Summer Reading: Best Books to Read by the Campfire

With just a few weeks left of summer, it’s time to start tackling that summer reading list you made sometime back in May—and not just while you’re hanging poolside. Camping offers up hours of downtime perfect for knocking off a few paperbacks from the list. Forgot to make a reading list? Fret not, we made one for you. Next time you find yourself idle in the forest—in between figuring out how to light a campfire and pranking your sibling, while you wait for the Dutch oven to heat up—sit back with one of our summer picks:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

It’s never too late to pick up a cult classic, especially if you’re waiting to read the book before catching the flick. This young adult novel takes place in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, where North America once existed. One boy and one girl from each of Panem’s 12 nations must fight to the death in the country’s annual Hunger Games. If the plot line doesn’t grab you then the movie’s location might, as a portion of the film was shot in DuPont State Recreational Forest.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

Ever wondered what happens to the roaming deer and random squirrels hanging around your campsite? While we can’t account for all, some do end up in the hands of a skilled taxidermist. Lawson, who grew up on a farm with a taxidermist father, can attest to that. A few pages into this memoir and you’ll find yourself struggling to keep water from shooting out your nose from laughing so hard—or Googling for cute, stuffed squirrels. Either way, we won’t judge.

Night of the Grizzlies by Jack Olsen

We’re turning to Smithsonian Magazine for this recommendation, in part because we can’t bear the burden of sending you into woods with a book about grizzly bear attacks. The book recounts the events that led to two grizzly bear attacks on August 13, 1967 in Glacier National Park. The bears attacked and killed two unrelated women in one of recent history’s most tragic, and strange, animal attacks. the most bizarre stories of modern wilderness tragedy. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik

This is the story of three birders on a year-long birdwatching race. Sound competitive? Throw in a cast of disgruntled animals, unpredictable elements and a 745 different species, and you’ve got the makings of an aviary caper. Much like the major motion picture, which stars Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson, comedy will ensue.

2 responses to this post.

  1. What about Walden by Henry David Thoreau and Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman?

    “A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. The fluviatile trees next the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden (A Life in the Woods)

    “Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.”
    ― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass


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