I do not start out the year with a prescribed reading plan. I just see where the proverbial wind takes me and sometimes that means genre binges. It usually starts with one really awesome book. I define a “really awesome book” as one where you mourn over its completion and lust for its sequel. Sadly, most books (with the exception of dystopian teenage vampire series) are one-and-done with no additional editions to quench the hunger. In those cases, I do the next best thing and reach for a similar book from the genre. The cycle repeats until (a) I get bored or (b) the year ends and I come to the realization that I completely overdid a certain type of book.
This was a (b) year with Adventure books as the culprit. Here were a few of my favorites:
Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad – When Norman was 11 he was the lone survivor of a plane crash. On the top of a mountain. An icy mountain in the middle of a blizzard. And my kids act like it is an insane tragedy when the wi-fi is down.
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trailby Ben Montgomery – There are two “celebrities” by extended family claims as acquaintances – Bob Evans (yes, Bob was a real person before becoming the founder of the eponymous restaurant chain) and Grandma Gatewood. While I knew of her accomplishments, I did not fully realize how amazing they were. Escaping an abusive relationship, and at the age of 67, the great-grandmother left home one day “for a walk” and ended up being the first woman to hike the Appalachian Tail alone. And then she did it two more times.
The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert – The true story of a man living the life of my aspirations – sustainable, mindful and simple. Or, more honestly, my partial dream life. Hot showers, fluffy pillows, and Netflix are basic Carmen life necessities.
The Martian by Andy Weir – The only fiction pick on my Adventure list. And yep. As good as the hype.
The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless – As an Into the Wild disciple, this companion book written by Chris “Alexander Supertramp” McCandless’ sister was an inevitable read. However, it was not inevitable that it would be good. But it was. Important additional context to the revered cult classic.
How does this worker-bee/soccer-mom/rickety-runner find time to read 50 books a year? This is my secret.