Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reading Lists: Adventure Books

Welcome to this week's installment of our newest feature here at The Blue Bookcase: Reading Lists. Every week either one of us or a guest blogger will post on one of his or her favorite topics and provide a list of books he or she is familiar with on that topic. At the end of each post we will invite you to throw out any suggestions of books, fiction or non-fiction, that you have read or know about on that topic and we will add them to the list on that post.

These lists are not comprehensive by any means, but may be useful in helping you find your next read. Enjoy!

This week, we are lucky to have guest blogger Rob Curry compile a list for us of Adventure Books.

Rob at the Grand Canyon
 Who doesn’t love a good adventure? For the last couple years I’ve gone with a couple friends and my Dad and hiked the Grand Canyon. We filled up our backpacks with water and some food and set off walking down into one of the largest canyons on earth. We only brought enough supplies for one day – so there was no stopping and spending the night if we got tired . We had to make it out. It was tough, but the sense of accomplishment was more than worth it. (By the way the National Park Service strongly advises against attempting this!)

For me there is a big thrill that comes with conquering something Mother Nature puts in your path. For the record, I’ve never done anything really dangerous – but I love reading about people who have! It doesn’t matter where they’re headed as long as there is danger and a challenge involved.

This is not a complete list of the best adventure stories. Instead, I tired to pick books that have a sample of different types of adventure. I hope you enjoy them and maybe feel inspired to have an adventure of your own.

My List:

The Last Voyage of Columbus – by Martin Dugard
Christopher Columbus's fourth voyage was his final, least-known, and arguably most exciting expedition. The extended 1502-4 trip took him to what are now the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Jamaica and exposed him and his men to deadly storms, attacks, mutiny, shipwreck, and terrible deprivation. (Goodreads)

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon - David Grann
A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon. (Goodreads)
A Walk in the Woods- by Bill Bryson
In order to rediscover America by, as he puts it, "going out into an America that most people scarcely know is there," he set out to walk, in the company of Stephen Katz, his college roommate and sometime nemesis, the length of the Appalachian Trail. His account of that adventure is at once hilarious, inspiring, and even educational. (Goodreads)

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean - by Susan Casey
For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis¬missed these stories. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s water. As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo¬ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100¬ foot wave (Goodreads)

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen - by Christopher McDougall
Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder. (Goodreads)

What are your favorite adventure books, fiction or non-fiction?

Your Suggestions:

From Seth @ Free Listens:
-The 39 Steps: The granddaddy of all man-on-the-run adventure books like The Bourne Identity, this short novel follows Richard Hannay across the English countryside as he tries to escape the police for a murder he didn't commit and expose a international conspiracy.
-The Hound of the Baskervilles. Probably the most famous and greatest of the Sherlock Holmes adventures.
-The Count of Monte Cristo Despite its massive length, this is an action packed revenge thriller.
-King Solomon's Mines This lost civilization novel is set in Africa in the Victorian Age, but it's less racist than you might assume. The main character, Alan Quartermain, is a wonderful scoundrel.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (Wendy from CaribousMom)
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Laura from The Scarlet Letter)
Winterdance by Gary Paulsen (Wendy from CaribousMom)
Treasure Island by Robert Louise Stevenson (Allie from A Literary Odyssey)
180 Degrees South (Christine from Bookishly Boisterous)
A River of Doubt by Candice Millard (Belle from BookBelle)
Night Mail by Antoine de Saint Exupery (Stu from Winstonsdad)
Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King (Christina from The Blue Bookcase)