Great Adventure Books

A few days ago my son called me from the bookstore and was asking if I knew of any good adventure books – fiction or non-fiction.  I made a couple of suggestions, but was driving and really drew a blank.  This post is an attempt to answer his question properly!  I will include books I have read and some suggestions I have not read, but intend to read.

Jon Krakauer’s books will probably top just about any list of adventure books.  Into the Wild is a book about a young man who went to Alaska and walked into the wild.  His book Into Thin Air recounts a terrible tragedy on Mt. Everest.  Either of these would be a great choice.

NPR’s fantasic book section has a great article entitled “Carthage to Cario: 3 Books to Complete the Journey.”  The first book of the three listed is Taxi by Khaled Alkhamissi.  I think my son would love this, since he has actually endured a taxi ride in Cairo.  I was with him and it is an adventure to say the least.  Leo Africanus is also listed in the article and seems to be appropriate for those looking for an historical account of adventure.  The novel is based on the account of a 16th century traveller.

There is a book on my to-read list by Jason Goodwin that seems a promising adventure book.  On Foot to the Golden Horn: A Walk to Istanbul recounts the author’s breathtaking journey with two companions through Eastern Europe from the dikes and marshes of Poland’s Baltic coast across to the Golden Horn in Istanbul.

Simon Winchester ‘s book The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze & Back in Chinese Time is another book I wish I had thought of and recommended when my son called.  It is on my reading list, as I have enjoyed other Simon Winchester books and hope to have time to read all of his writing!  Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire seems to be another must read adventure story.

How to Travel the World for Free by Michael Wigge came out in March of this year and sounds both interesting and helpful!  Wigge traveled 25,000 miles—from Berlin to Antarctica—without any money. This travel diary evidently “combines adventure with humor and contains surprising revelations about when money is really needed—and when it’s not. A must-read for every travel and adventure fan!”

Michael Woods’ travel programs on PBS are very enjoyable, so I can only imagine the books are better.  The Story of India and In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great: A Journey from Greece to Asia would probably top my list of his many books to read.

Finally, there is always Ernest Hemingway.  I hope this list helps those of you looking for a great mental getaway now that everyone’s summer is over.  Leave a comment and add to this list – more is certainly better.  I’m sure to have forgotten an important addition to a list of great adventure books…