Books

August 2017 Book Recommendations

Apologies to those anti-subtitlest, but subtitles seem to be the common thread this month  . . . read on . . . 

Perennial Seller - The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts by Ryan Holiday

The world is big and confusing and changing and a lot of folks feel lost. Ryan does an amazing job taking those big and changing ideas and turning them into quick and clear and actionable items with a sincere respect for the grand task at hand - "We are fighting not just agains our contemporaries for recognition, but against centuries of great art for an audience."

The Four Seasons Punta Mita is where I'd read this book if I had another chance to.  A nice long weekend away, with a short flight back home to come up with action plans.

Shark Drunk - The Art of Catching a Large Shark from a Tiny Rubber Dinghy in a Big Ocean by Morton Stroksnes

I would have never come across this book had it not been for a bookstore. So number one piece of advice is to always go to bookstores.  And number two piece of advice is to be a decent human being and buy the book from the bookstore if you discover it there.

Shark Drunk is a spectacular conservation book, human story book, funny aside book, and a dozen other things. The core journey about two guys trying to reconnect with the past leads to side trips about the creation of the universe, the plight of cod, and factual tidbits about one of the world's longest living creatures, the Greenland shark (450 years old!)

Of course Greenland or Iceland is the place to take in this story. There are a couple ship based Greenland trips I'm aware of, but sea sickness is my enemy, so I'd recommend an Iceland Adventure. Nothing better than being fireside with the cold temperatures on the outside and a warm fire on the inside.

What Doesn't Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength by Scott Carney

Wim Hof "madman or prophet" that's one of many questions Scott Carney had when researching this book that took him to the cold base of Wim Hof's method in Poland to a topless Kilimanjaro trek. The coldness defined Wim Hof originally - but the book does a good job showing how Hof is transitioning to focus on his breathing exercises and techniques.  Definitely worthwhile to check out the Vice Documentary on Wim Hof and if that connects with you, then the book will be a welcome discovery.

Definitely there's no better way to read about climbing Kili than while you're climbing Kili.

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Patrick Leigh Fermor is my spirit author. If I could write like anyone, then it would be him. Fourth wall breaks, endless lists, big words that you have to look up, all of it just makes me smile. 

Mani is a sincere account of a place that Fermor sincerely loved. And that means a lot coming from a traveler and adventurer like Fermor. His genuine love of the folks of Mani really comes through.

I think everyone needs to read Mani twice. Once while getting ready to go to Greece and a second time while they're there. This has to be one of the best trips for it.

Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance by Christopher McDougall

I remember listening to the audio version of this book when it first came out and hearing Chris McDougall mention Patrick Leigh Fermor. He was recounting a daring adventure Fermor led during World War II that forms one of the core plots of this book. I made a note to look up Fermor and then promptly lost it. Fortunately someone recommended Mani to me and consequently I got to rediscover Fermor.  

Chris is a great author that approaches these grand feats of endurance and humanity with a curious awe. He does a great job connecting science with story succinctly. Greece is the obvious choice to read this one, but since the book was written in the states I feel like a National Parks itinerary might work for it. There's always something nice about longing for something far away, and I think the beauty of the parks plus the descriptions of Greece would make for some really good inspiration.

Unvetted but Confident - Book Recommendations from Pure Life Experiences

Everything  at the Pure Life Experiences show in Marrakesh, Morocco is my favorite. The meetings are my favorite, the people are my favorite, the format is my favorite, everything comes with the post script "my favorite".

One thing that makes a meeting with a person my extra special, most favorite is when I come away with a new book recommendation.  Here are a my favorite few and my favorite people that mentioned them. Also, I haven't gotten to read any of these yet - so please share your thoughts if you get to them before I do.

Thanks to the amazing Zita Cobb, Innkeeper at Fogo Island Inn, for sharing this insightful book.

Jimmy Nelson, photographer extraordinaire, shared the story of Curtis who served as an inspiration of Jimmy's own work. 

From Sofi Hatzivassiliou, Fermor was described by a journalists as "a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond, and Graham Greene."

