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 ChristineCarbo.com.

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.
The Call of the Wild
Jack London

The combination of man and dog against the elements of the then untamed North and the anything-goes adventurous nature of Buck, the protagonist, makes for exciting reading. London draws on his turn of the century experiences during the Goldrush in Alaska when dogs were as important to survival as humans.

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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.
Into the Wild
Jon Krakauer

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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.
In the Woods
Tana French

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Wild
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.
Wild
Cheryl Strayed

A solo thousand mile journey on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State taken by an inexperienced hiker is a revelation. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

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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.
Night of the Grizzlies
Jack Olsen

MENTIONED IN:

15 Books to Read Around the Campfire

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Deliverance
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.
Deliverance
James Dickey

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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.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Stephen King

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Descent
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.
Descent
Tim Johnston

The Courtland family is taking one last vacation in the Rocky Mountains before their daughter leaves for college. But when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns, the mountains become as terrifying as they are majestic.

Read our review of DESCENT here.

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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.
Winter's Bone
Daniel Woodrell

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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.
Fourth of July Creek
Smith Henderson

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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.
The Wrath of Angels
John Connolly

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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.
Windigo Island
William Kent Krueger

When the body of a missing teenage girl washes up on the shore of a Minnesota island in Lake Superior, the residents of the nearby Bad Bluff reservation whisper that it was the work of the deadly mythical beast, the Windigo. Private investigator Cork O’Connor has taken on the case to determine how to save another missing girl, before it’s too late.

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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.
Before the Fall
Noah Hawley

MENTIONED IN:

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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.
A River Runs through It and Other Stories
Norman Maclean

This semi-autobiographical novel about the power and beauty of nature l inspired the classic film of the same name. The story of a Presbyterian family from turn-of-the century Montana for whom "there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing," it focuses on the relationship of two brothers: Older Norman who is try to straighten out his wild younger brother, Paul.

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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.
Travels with Charley in Search of America
John Steinbeck

To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck’s goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. John Steinbeck was awarded in 1964.

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