I received Storm Mountain as a gift from a very thoughtful student who knows I like survival stories. This book is a work of fiction and though the st...moreI received Storm Mountain as a gift from a very thoughtful student who knows I like survival stories. This book is a work of fiction and though the story is quite implausible and a tad too sentimental for my taste, it does contain a lot of factual information about the sport of climbing. Interestingly, there really is a Storm Mountain located in Oregon, but it is neither in the Cascade range nor as tall as the book describes.
This book was just OK; granted, it's pretty hard for a fictional survival story to live up to a real one. I would probably recommend this to students in 3rd-5th grade, though some of the climbing jargon might be hard for them to grasp. It would make a good read-aloud story in a classroom though. It has some exciting and suspenseful chapters and kids will identify with the characters. (less)
This is the true story of Minnesota native Ann Bancroft and Norwegian Liv Arneson’s dream to cross Antarctica on skis. The story explains the challeng...moreThis is the true story of Minnesota native Ann Bancroft and Norwegian Liv Arneson’s dream to cross Antarctica on skis. The story explains the challenges and triumphs of the expedition and is accompanied by stunning paintings by artist Nicolas Reti. Readers will be amazed and inspired by these modern day adventurers. Age 10 and up. (less)
For fans of adventure and extreme sports, Peak: a Novel delivers a gripping and intense story about the challenges and ethics of mountaineering. Fourt...moreFor fans of adventure and extreme sports, Peak: a Novel delivers a gripping and intense story about the challenges and ethics of mountaineering. Fourteen year old Peak Marcello wants to become the world’s youngest person to reach the summit of Everest. He struggles with acclimatization and knowing that his Sherpa friend Sun-Jo might be trying to beat him to the top. Can Peak allow his own selfishness to ruin his friend’s future? Ages 12+.(less)
Chris McDougall’s epic adventure began with the question, Why does my foot hurt? The answer would lead him to the greatest runners of all time, the Ta...moreChris McDougall’s epic adventure began with the question, Why does my foot hurt? The answer would lead him to the greatest runners of all time, the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico who can run hundreds of miles without stopping. On his quest, he will discover the science of running and the truth about athletic shoes in this humorous and compelling non-fiction story that is sure to inspire readers to forego their Nikes and hit the trail. 14+.(less)
**spoiler alert** I found this book in the Archaeology/Anthropology section at my local bookstore. However, instead of being a fascinating ethnography...more**spoiler alert** I found this book in the Archaeology/Anthropology section at my local bookstore. However, instead of being a fascinating ethnography of the region, it is a well-researched biography of the forgotten explorer Col. Percy Fawcett who greatly contributed to our modern understanding of the Amazon. I was wishing that Grann had expanded his last chapter which reveals that Fawcett was on the right track after all. This book has inspired me to learn more about Pre-Columbian Amazonian cultures. One of my next reads will be the anthropologist Michael Heckenberger's Ecology of Power.
Read this book if you like: 1) Narrative non-fiction 2) Victorian era exploration 3) The Amazon and its people 4) Survivalism 5) Biographies 6) Epic quests for knowledge, glory, and hidden wonders(less)
Why> I read Into the Wild because I really enjoyed Into Thin Air, I love adventure/travel stories, and I wanted to learn more about Chris McCandles...moreWhy> I read Into the Wild because I really enjoyed Into Thin Air, I love adventure/travel stories, and I wanted to learn more about Chris McCandless after seeing the film (especially more about his personal history and character).
What worked: The writing is superb; Krakauer keeps the reader interested throughout by exploring all facets of the story in a non-chronological style. What is really excellent is that Krakauer allows the reader to decide for him/herself whether or not McCandless was a romantic and idealisitc Thoreau-loving John Muir kind of guy, a troubled young man who had issues with his father and authority, or an arrogant conqueror of nature who made one too many rookie mistakes. (I believe he's a combination of all three, but some may decide otherwise). The research for the book was also well done; the use of McCandless' own writing and notations from his book collection keeps the reader fascinated by the psyche of this man.
What doesn't: In my opinion, Into the Wild needs revision. It seemed like the book was written too soon after the incident to really provide clear and unbiased analysis. I wished there had been an afterward about the McCandless legacy and his place in culture. Also, I would like to hear how his friends and family remember him almost 20 years later when the tradegy isn't so raw in their minds. Might they remember him less as an idealist and more of an inexperienced kid or would the opposite be true? It would have been interesting to interview young people and adventure junkies who have made the pilgrimage to the Magic Bus about what effect the novel, movie, and McCandless' legacy has had on them. Finally, I think the book also needs some revision with regards to Everett Ruess whose remains have recently been discovered and the true nature of his disappearance solved. Now that we know Ruess' fate, some additional comparisons could be made between the two wanderers.
To read, or not to read? Definately give this a try; especially if you like Krakauer's other work, you liked or wanted to see the movie, or are a fan of hitchhiker-type adventure stories. It was a good book, but some of the magic was lost for me because I had already seen the film. The book was better than the movie so read before you rent! (less)