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 Any readers here? 
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Any readers here?
I not a huge reader, but I like to get to what I can. Of course, over the past few years that's included a variety of mountain/hiking/adventure/survival books. I think I'm through many of the biggest/best known, and a smattering of others. I'd be interested to hear the thoughts or recommendations of others (that means you).

Obviously there's a TON of personal opinion/subjectivity in all of this, but the one's I think I've enjoyed the most were:

Alive -- Piers Paul Read: Just finished this within the last couple of months. Really one of the most riveting stories I've read. Yes, this is the same thing that they made the movie about (although I haven't seen the movie, and it couldn't possibly be as engaging as the book).

Between a Rock and a Hard Place -- Aron Ralston: This is the guy who cut off his arm in a canyon in Utah. It's a wild story, and interspersed all through it were various interesting stories of his hiking trips on the 14ers of Colorado and around. Really enjoyed it. (hated the movie, fwiw)

No Shortcuts to the Top -- Ed Viesturs: I think this is the most interesting of the "high altitude mountaineering" books I've read, which isn't a huge number but probably 6 or 7. It's kind of generally biographical, and not exactly what I was hoping for (I was hoping for like a chapter for each of the 14 8,000 meter peaks), but still the closest I've found and does give you at least something for every different peak. Plus he was there at the '96 Everest disaster and kind of crossed paths with everybody at one time or another. If somebody was to read just one climbing book, I'd recommend this one.

Touching the Void -- Joe Simpson: Amazing story of disaster and survival, really worthwhile. In this case, I think the documentary/re-creation film by the same name was also excellent.

Up -- Patricia Elliss Herr: I think this is most enjoyable NH/White Mountains book I've read. I'm guessing most of you are familiar with her/Herr (the bad puns write themselves), but it was a quick, fun, easy read that features our local spots.


I know somebody's going to be champing at the bit to mention Not Without Peril. Honestly, I wasn't that much for it. I'm not sure why. I know many love it.


One specifically that I haven't yet gotten to but hope to is The Adventures of Buffalo and Tough Cookie, of course he posted teasers here all the time before the book came out.


Any thoughts, favorites, recommendations, disagreements? Probably many of us have browsed through the Mountain Wanderer -- that's awesome that there's an entire book about Mt Chocorua. . . but could it really be worth reading? Anybody? Really what I need is a good HIKE, but a variety of factors have kept me in for too long. So tell us what you think!


Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:31 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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 Re: Any readers here?
I can just imagine Greg sniggering the moment he sees me posting. About 3/4 of my Facebook posts chronicle my reading habits. :lol:

So I will assume from reading your post you mean "outdoor" or "hiking" related books, so that is what I will keep my scope confined to. 8)

Forest and Crag by Guy and Laura Waterman. This is not a short and easy read. It can be a bit dry at times. But the lengths they go to in chronicling the history of hiking, skiing and climbing in the Northeast and New York is simply amazing. This book goes in and out of print a lot, so sometimes it can be hard to find.

The Last Great Walk by Wayne Curtis. It is a half-and-half story. Basically this man Edward Payton Weston, at the age of 70, walked across the US in 1909. Curtis uses that story as a vehicle to also chronicle the history of pedestrianism. Pretty quick and easy read. Can get a bit redundant at times, but still worth reading.

This Grand and Magnificent Plan by Christopher Johnson. Another truly wonderful history, this of the White Mountains. Much more personable and readable than the Waterman history, though it's scope obviously more narrow as it confines itself strictly to the White Mountains.

History Of The White Mountains by Lucy Crawford. First hand history by one of the women pioneers there from the start.

A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson. You either get his humor or you don't. But for me, and many of my friends, this is THE book you choose if you have but one to read about hiking.

Tall Trees and Tough men, and Spiked Boots, both by Robert Pike. Basically a history of logging in New Hampshire from the perspective of the men who did the logging.

Legacy of a Lifetime by John Hakola. Truth is I have not gotten around to reading this yet, but a browse through shows much promise. I saw Willem Lang talk about this on Windows To The Wild, and it is a history of Baxter State park.

