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Be Wildly Prepared

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When a book is compelling enough to motivate Oprah Winfrey to relaunch a project, it has to be good.

Cheryl Strayed's hiking memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail was the first pick in Winfrey's Book Club 2.0. It was also popular and interesting enough that Strayed's long-lost half-sister discovered it at a library. A film based on Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, adapted by Nick Hornby and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée is expected to see a 2014 release.

Strayed's book Wild has been adapted to a movie starring Reese Witherspoon with an anticipated 2014 release. - JONI KABANA
  • Joni Kabana
  • Strayed's book Wild has been adapted to a movie starring Reese Witherspoon with an anticipated 2014 release.

She's kind of a big deal. And that's not even if you are a fan of the sort of straightforward and compassionate advice that she dispensed through her "Dear Sugar" column on the Rumpus, which was compiled in Tiny Beautiful Things. At turns funny and heartfelt, Strayed would be the perfect person to have on speed dial when life gets bumpy. None of which is surprising, given the pieces of her autobiography that she has revealed in her work -- from her mother's early death and a destroyed marriage to the lessons she learned on the Pacific Coast trail. Her understanding of human relationships undergirds her novel Torch, as well.

So, if you'll be headed to Clowes Memorial Hall on Butler University's campus to see Strayed, appearing as part of the school's Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series, here are a few opportunities (other than speed reading or re-reading her bound works) to prepare -- in addition to the links above:

· 99U writer Jenn Godbout chats with Strayed about how writing is essential in her life and how it can be used by everyone as "to locate your clarity."

· An essay by Strayed about the time that Alice Munro wrote her an encouraging note.

· Strayed's TEDxConcordiaUPortland talk on "Radical Sincerity."

· Seven things that didn't make it into Wild from, yes, Oprah.com.

· The three books that Strayed loves and believes are "criminally underrated," including one book about a cat -- a detail that should surprise few readers of her short stories or followers of her Instragram feed.

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