Who hasn’t dreamed of leaving it all behind and embarking on a round-the-world adventure? In the nonfiction work, The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World, Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner do just that. Living in New York, with high-demand jobs, the three women decide to pause their careers and relationships and travel the world to find who they really are. They face the scrutiny of others who can’t believe they would put their career climbs and dating on hold. Throughout the journey, we get to know each woman individually and we realize we can relate. There’s Jen, who wants to enjoy the purity of the adventure and not think about work during their year-long vacation; Amanda, who can’t let go of writing and misses out on some of the fun while trying to pitch article ideas in difficult Internet cafes; and Holly, who has the spirit of adventure in her heart. Traveling through South America, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia, the trio runs into their share of challenges while enjoying the beauty of the people and places they visit. This book is a collective journal written by all three women and how they eventually discover themselves, depending on each other and strengthening their bond. By the end, you’ll feel like part of their group or want to form a group of your own and plan your own detour around the world.
Short story collections can sometimes seem cumbersome to a reader. They bring you in and out of different worlds at a steady pace that can be uncomfortable for some. In Nickolas Butler’s new collection, Beneath the Bonfire, the stories draw you in and let you go so gently that it’s a nice transition from one world to the next. Mainly set in the Midwest, and more specifically Wisconsin, Butler represents the area accurately, depicting different ages and circumstances that transcend their location. We meet a young couple embarking on a Midwestern tradition on a frozen lake, a group of friends spending a weekend mushroom hunting, and a timid woman who falls in love with a conman. Butler’s stories raise questions of how far one should go for what he believes in, when to quit in relationships, and what to do when one of your own does something unforgivable. The characters in these stories will haunt you long after you put down this book, like ghosts keeping place in your mind.