And of course you can never go wrong with Steve Smith's an Mike Dickerman's various collections of writing. They have a whole host of them, and they are nice easy reading.

Brian


Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:11 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

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 Re: Any readers here?
1. This is fiction, but it's regional - the AT on the NH/ME border. "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon," by Steven King. An 8 (I think) year old is on a day hike with her newly divorced mom and older brother. These two are bickering so much that they don't notice her go off trail to pee, and she promptly gets lost. She has her wits about her, plus a walkman she can listen to the game on, and this helps her survive and keep her sanity. Tom Gordon is the Red Sox closer, her hero. Won't tell you more than that, but it's a good story.

2. Buffalo and Tough Cookie is good, compared to "Up," it is more a series of vignettes based on the 52WAV list. We met them at their book presentation; met the Herrs as well when that book came out.

3. "Following Atticus." Tom Ryan is a wonderful story teller, really funny. Quick witted! Have not met them.

4. "Crawford's Horn Winding." I may have the last word wrong and I have to look up the author (she is part of the family that owns Mann's Orchard in Methuen, which is where I bought the book). This is the story of Ethan Allen and Lucy Crawford and their life in the notch, with all its joys and difficulties.

Speaking of Smith/Dickerman, if you're in Littleton certain days of the week Bondcliff Books is open. Mike has all sorts of stuff there. I bought Miriam Underhill's "Give Me the Hills!' there. Like the Mountain Wanderer, I'm sure you can find some good stuff there.


Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:51 pm
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Mountaineer
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 Re: Any readers here?
Bowley, Graham. No Way Down: Life and Death on K2. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.

In a similar way to Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, I could barely put this book down. Story of the worst disaster on K2. Definitely not disappointing if you like good storytelling and gripping mountain adventures.


Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:20 pm
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 Re: Any readers here?
I used to read a lot of hiking and mountaineering books. I have boxes of them now in the basement and haven't gotten anything new in a couple years. Seems ever since I had three kids I can't find time to sit down with a book and if I do my eyes slam shut for some reason.


Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:04 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

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 Re: Any readers here?
Annapurna was a good one, mountain of my fear by David roberts, actually anything written by David roberts is excellent,. His most recent stuff is about hiking in the desert finding Anazai ruins. K2 the savage mtn, anything with Shackleton adventures about artic explorations are good, or bill Irwin hiking the AT blind was good. Another good one was by John long "on adventure", a book of short stories that are compelling to read. A must read is the river of doubt, about teddy roosevelt adventure down the amazon, that was a great book. Steve Smith's and Mike dickerman book on wandering the Whites was also excellent but was already mentioned and definitely bill bryson, a walk in the woods, be prepared to have a sore stomach from laughing hysterically. Bill bryson has written other good stuff I really liked a short history of nearly everything and at home was ok, not as good. Off topic, but drool is a creepy book I couldn't put down.


Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:15 am
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 Re: Any readers here?
hiking lady wrote:
Bill bryson has written other good stuff I really liked


Bill Bryson, hands down, is one of my top 5 favorite authors. His books on language (Mother Tongue and Made In America) are just meh, but his travelogues are delightful as well as his more serious works like A Short History. In fact, In A Sunburned Country is responsible for my desire to visit Australia. I think A Walk In The Woods and The Life and Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid I have read about 20 times each. I just can never get tired of them! :D

Brian


Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:49 am
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 Re: Any readers here?
Hey, this is all really good, thanks for all your comments and recommendations.

Brian, I've looked for Forest and Crag a couple times, and you're right, I can never find it, at least for any reasonable price. I'm kind of happy to read that it can be dry, makes me feel less bad about not having read it! I have read A Walk in the Woods, and enjoyed it a lot. I kind of felt like it could have been about anything and that the hike was just sort of the canvas on which he found to write rather than it really being a book about hiking the AT, but it was a fun book (and "sort of" about hiking).

Beckie, I read Following Atticus also. It wasn't my favorite, but I thought pretty good. I looked up a bunch of the recommendations, and ended up ordering "Crawford's Horn Winding" (you did get the title right), so hopefully it comes before my vacation that's coming up.

Raven, thanks for the rec. I DO like good storytelling and gripping mountain adventures, as it turns out! That will probably be my next "high peak" read.

