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Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  120 ratings  ·  21 reviews
“It’s not so surprising that on the day of my fifth wedding anniversary I would be crouched in the open door of an airplane, thirteen thousand feet above the Colorado plains, about to jump out. That coincidence of timing really wasn’t.”

Steph Davis is a superstar in the climbing community and has ascended some of the world’
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ebook, 304 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Touchstone (first published February 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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sendann
A huge leap from her last athletic memoir, I found this book engaging and inspiring beginning to end. For climbers familiar with the author and her career arc, this fills out the picture of a very weird public story from a few years ago. As much as I relate to and feel thankful for getting to hear such an intense and personal story, there were a few too many distracting elements going on in the text. The extrapolation to narration ratio was too high for me, and although I loved the messages abou ...more
Gregory
Americans love to rave about their individual freedoms. Ironically, most shackle their lives to desires and expectations other than their own and grind out their days without ever bothering to discover their genuine loves and passions. Even more tragic, many of those who do know their hearts can’t summon the courage to take the action true love requires.

Steph Davis is not one of those people. She has no place among Teddy Roosevelt’s “cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Ste
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Cheryl
I have not heard of Steph Davis nor am I familiar with the controversy that her then husband made in the media. Steph’s husband climbed the “Arches” in the Utah National Park. Although, climbing is allowed in the park it is frowned upon to climb such a famous landmark. It got so bad that it was almost like Steph’s husband was on trial in a Salem witch hunt. Of course coupled with the media and the loss of some big sponsors, the marriage crumbled. However if it was not for this, Steph may not hav ...more
Drew Holmes
brought back so many memories of my life on a drop zone....My brother taught claimbing with her so many years ago in Colorado.

quick fun read
Katherine Jones
After being hit by a series of crises, Steph Davis knew she had to take a giant step back and retool. And though her particular situation might not be one everyone can identify with, her general quandary is: “Whatever might happen in life,” Steph Davis writes, “whether I liked it or didn’t like it, I could know one thing for sure: it would change. There was absolute certainty in uncertainty.”

Davis writes in a spare style, which you might expect from a woman who quit law school to pursue the asce
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Betty
Reflections: me climb mountains? Hah! The closest I ever did that was Stone Mountain near Atlanta. We rode the cable car up the steep part and walked down the sloping side. I tripped, slid on my stomach several feet, and ruined my favorite pair of slacks. Didn't even skin my knees, but it was enough to turn me off climbing.

Steph Davis is completely opposite of me. That is what makes reading books so much fun --- we live adventurously through them. Davis dropped out of law school and climbed whe
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Jessica Kelley
Great book - much better than High Infatuation. I confess I stayed up way too late to finish this and **SPOILER ALERT** cried when Fletch died. So heartbreaking. The book is even more gut-wrenching because as a reader, I know what ultimately happens to her husband, Mario Richard (not in the book, but several months after the book was published).
Highly recommend. Waffled between 4 and 5 stars.
Shelley
Great memoir about Steph Davis, professional rock climber, who lost it all -- career, marriage -- in one fell swoop, and then shifted gears and learned to sky dive and base jump. While doing this, she learns more about herself, her life, her goals, and her loves. Reading about her personal transformation, for me, was more interesting than how she learned to jump.
Fiona Mcfarlane
Dangerous book to read - makes you want to go jump off a cliff - but in a fun way! Loved this - both the stories of climbing and base jumping, but also the thoughts on philosophy and life.
Lanell
This book was really interesting. Sometimes I dream of living this way. Just following your passions. Does not seem realistic but she pulls it off. I thought it was a good read.
Matt Pierce
An amazing adventurous read. Steph writes an honest biographical account of how climbing, skydiving, base jumping and wingsuit flying changed her life, during a time in her life when she needed it. Along with her love of the desert, Mario and her dog Fletch she brings the reader along on an amazing emotional journey that involves climbing (often free-solo with no rope), skydiving, base jumping, wing suit flying, personal challenges with life and personal empowerment. If you want to read what it' ...more
Tamara
Really a 3.5 star bk. Enjoyable, fun, sad at times. When Steph's husband makes a controversial climb- the fallout leaves her marriage and life broken into a million pieces.

Steph's story is about finding herself, learning a new sport, and finding the love in climbing again.

Through friends and Fletcher, the dog, she finds that life can be good again. And love can be found.

My review:
Traveling With T
Sharry Miller
Yep, I'm ready to go skydiving tomorrow, and to buy a wingsuit the day after so I can try flying off of tall cliffs. Steph Davis has a way of inducing that sort of excitement in Learning to Fly. She describes her transition from being a professional rock climber whose greatest fear is falling to a skydiving addict who can't wait to find the next cliff she can jump off. Even better is climbing up the cliff first. Learning to fly is a wonderful way for an armchair athlete or skydiver wannabe to vi ...more
Heather
LOVE her. She's one of my pedestal people. I didn't find the insights I was hoping for in 'Learning to Fly.' 'High Infatuation,' her first book, is one of my favorite title of all time, and I hoped that her most recent piece of writings would be more like that.

That's okay, though...my own expectations don't get to dictate what a book provides for others, and I hope that 'Learning to Fly' is read and loved and savored and cherished by others. There's a lot of good stuff between the covers!
Cameron
I've thought about learning to BASE jump and skydive but after I read this book I decided to make it a goal. This was an entertaining book about the changes in life. Steph writes about fear and determination as she explores a sport that allows her to explore a part of her she never knew existed.

This is one of the best reads if had in a while.
Prana Living
Loved the very personal insight into Steph's life. She is an amazing extreme athlete and an equally amazing person. Learn more about her at http://www.prana.com/life/ambassadors and check out her video series at https://vimeo.com/search?q=steph+davis
Amar Pai
I don't condone BASE jumping, but this book spoke to me. I guess cos of where I'm at. Gives one hope. Post-script 4/28/15: R.I.P. Mario Richard
Bernadette
Connected to the climbing world via marriage, I was able to understand the need to connect to the world through climbing (free-solo) and BASE jumping, unfortunately most of the world just does not get this,
Alison Naney
It's always nice to read memoirs about climbing, especially by a woman and one who can actually write well. As a dog lover, I loved reading about her relationship with her lovely dog.
Amy
Steph Davis is a truly admirable woman.
Nancy
Apr 07, 2013 Nancy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
newspaper recommendation
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“Whatever might happen in life, whether I liked it or didn’t like it, I could know one thing for sure: it would change. There was absolute certainty in uncertainty, in some ways an enormous comfort.” 0 likes
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