Share 15 Books to Read Around the Campfire

15 Books to Read Around the Campfire

Christine Carbo is the author of THE WILD INSIDE and MORTAL FALL. After earning a pilot’s license, pursuing various adventures in Norway, and working a brief stint as a flight attendant, she got an MA in English and linguistics and taught college-level writing, linguistics, and literature courses. She still teaches, in a vastly different realm, as the owner of a Pilates studio. A Florida native, she and her family live in Whitefish, Montana. Find out more at

Summer officially arrives this week and that means trips to the beach, the mountains, and the park. Maybe you’re already packing tents so you can sleep under the stars. These 15 nature-filled books are perfect to read by the campfire, in the RV, or even on the couch if your idea of the great outdoors is looking out the picture window.

The Call of the Wild
by Jack London
Jack London’s most known and beloved novel is a nature classic featuring a sled dog who transforms from his domesticated ranch life to his wild and instinctual nature.

Into the Wild
by Jon Krakauer
A biography about a young man from a well-to-do family who goes into nature and eventually into the Alaskan wilderness to invent a new life for himself and prove he can survive without society, but never comes out.

In the Woods
by Tana French
It’s not about the great outdoors, but echoes it. After all, one can find snippets of nature in any city, in any park. The main character’s friends go missing in some woods in a Dublin suburb when he is only 12, and 20 years later, he must investigate a crime that takes place in the same woods.

by Cheryl Strayed
When Cheryl Strayed’s mom died and her family fell apart, without any backpacking experience, she embarked upon the Pacific Crest Trail in an effort to find balance and some peace.

Night of the Grizzlies
by Jack Olsen
A harrowing and true account of a tragic night in August of 1967 when two separate and unrelated female campers were attacked and killed by grizzlies in Glacier National Park.

by James Dickey
Many have heard about the movie, but the book is worth the read. In the northern Georgia wilderness, on a remote, unchartered white-water river, four men embark on a canoe trip that turns into a nightmarish struggle for survival when they encounter not only difficult river conditions, but malevolent mountain men.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
by Stephen King
When a girl wanders away from her bickering older brother and recently divorced mother on an Appalachian Trail, she becomes lost in the wilderness and confronts a predator that may or may not be real.

by Tim Johnston
A literary novel of suspense about a girl who is abducted in the Colorado wilderness and how it affects her and her entire family.

Winter's Bone
by Daniel Woodrell
A hard, chilling account of a young girl trying to care for her mom and her siblings after her father goes missing in the harsh and tangled countryside of the Ozarks.

Fourth of July Creek
by Smith Henderson
A social worker living in northwest Montana deals with all types, namely one anarchist and his family who are trying to live off the grid in Montana’s rugged mountains. Smith Henderson explores the complexities of American freedom and the restrictions that go along with being part of society.

The Wrath of Angels
by John Connolly
A suspenseful Charlie Parker thriller taking place in and around the deep, haunting woods of Maine where a wrecked plane with no bodies is discovered. It involves the supernatural and will keep you turning pages.

Windigo Island
by William Kent Krueger
Rural Minnesota would seem peaceful enough, but William Kent Krueger has his series detective, Cork O’Connor, adeptly expose poverty, abuse, and alcoholism on the nearby Indian reservations, and worse—those who exploit innocent children from those reservations.

Before the Fall
by Noah Hawley
A recent winner of the 2017 Edgar Award for Best Novel. The description of the crash into the ocean and the epic, heroic swim the protagonist takes to save himself and a young boy will have you on the edge of your seat (or camping chair or log), especially if you’re on a beach camping trip. There’s nothing like nature to make us feel small and helpless.

A River Runs through It and Other Stories
by Norman Maclean
Again, many have seen the movie based on Norman Maclean’s classic collection that poignantly recounts his years growing up in Montana with his uncontrollable, passionate fly-fishing brother and his Presbyterian family, but it’s the gorgeous writing so gracefully tuned into nature that stays in your mind long after you’ve read the last page.

Travels with Charley in Search of America
by John Steinbeck
A travelogue—a journey. You will fall in love with John Steinbeck’s writing all over again, and you will also fall for the author’s Standard poodle, Charley, as Steinbeck recounts their adventures driving an RV (named after Don Quixote’s horse) around America.

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