Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Welcome REI Co-op Members!
We're glad you're here. If you can't access the Co-op Members section of the community,
click here for instructions on how to join the section that's just for you.

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel

Another fantastic book about women in the outdoors (can you tell my summer reading list has a theme?)

The Secret to Superhuman Strength is a graphic-novel style memoir of exercise and outdoor sport.  Bechdel is a McArthur genius grant winner for her previous cartoons, and this is pretty much another work of genius.  It turns out her relationship to physical exercise and the outdoors is every bit as complicated as the family dynamics and romantic relationships she worked though in her previous books.   What she's looking for, of course, is to transcend the limitations of the human body, so naturally the story involves William and Dorothy Wordsworth, New England transcendentalists, Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac and Chogyam Trungpa.  When she shifts her loyalty from LL Bean to Patagonia, her exercise obsessions shift with the branding, but this book is not just about what outdoor advertising is trying to sell us.  It's also about what we receive from our participation in outdoor recreation.   Five stars ***** for a really amazing book!

2 Replies

@AmyB - I love that your summer read list has this theme! And that you're sharing it with us. I am definitely going to look into this one!

Interestingly enough, I recently re-read a book that had been adapted to the graphic novel style and really enjoyed it. It was my first time reading a graphic novel and I both enjoyed it and took it in totally differently than when I read it with words. It's not in your women in the outdoors theme, but it's called Sapiens: A Graphic History by Noah Harari if you're interested in taking a look!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks for the book suggestion!  That does look really interesting and I have not read it.