After her mother’s death, then twenty-six-year-old Cheryl Strayed decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone; she was not prepared. Knowing almost nothing about hiking, Strayed doggedly pursued her goal of walking from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State with neither a guide nor experience. She made many mistakes along the way— her pack was too big, her shoes were too small—she encountered scary animals and sometimes creepy hikers. But she kept going. Wild (Knopf, $25.95) is an amazing story, expertly told.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (Amy Einhorn, $25.95) is a book that makes you laugh long after you’ve stopped reading. Jenny Lawson relays the details of her childhood in a way that makes you glad you didn’t grow up in her house, but still wish that her stories were your own. From domesticated raccoons to pirate alligators, Lawson turns everyday activities into side-splitting tales, and when you think she can’t possibly make you laugh harder, she’ll get lost in her hometown with a GPS. Buy a copy for yourself and a friend so you don’t have to wait to talk about it!