Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson
One of Joe Simpson’s most heart-stopping tales is Touching the Void, a tale of a harrowing journey through Peruvian mountains. Siula Grande’s remote summit was reached in June 1985 by him and his climbing partner, Simon. Simon arrived at Base Camp a few days later, exhausted and covered in frostbite, with the news that Joe had died.
When Simon was forced to make an appalling decision to cut the rope, he and Joe were forced to deal with the psychological traumas that resulted from that decision.
The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by Anatoli Boukreev
In the midst of the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster, one man had the courage to bring down the remaining climbers alive…
Commercial expeditions led by experienced leaders attempted the world’s highest peak on May 10, 1996. The situation, however, quickly became disastrous. Crowded conditions, poor judgment, and a fierce storm thwarted many climbers. Those who survived were either killed or stranded on the icy mountainside. The Mountain Madness expedition’s head climbing guide, Anatoli Boukreev, braved the storm to save the lives of three of his clients. A modern-day hero risks his life to save others in this incredible account of a mission doomed from the start by the blind ambition that drives people to take on such risky endeavors.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
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Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything when she was twenty-two. After her mother’s death, her family dispersed, and her own marriage soon fell apart. For the first time in her entire life, she decided to take a risk. She would hike more than 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State on her own, with no prior experience or training.
This gripping story of a young woman who defied the odds to embark on a journey that would ultimately drive her mad, strengthen her, and heal her is told with suspense and style while also brimming with warmth and humor.
The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger
To put it another way: It immerses readers in Mother Nature’s magnificent yet perilous mayhem at its most extreme.
October 1991 This nor’easter was so rare that it couldn’t have been worse. It was “the perfect storm,” a storm that may happen only once in a century. With ten-story-high waves and 120mph winds, the storm whipped the ocean to a level few people on Earth have ever seen. Few, except for the six members of the Andrea Gail crew, a commercial fishing boat destined for hell’s pitiless core.
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
From Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail traverses some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the United States, including majestic mountains, quiet forests, and glistening lakes. To go hiking, it’s probably the best place to visit. And there’s no denying that Bill Bryson is the most witty and engaging tour guide around. Some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) people he encounters along the trail, as well as some bears, are all introduced by him. A Walk in the Woods is already a cult classic, and it will make you crave the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
Seabiscuit and Unbroken fans will enjoy the story of the American rowing team that wowed the world at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. “
University of Washington eight-oar crew, the 1936 Olympic gold medalists, are the subject of Daniel James Brown’s hefty book, which chronicles their epic quest for Olympic glory. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, a crew made up of sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers beat a German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler and their elite eastern and British university rivals.
By far the most poignant character is Joe Rantz, an unemployed teenager who rows to reclaim his self-esteem and a place he can call home after losing his family and job prospects. After being put together through a mysterious coach and guided by an eccentric, visionary British boat builder, the crew is a victorious team because they believe in each other. Everyone pulls together to show what can be accomplished when everyone has a strong sense of commitment, determination, and optimism.
As told through their own words and pictures from a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, The Boys in the Boat tells the incredible true story of nine working-class boys from the American West who, during a time of great desperation, demonstrated what true grit and determination could accomplish. Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs fans will enjoy this book.
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
There are so many sensational events at the 1893 World’s Fair that readers may wonder whether or not “The Devil in the White City,” by Erik Larson, is, in fact, an imaginative fiction book. Architect Daniel H. Burnham and a charming doctor-turned-serial killer H.H. Holmes are the subjects of Larson’s tales of the World’s Fair.
Burnham faced a monumental task. To build the “White City” around the fairgrounds, he had to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles in a short period of time. The fair’s incredible success, as well as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison’s entertaining appearances, are all skillfully related.
Furthermore, Dr. Holmes’ murderous antics during this year’s fair are equally remarkable… He built the World’s Fair Hotel, which included a crematorium and a gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event and his own charisma to attract victims.
A novel alternating between the stories of an architect and a murderer may seem like an odd choice at first, but it works well. Larson’s skillful writing reveals both the magical appeal and the horrifying dark side of 19th-century Chicago.