The result of years of work and enthusiasm, this book is the accumulation of Jimmy Nelson's adventures around the globe trying to preserve the history of indigenous peoples.

Another from the amazing Zita Cobb. 

Book a Week 2015

The idea has been stewing since December 2014 - read more, watch TV less. TV meaning Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and Amazon because does anyone watch broadcast anymore?

So I'm reading a somewhat travel related book each week this year.  General guidelines are (subject to change based on the whims of the rule maker, me)

  1. Must be able to say why it is a travel book in one sentence or less
  2. Re-reading books from more than 1 year ago is ok. If read less than a year ago then the book isn't eligible for the list
  3. Book week starts on Monday (roughly)
  4. Start date is January 1 and end date is Dec 31
  5. Don't have to read the book in Monday to Sunday period, but do have to finish at least one book by each Sunday
  6. No travel guides like Fodors or Lonely Planet
  7. Audio books are ok (debatable, I'm thinking I want to do the honorable thing and hold the actual paper book in my hands)

And the book list (also subject to change based on the whims of the list's curator, also me). There's more than 52 books here so I can cull some of them if I get to them and just can't stomach the idea of reading them in about a week. And also the list below isn't in order since I couldn't come up with a structure to decide what to read.

  1. Turn Right at Machu Picchu, Mark Adams
  2. The Rings of Saturn, WG Sebald
  3. Kon Tiki Expedition by Raft Across the South Seas, Thor Heyerdahl
  4. The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara
  5. The River of Doubt: Roosevelts Darkest Journey, Candice Millard
  6. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  7. The innocents Abroad, Mark Twain
  8. Short Walk from Bogota, Tom Feiling
  9. My African Journey, Winston Churchill
  10. The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness, Clay S Jenkinson
  11. Beak of the Finch, Jonathan Weiner
  12. Fearless, Freya Hoffmeister
  13. Sex Lives of Cannibals, J Maarten Troost
  14. Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck
  15. The Beach, Alex Garland
  16. The Thousand Nights and One Night, Anonymous
  17. Inca Kola, Matthew Parris
  18. Dark Star Safari, Paul Theroux
  19. Tschiffely's Ride, Aime Tschiffely
  20. I see by my Outfit, Peter Beagle
  21. Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain
  22. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
  23. Open Veins of Latin America, Eduardo Galeano
  24. The Places in Between, Rory Stewart
  25. The Road to Oxiana, Robert Byron
  26. Pillars of Hercules, Paul Theroux
  27. Robbery Under Law: The Mexican Object Lesson, Evelyn Waugh
  28. House of Spirits, Isabel Allende
  29. Green Hills of Africa, Hemingway
  30. Mad White Giant, Benedict Allen
  31. Provence 1970, MFK Fisher
  32. Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
  33. The Histories, Herodotus
  34. In the Land of Oz, Howard Jacobson
  35. The Zanzibar Chest, Aidan Hartley
  36. Mornings in Mexico, DH Lawrence
  37. The Journals of Captain Cook, James Cook
  38. Neither Here Nor There, Bill Byrson
  39. Burmese Days, George Orwell
  40. Great Plains, Ian Frazier
  41. In Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin
  42. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
  43. Into thin Air, Jon Krakauer
  44. Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrer
  45. Jock of the Bushveld, Percy Fitzpatrick
  46. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, Eric Newby
  47. Endurance, Shackleton's Increidble Voyage, Alfred Lansig
  48. In a Sunburned Country, Bill Byrson
  49. West with the Night, Beryl Markham
  50. Out of Africa, Isak Denison
  51. Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton
  52. An Area of Darkness, VS Naipaul
  53. Sahara, Clive Cussler
  54. Mimi and TouTou Go Forth, Giles Foden
  55. Around Africa on my Bike and Around Madagascar on my Kayak, Riaan Maner
  56. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  57. As I walked Out one Midsummer Morning, Laurie Lee
  58. Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela
  59. No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith
  60. Among the Russians, Colin Thubron

Questions:

  1. What travel books are missing?
  2. Audiobooks, should they count or not?
  3. What other guidelines should be considered or stricken?