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Topic: Are you an "Armchair Explorer"?

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Subject: Are you an "Armchair Explorer"?
Date Posted: 5/26/2008 10:35 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I love books about adventure and exploration. I enjoy books about mountain climbing, sea voyages, Arctic exploration, but I'm running out of new ones to read.

If you have read a good one or have a good one on your shelf, post about it here. My adventure shelf is getting empty!

Right now, I'm reading Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe by Laurence Bergreen and it's excellent. So far, I've read about their shipwreck, cannibalistic natives, and a terrible mutiny...What's not to like?! ;-)

I recently read The Forest People by Colin M. Turnbull and was surprised at how good this one was. It's about the Pygmies who live in Africa and I found myself wishing that I could go live with them for a while just like the author did. It was a great book written in a "chatty" type voice that was very readable. It didn't even seem like non-fiction.

Date Posted: 5/26/2008 11:37 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Have you read any Redmond O'Hanlon? http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780679727149-In+Trouble+Again+A+Journey+Between+Orinoco+and+the+Amazon+Vintage+Departures is PBS link to In Trouble Again. I've read In Trouble Again and Into the Heart of Borneo, and it appears that both are available here on PBS.

Date Posted: 5/26/2008 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 12,167
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I just read Liquid Locomotive: Legendary Whitewater River Stories - John Long.  It's actually a collection of short pieces by different authors.  The quality of the writing is variable, but overall it's a good read. 

I would also recommend The Lost River: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Transformation on Wild Water - Richard Bangs (who is one of the authors in the Liquid Locomotive collection) and Hell or High Water : Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River - Peter Heller.  The Heller book isn't as well written, but it's a gripping story nonetheless.

And one more that I haven't read personally, but I've heard good things about (and has been on my WL for ages) is Never Turn Back: The Life of Whitewater Pioneer Walt Blackadar - Ron Watters.

ETA:  Wow, look at all those colors!     :)



Last Edited on: 5/26/08 5:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/26/2008 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,706
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Have you read "Shadow Divers" by Robert Kurson?  It's wonderful...all about a group of deep sea divers that discover a sunken German u-boat off the coast of New Jersey.  TOO close off the coast of New Jersey.  It reads like an adventure/mystery novel!  Wait...I should check the author's name, that could be wrong.

 

That's the correct name; the book is in the system.  I highly recommend it!



Last Edited on: 5/26/08 9:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/26/2008 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 12,167
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Ooh, that does sound interesting!

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/26/2008 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Me, me, me,as you well know!  I'll have to dig through my books and see if I can give some recommendations.  Panic Rising is one - stories of people being lost in the wildrness of the PNW.  It's a pretty good read.

 

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 8:43 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Les: I requested the two O'Hanlon books and then realized that, just this past week, I'd requested another of his books, Trawler. I don't know how I missed the two you mentioned because, at the time, I was searching for books similar to The Forest People. Thanks for mentioning them. I loved The Forest People and I'm looking forward to reading these two books too.  I also requested The Mountain People which seems like it will be a much more serious read because the people the author lived with were going through a terrible famine and were starving.

Cindy: I've never read anything about rafting. I'm going to have to try one because that would give me a whole new group of books to explore. I need that! And, how did you get all of those pretty colors? My posts never look like that!

LOL at LG... I know you are an explorer at heart! I'm still pretty sure that both of us must have climbed Everest with Sir Hillary in a past life. ;-) Just a few weeks ago, I actually thought about you when I was reading a book about Alaska that had a bear attack story in it. That led to searching for books about bear/human encounters and I added some to my Reminder List, but I don't know which to try first. I would LOVE to see your list of recommendations! 

Now, I'm off to look up Shadow Divers. It does sound like a good one!  

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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Have you read  The Bear's Embrace: A True Story of Survival by Patricia Van Tighem? Woman and her husband are mauled by a bear. It's primarily the woman's account. I have not read it, but my wife read it and said it was "true," which is high praise from her, but I also see that she traded it away here at PBS [meaning it  wasn't a keeper for her]. There's a paperback copy here: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9781550548754-The+Bears+Embrace



Last Edited on: 5/27/08 9:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/27/2008 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I got The Far Traveler: Voyages of A Viking Woman by Nancy Marie Brown today. I can't wait to get started on it!

I'll check out the The Bear's Embrace. Thanks!

