7 Inspiring Books for Women Who Love Outdoor Adventure
The genre of outdoor adventure and nature writing will always be synonymous with inspiration. These books often have the power to transport readers to wild places and remind us why we fell in love with the outdoors in the first place. Below are several new and classic titles—all written by women—about life-changing adventures, the spirit of determination and the transformative power of nature. They’re books that belong on every adventurous woman’s book shelf.
LADIES, PUT THESE OUTDOOR & ADVENTURE BOOKS ON YOUR READING LIST…
1) Lands of Lost Borders | by Kate Harris
Arguably one of the best adventure stories published in recent years, Lands of Lost Borders has been a sensation in the genre of adventure writing over the last year, having won the 2018 Banff Adventure Travel Award and the 2018 Nautilus Award. It’s a debut memoir from Canadian cyclist Kate Harris, who took time off from her life in academia to cycle the Silk Road. Readers will love a fresh, modern voice who uses the ever-present themes of adventure and nature to celebrate humans and our connection to the natural world.
2) The Sharp End of Life | by Dierdre Wolownick
The Sharp End of Life is the story of the oldest woman to climb El Cap—the iconic big wall in Yosemite that draws climbers from around the world. She also just so happens to be the mother of perhaps the most famous climber in the world, Alex Honnold. Wolownick’s memoir follows her journey from young wife to busy single mother, to finally, a middle-aged, record-setting athlete. Along the way, she finds self-acceptance and a fierce determination any outdoorsy woman can relate to.
3) She Explores | by Gale Straub
A collection of short travel essays, true stories, photographs, and illustrations by real women who engage with the outdoors in a variety of ways, this 2019 book is an anthology like no other. She Explores is a celebration of women in the outdoors, and like the podcast of the same name hosted by the woman behind this book, it explores how outdoor adventure intersects with themes like mental health, motherhood, conservation, equity and inclusion, and solo female travel.
4) Braiding Sweetgrass | by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Published in 2015, Braiding Sweetgrass was written by a botanist and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Kimmerer’s writing is a poetic love letter to plants and the wisdom we can learn from them, combining modern, scientific understanding of the natural world with an ancient indigenous appreciation of plants as humanity’s oldest teachers.
5) Red | by Terry Tempest Williams
An older, but nevertheless poignant read, Red is a book about the power and lure of the desert. It’s written by one of the most well-regarded nature writers of our time, and even just one sentence into the first chapter, it’s easy to see that Williams has a very specific, very lyrical way of writing about landscape. Pick up this book if you want to look deeper at your own relationship with nature.
6) Wild | by Cheryl Strayed
Perhaps the most iconic book in the female adventure canon, Wild has stood up against the test of time and the harshest of critics. Yes, Strayed could have been a little better prepared for her Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, and yes, her memoir is full of emotions and tales of an ill-spent youth. But she speaks her own truth in a way that has resonated with millions of readers across the globe. Don’t knock it until you’ve read it for yourself—you might just find that her story of the transformative power of outdoor adventure is a lot like your own…hopefully minus some of the mishaps that befall Cheryl along the way!
7) Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube | by Blair Braverman
One of the most well-regarded contemporary adventure voices currently writing as a columnist for Outside, Braverman is as sage as she is humorous. At a young age, she heads to Norway to learn how to dogsled, and in doing so, inspires us all to silence our inner doubts and chase after our own dreams of adventure. Perfect for fans of fast-paced action, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube is part coming-of-age memoir, part heart-pounding adventure tale that takes you along for the ride on Braverman’s dogsled, each turn delightful and unforgiving.