A Polarizing, Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild

“Wild,” in reference to the great outdoors, conveys an image of land and creatures untarnished by human contact. Yet the adjective is just as often used to describe humans themselves—the bold, the unfettered, the daring, the dangerous. It is precisely at the intersection of these definitions that great adventures unfold. From Jack London’s novel The Call of the Wild to Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild, the literary canon is replete with tales of man’s negotiation of nature. But for me, an armchair explorer and an avid consumer of literary fiction, few books of this genre make my heart ache in the way of the stories I hold dear. There is just one tale of man versus nature that has enraptured and captivated me in my lifetime, and that is Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild.

Originally a long-form article published in Outside magazine, Into the Wild is the true story of Christopher McCandless, who in 1992 renounced all his worldly possessions and human connections to venture into the Alaskan wild. Though arguably ill-equipped for the harsh landscape, he survived for a time by hunting and gathering, and taking shelter from the elements in an abandoned bus.

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Water, Water Anywhere

When Charles Fishman’s The Big Thirst was published in 2011, one critic paused in his praise to point out that the book came at “an odd moment.” At the time, the snowpack at Lake Tahoe was 165 percent of normal. Today, state officials anticipate the statewide snowpack to be 6…

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The Great American Novel Turns Ninety

Editor’s Note: Today marks the ninetieth anniversary of Scribner’s publication of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. First published on April 10, 1925, Fitzgerald’s third book stands as the supreme achievement of his career. To celebrate this occasion, Scribner has collected comments from writers on how Gatsby has influenced…

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So many books, so little time.

-Frank Zappa