GG, I'm sympathetic to your plight. But if you read a lot, maybe a couple that you really liked stick out? I'd be interested to hear your favorites, if you have/had any.

Hiking Lady, I thought we'd hear from you. Annapurna's a classic, and so I read it. I don't know why, but it was really a chore for me to get through. I can't say I really enjoyed it much at all, I'm afraid. My Dad turned me on to Shackleton, and so I read "Endurance" from Lansing. There were some fascinating bits, but mostly that was a chore for me, too. It's kind of in it's own category -- half narrative, half pseudo-guide, half local almanac, but I do have Smith and Dickerson "Wandering through the White Mountains." It actually sits with my guides and I check it often, trying to get to all the places he recommends and what not. There's not much like it, and I really do think it's great.


Anyway, I looked up quite a few of those that I didn't know or just haven't read, and ended up ordering Crawford's Horn Winding. If I like that and want more, it looks like Lucy Crawford's book is easy to come by as well, so I could branch out toward that later. Would love to hear more, all!


Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:17 am
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 Re: Any readers here?
"A Walk In the Woods," ...... I loved the part about his buddy shopping for trail food, other than this, I won't say anything more, as not to spoil it. But the poor guy knew NOTHING about backpacking and went and bought like 50 cans of food! You won't be sorry if you read this book!


Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:42 pm
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 Re: Any readers here?
Figure I'd chime in...

I actually haven't read most of the books you all mentioned. I keep hearing good stuff about them, but can never get my hands to make contact with the books :evil: .

Out of what I do have for hiking literature, I own both of Dan Doan's 50 Hikes books and I go to them a lot when I'm looking for hike ideas, or simply when I need a good read. I know Mr. Doan also wrote a few novels, but I haven't seem them anywhere.

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Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:07 pm
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 Re: Any readers here?
You HAVE to read Endurance. A story of E. Shakelton getting stuck in the ice on his way to the South Pole and surviving for two years without one life lost. A great raed (and I don't read a lot). I have read it twice. I am almost getting ready to read it again!
And yes, Into Thin Air might be worth a second read.


Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:45 pm
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 Re: Any readers here?
Mike z wrote:
You HAVE to read Endurance. A story of E. Shakelton getting stuck in the ice on his way to the South Pole and surviving for two years without one life lost. A great raed (and I don't read a lot). I have read it twice. I am almost getting ready to read it again!
And yes, Into Thin Air might be worth a second read.


Endurance - That's another outstanding read, a step above most adventure books. The tale itself IMO may be the single most unlikely survival story I have ever read about. The odds that were overcome in this story are truly unbelievable.

Good call.

As long as I am posting, I'll add an absolute classic. A Few books have shaped the way I think. This is one:

Desert Solitaire by Ed Abbey.


Another one that is a really compelling story about a couple spending the winer locked into the ice in a small boat somewhere in the open, frozen sea, far north in the arctic, basically in the dark. It wasn't popular but was a really interesting read and just a random suggestion:

North to the Night by Alvah Simon


And in support of an old classic that sometimes deserves another read. It's a slow read and is written at a much higher level than most "nature books," but it can be read 2-3 pages at a time and simply reflected upon, it's so thick with thoughtful observations. It's brilliant. I can also understand when someone says I couldn't get through the first 10 pages. It's that kind of book. It may take some work to read but it has a good payback. I understood much more the second time I read it:

Walden by Thoreau


Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:10 pm
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 Re: Any readers here?
I have "North to the Night." I got it at one of those local Friends of the Library sales that occur a few times a year. The wife actually leaves for part of the time due to (I think) her father being ill, and the husband is staying there alone. No one but his cat and a polar bear waiting outside for him to screw up so that he'd be a great dinner! I was reading it during a cold snap last winter and it was too much at the time, but now that you're mentioned it I think I'm going to finish it, IN APRIL!


Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:47 pm
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 Re: Any readers here?
Anything by Edward abbey is worth reading, but deer solitaire is a must read


Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:38 am
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 Re: Any readers here?
Books on CD's are cool for those long rides.
Just thought I'd mention it...........

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Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:46 pm
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