everyone has a journey to go through in life, something they are either walking away from or walking toward, and the hike is a very real illustration of that. So I was very much looking forward to reading this one.

And The Middle of Somewhere started out pretty much like most backpacking novels do. Liz is turning 30, and she is struggling with commitment with her boyfriend Dante. She’s been planning this walk on the John Muir Trail for years, and is finally determined to do it–but instead of the lone ranger trip she had planned, Dante has decided at the last minute to join her. Not only does that delay her trip into a not very prime part of the season, but she also has some skeletons in her closet that she knows will come out during their three week hike…and she is not sure she is ready for that.

Once they get out on the trail, however, they meet an unexpected danger–more than rocks and bears and storms. Yoerg has written more than just a backpacker novel–she has given us a mountain thriller. Hiking in the mountains would be hard and scary enough, but Yoerg puts her characters in a situation where there is a crescendo threat to their lives. It gets creepier and creepier until it escalates to violence.

This was such a page turner that I finished it in one afternoon. I was excited to just read it as a backpacking story, but add the thriller component and Yoerg has a bestseller on her hands…at least in my opinion. In an environment where Eat, Pray, Love and Wild are so popular, I think her book will do really well, and she has added a special edge to separate herself from the pack. Big time yes from me!

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Releases September 1.

 

Buy it Here:

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The Canterbury Sisters

Is there a name for (pre)menopausal coming-of-age stories? If not, there should be. I love them, even though I’ve still got several years (decades!) before I get there. But there is something about the shift in a woman that is beautiful to me at that point in her life.

These stories almost always include a journey of some kind–Under the Tuscan Sun and Eat, Pray, Love are the two that come to mind first. Wild is in there too. Stories of self-discovery and breaking out of the ruts that life has us in.

If you like these stories too, add The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright to your list. It comes out today, and it’s going to be the next one everyone is reading.

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Che (yes, like the revolutionary) gets dumped on the same day she receives her mother’s cremation urn. The instructions enclosed with the ashes are simple:  Go to England and spread the ashes at Canterbury Cathedral. She COULD just take the train from London. There’s one every hour. Instead, she sets off on a week long pilgrimage with Broads Abroad–a touring group for individual women looking to walk in the path of Chaucer’s inspirations.

The women in the group decide to follow Chaucer’s lead and each tell a story of their own, with the group host judging a winner upon arrival in Canterbury. And so the contest begins. 9 complete strangers set off, and become close friends by the end. The result is a funny, heartwarming book, filled with a no-holds barred “what happens on the road stays on the road” type attitude.

I’ll be surprised if Wright’s novel isn’t my favorite Women’s Fiction of the year. And I’ll really be surprised if I don’t hear about people reading it in a few months. I think this is going to be really popular.

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk

I’ve read a couple of books about long wilderness hikes–Wild, about the Pacific Crest Trail, and Bill Bryson’s account of his trek on the Appalachian Trail, and every one makes me more and more intrigued. I love the woods, and camping…but I don’t know if I have what it takes to do that big of a hike. I sure do like to read about it though!

Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk was no exception. In fact, it may be the best one so far. A grandma loving to walk in nature is not foreign to me–my own grandma would take us for walks on the River Greenway all the time when I was young…but always before it got “much too hot,” and always with a picnic basket full of ham and butter sandwiches on white bread. She still gets out on a regular basis, even well into her 80s. (She’d probably give me a very special look, if she knew I was telling you how old she was. Sorry Grandma.)

As fit and fiesty as she is, I cannot imagine her walking from Georgia to Maine, and certainly not alone! But that’s just what Emma Gatewood did, and in the 50s! She just set off, without hardly telling anyone where she was going, in Keds, with a 30 lb sack. Well, ok then.

Seriously, if this book doesn’t make you want to get off your hiney and do…anything…I don’t know what will. I sure do want to go camping now! But with a tent. And a sleeping bag. Let’s not go too crazy.

 

Fulfills Popsugar #19:  A book based on a true story