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 8:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 316
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* Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before- by Tony Horwitz

From Publishers Weekly In an entertaining, informative look at the life and travels of Capt. James Cook, Horwitz (Confederates in the Attic; Baghdad Without a Map) combines a sharp eye for reporting with subtle wit and a wonderful knack for drawing out the many characters he discovers. The book is both a biography of Cook, the renowned 18th-century British explorer who's widely considered one of the greatest navigators in maritime history, and a travel narrative. On one level, Horwitz recounts Cook's rise from poverty in a large family in rural England to an improbable and dazzling naval career that brought him worldwide fame. On another, he tells his own story of following in Cook's wake, visiting his far-flung destinations (with the exception of Antarctica) and investigating his legacy. It is satisfying in both regards, Horwitz skillfully pacing the book by intertwining his own often quite funny adventures with tales of Cook and his men. Despite the historical focus, Horwitz doesn't stray too far from the encounters with everyday people that gave his previous books such zest. His travels bring him face-to-face with a violent, boozing gang of Maori New Zealanders called the Mongrel Mob, who are violently critical of Cook, arguing that "Cook and his mob, they put us in this position," Moari activists "wondering at those who would honour the scurvy, the pox, the filth and the racism" that they feel he brought to their island, and the King of Tonga, who couldn't seem to care less about what the explorer meant to his domain. With healthy doses of both humor and provocative information, the book will please fans of history, exploration, travelogues and, of course, top-notch storytelling. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

* "ONE YEAR OFF : Leaving It All Behind for A Round-the-World Journey with Our Children"  - by David Elliott Cohen

From Publishers Weekly
Nostalgic for his adventurous youth, Cohen quit his job at age 40 and embarked on a year-long voyage with his wife, Devi, their eight-year-old daughter and two sons, aged seven and two. This account of their adventures consists of 23 humorous and gripping e-mails that Cohen (an editor of the coffee-table book series that includes A Day in the Life of America) sent to friends and relatives during their 1996 journey to 14 countries, including Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, France, India and Australia. Having the children along sometimes made the Cohens anxious for their safety, but watching them thrill at the sight of wild giraffes, elephants and hippos on an African safari, for example, offset their parental fears. Although the children did not share their parents' fondness for visiting museums and churches, they were delighted to live on a houseboat and see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A trip to a Jain temple near Delhi (Devi's father is Indian) so enthralled the family that they got locked in after closing hours. Although this year-long vacation included some harrowing moments, such as when daughter Kara nearly drowned off the coast of Queensland, the author considers the rewards of this unconventional trip for himself and his family well worth any risks or inconveniences they encountered.

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,706
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Ooh, Valli...Far Traveler was really interesting!  Enjoy!

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 12,167
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LOL, Valli, all those pretty colors came from cutting and pasting my links from the PBS book info pages.  Green links are books in the system and red links are books that are currently unavailable.  I was really surprised that the colors carried over in the forum post, though.     :)

Date Posted: 5/27/2008 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2006
Posts: 348
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Ive read a couple of adventure books this year that I really enjoyed. Paddle to the Amazon by Don Starkell is Starkell's story of a canoe trip he took with his sons from Canada to the Amazon. The fact that they survived is almost a miracle, their adventures along the way were amazing.  Another book that tells an amazing story is Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen and Oliver Relini. This one's top billing isn't as an adventure book and it does pack a powerful message but there are some very exciting adventures along the way.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Les, I hated Bear's Embrace.  It's the one book where I wanted to slap the protagonist silly.  She said something about her daughter with the handicap that was so offensive, I couldn't believe it actually came out of the mouth of a mother.  I know she was depressed, but jeez Louise!

Much, much better story is Nick Jans account of Timothy Treadwell's demise - The Grizzly Maze.  No whining and feeling sorry to be found.  Just a very touching book. 

But read Treadwell's book first - Among Grizzlies: Living with Wild Bears in Alaska

Avoid anything by Mike Lapinski.  The guy's just a bear-killing jerk.



Last Edited on: 5/28/08 12:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 9:44 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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I'll add the Treadwell books to my wishlist as soon as I get some room. I found two books about bears available here by Larry Kaniut and Scott McMillan. Have you read anything by either author?

Cindy, I've cut and pasted links like that into the genre forums, but the colors never show up. You must be special, lol.

I've finished Over the Edge of the World by Laurence Green and I have to recommend it. It was interesting and exciting; a very good read. Now, I'm moving on to The Far Traveler. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it Vikky. I've been wishing on this one for ages, and I'm so glad to finally have a chance to read it.

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Three Cups of Tea has some pretty exciting climbing text....

Lynn S. (lsuth) - ,
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 12:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2008
Posts: 48
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I too enjoyed Shadow Divers.