Terry Tempest Williams
Author and activist Terry Tempest Williams brings fierce passion to her subjects, from her own family to pressing environmental and social issues. In Refuge, she deftly weaves together the concurrent tragedies that besieged her during the spring of 1983: her mother’s cancer diagnosis and the record rise of the Great Salt Lake. The result is a moving account of grace and humanity in the face of devastation, both natural and unnatural.
A Field Guide to Getting Lost
This series of essays showcases Rebecca Solnit’s incredible ability to elegantly and associatively connect seemingly disparate things as her writing traverses the territory of travel, criticism, memoir, and more. In this “field guide,” place and the exploration of the natural world loom large, and the resonance of Solnit’s insights (“Every love has its landscape”) ensures that the reader is never lost.
The Solace of Open Spaces
Gretel Ehrlich penned this slim collection after a sudden tragedy and a drastic geographic move—from New York to the high plains of Wyoming. The detour of these changes, she explains, “became the actual path; the digressions in my writing, the narrative.” Across a series of meditative essays, that narrative traverses the open spaces of rural Wyoming, the people who inhabit them, and the life Ehrlich builds for herself there. Ehrlich’s tender and expansive writing reflects the landscape she so vividly depicts.
The Anthropology of Turquoise
Ellen Meloy’s playful and lyrical essays explore the human connection to the natural world, particularly the red rock desert she called home in Southeast Utah. Bold, informative, and often irreverent, The Anthropology of Turquoise uses the color turquoise as a starting point for discussions of color, light, landscape, desire, and the seas, mountains, and of course her beloved desert, where all of these meet.
These true stories by brave, independent women will motivate you to be bold, explore, and take risks—both outdoors and in. Some of these books are memoirs, some are essay collections, and all of them feature female narrators who are adventurous, introspective, and deeply at home in their chosen landscapes, from the Pacific Crest Trail to the Great Salt Lake to the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond. These women confront questions about nature, grief, art, love, and more with inspiring clarity, strength, and insight.
Featured image: Death to Stock Photo