“So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.”

My much-hated color wheel. Done in haste; sloppy but complete.

“To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life–like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.” -Cheryl Strayed, Wild

I’ve been on a reading bender, probably because I am not even close to hitting my reading goals for 2012. And with 2013 so close!

Wild was my most recent read, completed today, and so far it’s my favorite nonfiction work of the year. Nothing in the world would possess me to ever wish to do something like hike the Pacific Crest Trail, but reading Cheryl Strayed’s account of it–interwoven with her memories of her mother’s life and death–was entangling. I say entangling instead of fascinating or entrancing because some of those memories are deeply sad, but Strayed’s fluid prose swept me off my feet. And her honesty and essential goodness glow through the text.

Oddly enough I’d read the far less emotionally fraught memoir Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour in the same week, and struggled to get through them. It was easy to fly through Wild, and I’m not certain why: the singularity of Strayed’s story, maybe? I liked it very much, although I remain Mr. Bourdain’s ever faithful admirer, &c.

I’ve read a lot of memoirs in 2012. Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Tony Bourdain, Cheryl Strayed, and on and on. I’m assembling a preliminary reading list for 2013, and so far no memoirs. Will post the read 2012 list and the to-read 2013 when they are both more complete.