With "Into The Wild", fresh-air fiend John Krakauer recounts the true story of Chris McCandless, a young idealist who, in 1992, set off into the Alaskan wilderness equipped with just a small backpack and a ten-pound bag of rice. Sadly his trip ended tragically and this book invetsigates his last years and tries to explain what led this upper middle class youth to cut all ties with his family and opt for a life on the road going by the name of Alex Supertramp. McCandless had an idealistic outlook inspired by the works of Jack London, Thoreau and Tolstoy, though there are some who suggest he was more of a naive fool than a modern day king of the road. Krakauer, however, paints a very sympathetic portrait of Chris/Alex and seems to feel some kind of kinship with him. The narrative of the main protagonist's last years are interspersed with anecdotes of other similar tragic tales, including a near-fatal adventure undertaken by the author.
I'll be curious to catch Sean Penn's film version of the book when it hits Japanese shores, as I've heard it's had good reviews.
A truly absorbing and moving book for anyone who has a sense of adventure and a love of life.