I’m not a horse person, and I’ve never been to Mongolia, but after reading Rough Magic, the debut memoir by Lara Prior-Palmer, I find myself reconsidering my life choices. Prior-Palmer, at the advanced age of 19, vividly brings to life her spur-of-the-moment decision to enter the Mongol Derby, the annual 10-day horse race across the Mongolian steppe. Spoiler alert: she wins, the first woman and the youngest person to do so. How she does it is the real story—Prior-Palmer writes like a dream, capturing the freedom, beauty, and sometimes terror of this 1000-kilometer feat of endurance. Rough Magic is a wild ride from beginning to end, and one you won’t want to miss.