We've mentioned before that A Reader's Respite is very big on armchair adventure books. It's much safer in our old age to simply read about other people's brushes with death as opposed to seeking it out ourselves.
Thank goodness for armchair adventure books. Some of our favorites over the years have included
Into Thin Air is a must-read, even if you're not that into adventure books. Krakauer shot to the top of his game with this true account of the 1996 Everest disaster that claimed the lives of eight climbers, including some world-class mountaineers.
Seven Summits is another favorite that is the true account of two middle-aged (albeit very wealthy) men who set out to be the first to climb the highest summit on each continent. The narration in this one is just riveting, like being told the story first hand at a great dinner party.
West With the Night is the 1942 biography of pilot Beryl Markham, who was the first pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west (against prevailing winds, which is no mean feat). She covers her childhood in Kenya and her bush-flying adventures in Africa in this book. Lots of girl-power here.
With classics like these in our library, it's admittedly difficult for a newly-released adventure story to compete. Such was the case with Jennifer Woodlief's A Wall of White. The topic she chose was a good one: the true story of the 1982 avalanche at Alpine Meadows, a popular ski resort in Lake Tahoe. Lots of good survival stories to make your hair stand on end there, one would think. And perhaps there were.
The problem is that A Reader's Respite never even made to the actual avalanche and it's aftermath because we couldn't plow our way through the first seemingly never-ending 150 pages of background information. It was as if Woodlief lacked the material for a full length book and so she packed it with the most annoyingly minute details just to take up space.
As much as we wanted to get to know the principle players in this tragedy, we can't say that we were interested in a verbatim recount of every conversation they ever had. With anyone. Starting from childhood.
That said, the mechanics of Woodlief's writing are quite good. We-thinks this was a case of fleshing out a book gone bad, which makes one wonder: where exactly was the editor when this one went to print? Vacation? Potty-break? Perhaps there is a job opening over at Atria Books.
Regardless, for our fellow armchair adventurers out there, NileGuide provides a terrific list of the Top 50 Adventure Books of All Time. There's more than enough there to keep the most avid adventurer busy for quite some time.....happy reading.
Now this is where A Reader's Respite inserts our standard disclaimer: just because we weren't thrilled with A Wall of White doesn't necessarily mean you won't be. There's a butt for every saddle, folks.
With that in mind, if you'd like to try it out yourself, leave us a comment and on July 25th, we'll draw a random winner to receive their very own copy of A Wall of White. International entrants are always welcome. And remember to check back to see if you won.