For Oliver Skywolf, reading and travel have always been intertwined.
Both transport you somewhere, allow you to escape your normal routine, and embark on an entirely new adventure. Both give you the opportunity to explore a new world.
But it wasn’t until reading “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck that he discovered a way to merge his two passions.
Steinbeck’s Depression-era novel is set in Monterey, California, not far from Oliver’s home in the state’s Bay Area. Why not drive to Monterey? he thought. I could read it there and immerse myself in the setting.
Once set up on the beautiful beach city of Monterey, Oliver snapped a photo of the book in front of the place it was based upon. From there, his idea for a new Instagram account was born.
An active member of the “Bookstagram” community, Oliver (@oliverskywolf) takes pictures that highlight his favorite books and locations. His feed is filled with novels set against a variety of scenic backdrops, featuring a healthy mix of classic and contemporary authors, from Ernest Hemingway and Ray Bradbury to Gillian Flynn and Neil Gaiman.
Oliver has no particular method to his shots, simply letting inspiration strike wherever it chooses to. Often, he’ll find himself somewhere with a breathtaking view, so he’ll take whatever book he has with him out of his bag to grab a quick shot. Other times, he’s more calculated, choosing locations that match whatever story he’s currently engrossed in. He’ll pair the chill and isolation of Stephen King’s “Misery” with a snowy field of evergreens, or the beauty and paradise of Alex Garland’s “The Beach” with waves crashing on a Hawaiian shore.
Whatever the case, whether at a clifftop or a coffee shop, Oliver simply tries to capture the tranquility shared by readers and travelers.
Once, while en route to Las Vegas, Oliver took a short detour and pulled off into the Mojave Desert. At the time, he was reading McCarthy’s “No Country For Old Men,” a story set in the desert and countryside, and he thought the Mojave would make for a perfect backdrop. The landscape was barren, the temperature a sweltering 100 degrees Fahrenheit (380 C), but as Oliver got out of the car and felt the staggering heat on his skin, he felt like he was among McCarthy’s pages, part of the exciting story.
Oliver certainly has favorite locations — he spends a lot time exploring the sprawling valleys of Yosemite, and he enjoys hiking to Burney Falls, a peaceful, cascading waterfall in northern California.
But when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter where he ends up. As long as he has a good book with him, he can go anywhere.
Oliver Skywolf is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. In his free time, he’s often reading, exploring, and coffee shop hopping across California. Oliver runs a literary-themed page on Instagram (@oliverskywolf), and you can find his writing at oliverskywolf.wordpress.com.