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Books We Like

Posted on 7/11/2012 by Elizabeth Skinner

Books We Like

This month Assistant Library Director Elizabeth Skinner shares reviews of several adventure travel favorites. Elizabeth has co-authored two bicycle touring guidebooks with her husband Charlie, Bicycling the Blue Ridge and Best Bike Rides in the South.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed In her mid-twenties, Cheryl Stayed picks up a guidebook on the Pacific Crest Trail, and is captivated by the idea of hiking the trail from California to Washington state. When her mother dies of cancer and her personal life becomes burdened by drug abuse, dead end jobs and complicated relationships, Cheryl decides to walk away from her problematic life to solo hike the PCT in a quest for clarity and purpose. On the trail Cheryl is immediately confronted with the difficulty of the task she has undertaken—grossly over weighted backpack, continuous abrasions on her feet and hips, dangerously low food supplies and the life-threatening dangers of the natural landscape. However, in the midst of these extreme physical challenges, Cheryl meets generous, supportive hikers on the trail and finds inner strength and confidence in her abilities and resourcefulness.

Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer by Lynne Cox I’ve read this book twice because I love Lynne Cox’s descriptions of swimming and her relentless quest to swim longer distances and to swim in colder and colder water conditions. At swim team practice as a preteen Lynne Cox was swimming in an outdoor pool in a rainstorm when she came to the realization that the more adverse the pool conditions, the better she swam. Thus began her training to swim in waters as various as the Catalina Channel, the English Channel, the Nile River, Cooks Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, the Strait of Magellan, the Cape of Good Hope, and the icy waters of the Bering Strait. Lynne’s training and preparation for these swims, from gathering a support team to receiving governmental clearance to swim in bodies of water around the world, makes for great travel reading.

Miles From Nowhere: a Round-the-World Bicycle Adventure by Barbara Savage With great humor, a trusting heart and a capacity to embrace the world, Barbara Savage and her husband Larry set out to bicycle 23,000 miles from Sacramento, California across the US and on to Europe, Africa, Asia and New Zealand. From duct-taped cycling shoes to contaminated water and less than civilized living conditions to gourmet dinners and goat’s eye and other foreign foods, Barbara vividly describes the people and landscapes of South Dakota, the Appalachians, Florida, Ireland, Paris, Egypt, India, Nepal, Bangkok, and New Zealand as they can only be described from the seat of a bicycle. If you enjoy adventure travel, this book will give you a serious case of wanderlust.

Born to Run: a Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall Christopher McDougall made an appearance at the BOOKMARKS Festival of Books a few years back and his devotees could be seen walking all over the Arts District on Trade Street in their barefoot running shoes. His runaway bestseller is an epic adventure into the remote Copper Canyons of Mexico in search of the running secrets of the Tarahumara Indians. A writer for Outside Magazine and Men’s Health, Christopher wanted to find out why his feet always hurt and his running seemed to be plagued by injury. How was it possible for these natural runners to cover ultra distances of over a hundred miles with very little rest?