I have seen the movie, “Into the Wild,” more times than I count. Sometime after my second or third trip with Alexander Supertramp to Alaska, I decided I would read every book mentioned in the movie. One of the books that came up was “Education of a Wandering Man” by Louis L’Amour. Now, I’ve never read any of his books. I’ve seen them. We all have. They usually occupy the book shelf at your local Love’s. Judging a book by its cover, they seemed to be cheap, easy reads focused on life in the American West and cowboys and Indians. These aren’t subjects in which I am generally interested. So, reading an autobiography about the man behind the stories probably would have never happened if it were not for the challenge.
As I finished the book, Tolkien’s famous quote, “not all who wander are lost,” kept running through my mind. Louis was a well-traveled man. He lived all over the world undertaking odd jobs and meeting people from all different stripes. On more than one occasion, I am sure he encountered people who told him to settle down and find some direction for his life. Louis, like a lot of us, felt that this was his purpose. He wanted as many different experiences with as many different people as possible. This is something that has been at the very fabric of my being since I was a little kid. It was so very refreshing to once again see I am not alone.
Louis was also a lover of books. He was a voracious reader. Whole chapters in this book are dedicated to the books he loved and the reads that impressed him. Everywhere he went, a book was by his side. He read to gain a different perspective and to gain a look into the lives of others. I have said it before and I will say it again, I just don’t understand people who profess proudly to be non-readers. They have no clue the worlds they are missing and the people they will never meet. While my appetite for reading isn’t as substantial as Louis’, a book is always with me. For this reason, his love of books was very relatable.
Finally, Louis, being an author and reader, possessed a great love for stories. He seemed to possess a very analytical mind that was constantly studying and breathing in his world. He captured the stories of those he met and studied in an effort to be better at his craft. This was a revelation for me. I have written since I was a little child, but I have never been very good at telling the stories of anyone else besides myself. While reading this book, I picked up so many tips and tricks on how to capture those moments. For that help alone, I would recommend this book to anyone aspiring to write better.
In a lot of ways, this is a pretty average autobiography, but I now feel like I understand those who wander a little more. I walked away with a better understanding of myself. I don’t know if you can ask much more of a book.
Thanks for entering my world,