5. Into the Wild

by John Krakauer

For years I have had it in my mind to read this book but it kept getting bumped on the list for something else. Alas I ended up renting the dvd, which is based on Krakauer's book. Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" is fantastic. I loved it. That was two or three weeks ago.

Krakauer's spirited account of Chris McCandless's open-eyed, passionate travels and subsequent death in the Alaskan wilderness was an outstanding read. The writer walks a literary tightrope between the distanced criticism of a traditional biographer and the voice of a writer who identifies deeply with the young man.

I am deeply moved by this kid's story. I wish I could have met him along the way. I wish he would have survived because I have a few questions for him.

It's funny, when I think about weather to recommend this book I find myself thinking about the kind of person that would benefit from it, for it is certainly not everyone. It think it's best for those who want to understand what happiness is (which is different from wanting to feel it). The book is not a complete answer, of course, but it will inspire a seeker along the way.

I also think it's a great book for readers who are interested in why many young, bright people put themselves at extreme risk for the sake of knowing or solving something within.