Cheryl Strayed reads

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Along the way, Cheryl says, she lost herself in books. "In the first week of my hike, I was often too exhausted to read more than a page or two before I fell asleep, but as I grew stronger, I was reading more, eager to escape the tedium of my days."

As she made her way through each book, she burned the pages. "Never had I dreamed I'd be burning books—but I was desperate to lighten my load."

In all, she burned 11 books, including James Joyce's Dubliners, which she is seen reading above.