Posts tagged ‘memoir’

November 30, 2013

Book Recommendation – “Finding Jim” by Susan Oakey-Baker

On April 30, 1999, Susan Oakey-Baker lost her mountaineer husband, Jim Haberl, to an avalanche on Mount Ultima Thule, Alaska. Finding Jim is Oakey-Baker’s incredibly candid story of her journey through the grief that followed. Oakey-Baker hides nothing about the intensity of her struggles to make sense of the tragedy and “do well” in the aftermath. Her writing is honest, unapologetic and deeply poignant, the emotions sometimes so raw and present that they seem to well up from within your own body. If you have ever “lost” a loved one (in any sense of the word), this book will speak to aspects of your experience. Oakey-Baker has bravely put herself “out there” in a way most people don’t, and the result is an intensely beautiful testament to both the messy complexity of human feeling, and the resilience within each of us to finally accept and move on.

Cover image of the book "Finding Jim" by Susan Oakey-Baker

“Finding Jim” by Susan Oakey-Baker

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September 27, 2013

Book Recommendation — “Have Mother, Will Travel” by Claire and Mia Fontaine

It’s a book for women of all kinds, but it’s especially a book for mothers and daughters seeking insight into their own relationships. In Have Mother, Will Travel, mother-daughter (and author) duo Claire and Mia Fontaine embark on a four-month journey around the world together. The ultimate goal of their trip is to revive their flagging relationship, but along the way, 51-year-old Claire and 25-year-old Mia gain fresh insight into their own life journeys, as well as new appreciation for what they each have to offer — to themselves, to each other and to the world. Well-written, funny and very reflective, this book is definitely worth picking up!

havemother-final-cover

“Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World” by Claire and Mia Fontaine

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the book:

I’ve become very clear that finding my way forward in life isn’t going to come from figuring out what I want to do, but by staying grounded in the person doing the wanting. The very core of my being, my essential, authentic, whatever-you-call-it self, never has any trouble knowing what she wants, and certainly never worries about how she’s going to get it. (Claire Fontaine)

Sometimes I wonder if we make big moves because we underestimate the importance of smaller ones. Years are just an accumulation of thousands of hours, and what we choose to do with each of them matters. (Mia Fontaine)

Adulthood isn’t a destination, it’s a process, and, as women, we are always coming of age. (Mia Fontaine)

There are some advantages to stumbling around lost for a while. It allows for discovery. (Claire Fontaine)

Change happens in the small moments, when a sliver of light finds its way through the cracks. (Claire Fontaine)

All relationships happen in stages, with varying depths, multiple layers. You invariably reach a point where you hit the ceiling of a certain level of intimacy and then have the option of staying there — which risks the relationship becoming predictable or stale — or you can take it to the next level. (Mia Fontaine)

April 22, 2013

Book Recommendation – “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed

Nearly half way through her 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed watched the hiking boots she had just taken off sail over a ledge, cartwheel through the air, and disappear forever into a carpet of trees far below.  Bootless yet undaunted, Strayed continued her hike.

Gritty is one way to describe Strayed’s book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, in which she tells the tale of her solo three-month trek on a long-distance hiking route that spans 2,663 miles and crosses nine mountain ranges in the states of California, Oregon and Washington.

But the book is also very human. Besides the boot fiasco and other unexpected obstacles — like record snowfalls that buried portions of the trail, and having to hike 100 miles with only two cents in her pocket — Strayed trudged through a landslide of grief over the failure of her marriage, the death of her mother, and the disintegration of her family as she knew it.

Alternately laugh-out-loud funny, eyes-bug-out awe-inspiring, and crumble-inside heart-wrenching, Wild is the story of not just a physical hike, but a trek to pull the loose strands of a fraying life together into a new and cohesive whole. . . one step at a time.

Highly recommended.

Cover image of the book "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed

“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed

April 5, 2013

Book Recommendation – “The Raven’s Gift” by Jon Turk

The Raven’s Gift chronicles adventurer Jon Turk‘s journey to healing and self-awareness over six years of travel on the Siberian tundra and a series of encounters with a “magic” that permeates the natural world and connects it (and us) to the spiritual realm.  Insightful and incredibly well written, Turk’s story is a reminder of both life’s fragility and its resilience.  His experiences suggest that moments of awareness, connectedness and self-understanding are out there waiting for us, if only we trust enough to switch off our rational minds and just believe.  “It’s not how we seek self-awareness,” writes Turk, ” it’s whether we take the time and energy to make the journey [italics added].”  An excellent read.

 

Image of the cover of the book "The Raven's Gift: A Scientist, a Shaman, and Their Remarkable Journey Through the Siberian Wilderness" by Jon Turk

“The Raven’s Gift: A Scientist, a Shaman, and Their Remarkable Journey Through the Siberian Wilderness” by Jon Turk

January 31, 2013

Book recommendation — “Beyond the Sky and the Earth” by Jamie Zeppa

Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan by Jamie Zeppa is a well-written, insightful account of how travel (and the willingness to leave your comfort zone) can transform you, change you, and, ultimately, lead you to the one thing you’ve been looking for all along: yourself. An excellent book. I liked it so much I quoted from it three times this month — on January 5, January 7, and January 23!  Highly recommended!

Cover of the book "Beyond the Sky and the Earth:  A Journey into Bhutan" by Jamie Zeppa

“Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan” by Jamie Zeppa