I think I am going to start posting little blurbs on all the books I read this year (I kinda stole this idea from someone but whatever). There is no goal, I just want to see how many books I read before Jan 1 2011. I have always been a big reader but recently have really gotten back into it big time. I have read quite a few so far and what follows is a list of these books (in no particular order because I don’t remember the order). There will be an individual post on every book here after.
1. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
I thought this was a pretty interesting book. It makes you think a little deeper when trying to come up with a reason something happens. Sometimes you find something deeper than the obvious.
2. Missing Links – Rick Reilly
This was a somewhat silly story about a group of golfers that play on what is the worst golf course in the country which is located right next to the most exclusive country club in the nation. Shenanigans ensue when a bet is made to see who can be the first one to play this ultra exclusive course. I really liked this story and busted it out in a day. I’m sure being a golfer helped with the enjoyment. I plan on reading some more Rick Reilly soon.
3. High Exposure – Davis Breashears
I really liked this book. It is the life story of David Breashears, a high altitude mountain climber and cinematographer. He has climbed and filmed on Everest multiple times and was there during the 1996 disaster on the summit. I was pretty intrigued by this event and his was a good take on what happened and why it happened. This is one of three books I have read dealing with this tragedy.
4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
I read this for now seemingly defunct Cascade Book Club. I had always figured I should read this so I was excited to bust it out. It didn’t take very long, as it is a very short book. I thought it was interesting and pretty weird, but didn’t really get into it much.
5. Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
I read this for the second time this year (for the first time last year) and enjoyed it just as much. Some people wonder how I can read books multiple times, but if you enjoy the medium of the written word as a way to convey a story, then it is no different than watching a movie multiple times. This book is just really good and being as interested as I am in the subject matter, think it was AWESOME. You should read this book! I have become very familiar with the people involved in the 1996 Everest disaster and this is by far the best book about what happened to them. Very well written!
6. Stones Into School – Greg Mortenson
I really loved Three Cups of Tea so naturally I was going to like this book, as it was the continuation of the story of Greg’s work furthering the cause of education, and specifically women’s education, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A large portion of the book deals with the Central Asian Institute venturing into some of the most remote villages in Afghanistan to build schools. Reading this book makes one feel pretty lazy when you learn how much one person can accomplish with a LOT of hard work and determination.
7. No Shortcuts to the Top – Ed Veisturs
This is the story of Ed Veisturs’, America’s most accomplished high altitude mountaineer, journey to climb all 14 of the world’s 10, 000 meter peaks without the help of supplemental oxygen. It is very interesting to find out what it takes to accomplish this feat. The preparation it takes and the on mountain discipline he showed was amazing! Multiple times he would turn around hundreds of feet from the summit because it was becoming unsafe, thus rendering month long expeditions a loss. I liked his quote “Getting to the top is optional, but getting home is mandatory”. I’m sure his wife and kid’s appreciate this.
8. The Climb – Anatoli Boukreev
A lot of mountaineers think Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air) threw Anatoli under the bus for his role as a guide on Everest during the 1996 disaster. This was his rebuttal of Jon’s interpretations of the events that led to the death of so many people. I thought it would be interesting to get the other side of the story. Amid all the confusion that took place while people were dying on the summit that year, it is impossible to tell who, if anyone, was at fault. My take after reading both books is, it is an incredibly dangerous endeavor climbing that high and in that harsh an environment, accidents are going to happen. It was no one’s fault.
9. Nemisis – Issac Asimov
Sometimes I like to read nerdy sci-fi books. I had never read an Asimov book and being that he is regarded as one of the best, I figured I would give this one a try. It was decent, but I am still a much bigger fan of Arthur C. Clarke. He is the man. I think I will give Asimov another try the next time I am feeling like a sci-fi book though.
10. Downtown Owl – Chuck Klosterman
I have always been a huge Chuck Klosterman fan, but I was pretty disappointed in his first attempt at a novel. This just never really went anywhere. There was some good Klosterman humor, but the subject matter of the novel, a high school in a small town in North Dakota, was just not interesting to me. His other non fiction, pop culture books are much much better. I hope he gives fiction another try though as I think he could write a great book!
11. Touching the Void – Joe Simpson
This is the story of a climber left for dead on the side of a high mountain in the Andes after he fell into a crevasse and breaking his leg. This story is absolutely amazing and Joe Simpson makes that Aaron Ralston guy, the guy who was trapped under a boulder and amputated his arm to escape, look like a pansy! He drug himself out of the crevasse, across miles of glacier and down the mountain with no food or shelter and in excruciating and debilitating pain. Crazy!
12. Who is your Caddy? – Rick Reilly
This book was really cool if you like golf. Reilly caddied for golfers, celebrities and spiritual leaders to get a better understanding of these people through golf and a better understanding of how hard caddying actually is. I love behind the scenes of sports books and this was one of the best I have read so far. Just a great idea for a book and very well executed!
13. Bonk – Mary Roach
Mary Roach is pretty funny and she tackles interesting subjects. This time she wrote about the science of sex and it was pretty freaking interesting.
Ok, this has gotten way to long and I am tired of typing. More books to come!