Talk about adventure books. : LUSENET : The Book Club : One Thread

I know it's a pretty broad topic, but true adventure stories are all the rage right now, and fictional adventure stories are always popular. What are some of your favorites? Do you think true adventure stories are just sensationalistic, or do they have some value?

Did you grow up on adventure stories and later abandon them for more "serious" literature? If so, why?

-- Beth (, July 13, 2000


The very first "big kid" book that I ever came in contact with, is still one of my favorite books silly as it sounds. The Island of the Blue Dolphins was like, my ultimate fantasy. To be left all alone on a desert island, and build a hut from whale bones and tame wild dogs, and eat all the right fruits and berries. I've always been completely fascinated by the idea of survival. Now everytime I mention that book I get strange looks, and I always thought it was somewhat of a classic. Other people grew up on that book, right?

-- Mel (, July 13, 2000.

Okay, it's not much of an adventure book, per se, but you did link to it in your entry, and i got so excited that i had to interrupt the entry to come here and post.

Baby Island. Oh, i loved that book! I can't even guess at how many times i read that damn thing, and acted it out with my cousin and dolls. I wanted so much to be shipwrecked with a bunch of babies.

I think i may have to buy it now. Damn you, for making me spend money! {grin]

-- Sherry (, July 13, 2000.

Oh, Mel! Yes, yes, yes! I loved that book. I reread it last summer. Did you know there was a recent sequel? I can't recall the title, but it's the original character's cousin or sister or great niece or something like that; she goes back to the island to relive the adventure. Or something like that; I haven't read it yet.

-- Beth (, July 13, 2000.

Recently in our house we got hooked on the adventure trail, albeit with children's books. hey, they're still a mighty good read.

Addison is so enamored, he's just dying to go live in the woods around the house this summer. I compromised and said he could sleep in his treehouse. He has yet to get out there, so he may be more in love with the idea...

Some favorites - Island of the Blue Dolphins, most of the books by Gary Paulson (he did some adult ones too about his Alaskan race), Jean Craighead George... uhhh...

Anyway, i think this is great for kids, and adults, to read true-to- life adventures (and fiction like Alice, Gulliver, Robinson Crusoe). Maybe becasue you read them and think, "Yeah, that could be me... now I know what I'd do."

-- Andrea (, July 13, 2000.

Beth, I just went through a very similar reading phase to what you described in today's entry.

It started when I picked up Krakauer's Into Thin Air at the grocery store as a desperate effort to find something, anything that I could read on the bus for 45 minutes. I devoured it. I loved his writing style, the way he makes you aware in the very opening pages that Something Very Bad happened, and then takes you back to the mundane beginning of that Very Bad thing to show you how exactly a tragedy unfolds. I also liked the way he pointed out that incredibly small mistakes -- I remember particularly the story of a guy who went outside to relieve himself and forgot to put his crampons on his boots and subsequently slid into an ice crevasse, causing fatal injuries -- can have dire consequences at extremely high altitudes.

Along the same lines, I just read High Exposure, by David Breashears. Breashears was the head of the IMAX expedition that Krakauer mentions briefly in his book. High Exposure is Breashears' autobiography. It details his love for climbing even from an early age, and the various jobs he held down while trying to pursue his real love of climbing. He also talks about how he got into filming almost as an accident, just to be able to tag along with film expeditions going on impressive mountain climbing trips. His writing style wasn't as compelling as Krakauer's, but I still enjoyed the descriptions of climbing and the climbing culture, and all the various mountains he's been to, what falling is like, and so forth. A good read.

I'm contemplating buying Anatoli Boukreev's book about the 1993 disaster that Krakauer discussed in Into Thin Air. Krakauer, while basically respectful, posited in his book that Boukreev failed in his duties as a guide by ascending without bottled oxygen and by descending from the summit well before the clients on his expedition, thus rendering himself unable to help them if they encountered trouble -- which, of course they did. Boukreev wrote a book in response, which I have not read, but which presumably paints his role in a better light.

I also loved Krakauer's book Into the Wild, which Beth mentioned in today's entry also. It's the story of a young and idealistic man who decides to head off into the Alaskan outback and is found dead several months later. Krakauer goes into detail about the boy's life and travels before he reached Alaska, and, much like Into Thin Air, the fatal mistakes that the boy made upon reaching the wilderness. It's incredibly interesting.

Phew, I think that's enough from me for now.

-- Jan (, July 13, 2000.

kind of off topic, but since you mentioned Louisa May Alcott..
did you know that she actually preferred to write horror/thriller books? if you want something even more exciting than Little Men, try A Modern Mephistopheles, i'm sure i may have misspelled that, but that's alright.
anyway, there's my contribution.
i read fantasy, sci fi, and historical fiction mostly.
i never got into books that were overly realistic. and i went straight from Dr Suess to Marion Zimmer Bradley, so i sort of skipped the whole children's/young adult genre, and never suffered through judy blume!

-- tiffany (, July 14, 2000.

Oh how I too wanted to be an Indian. To the extent that I practiced for hours in the woods walking quietly over leaves and branches. I actually got quite good at it.

I just finished reading a Jim Kjelgaard book: Double Challenge. It lived up to all the childhood memories that I had of his writing. I read every single book by him and any that were anything like his. And I wanted to grow up and be as brave as Harriet Tubman.

-- Renee (, July 14, 2000.

I've also done the Into Thin Air and The Climb read recently. It's addictive, isn't it? So much so that I've decided one of my next holidays is going to be a trek to Everest Base Camp. You should also read Climbing High by Lene Gammelgard (sp?) who was another one of the expedition members at the same time as the Into Thin Air climb. Her book was actually the first written after the event, but was only published in English last year I believe (she is Danish). She's got a wonderfully descriptive writing style, and it's interesting to hear the story from a more empathetic and relationship-oriented viewpoint.

-- Abigail (, July 16, 2000.

A book that nobody's mentioned yet is The Perfect Storm. I was just reading a review of the movie (which I haven't seen), in which the reviewer did such a good job of talking about the book and how the movies compares with it unfavorably, that I am now most interested in going out and reading the book. Has anyone else read it? Did you like it?

-- Jan (, July 20, 2000.

O, I loved The Perfect Storm! I read it last year, or maybe a year and a half ago, pretty soon after reading Into Thin Air, in fact (a book that makes climbing Everest seem so repulsive, I have no idea why anyone would want to!), and it just grabbed me. The movie was swell and all, but the book was better.

-- Kymm Zuckert (, July 21, 2000.

I'd say the book is completely different from the movie, but I did enjoy the movie a lot. In fact, I want to see it again. But the book and the movie have almost nothing to do with each other. They tell the same story, sure, but the details, the point of view, the pacing, the feel are all entirely different. The movie is an adventure; the book is a history. I think they're both pretty swell.

(Okay, the movie had some embarrassingly bad dialog. It also had George Clooney in need of a shave. Who says there is no balance in the universe?)

-- Beth (, July 29, 2000.

I got this site by looking for the name of the movie based on Gary Paulson's book Hatchet...this isn't really an answer. I teach 4th and 5th grade students who have trouble reading...I thought the movie might make more sense. I did not read this book until I was an adult in college...(Kid Lit) and I was hooked on his books. Our teacher showed the film and I neglected to write down the name of the movie based on the book. It is almost identical to the book and I wanted to bring it to my students. I am reading the book to my students but they are missing out...Any info is appreciated.

-- Melody A. Swedenberg (, November 04, 2000.

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