Come on now! You’ve had plenty of time to watch the five documentaries that I recommended…
Now it’s onto literature…
Fire Season by Philip Connors
Connors’ memoir of many summers spent as a fire lookout in New Mexico’s Gila range beautifully details his summers spent saving forests (And lives) from fires. Man, wilderness, solitude… basically my staple reading material!
Connors’ follow up, All the Wrong Places, is also worth a read and though it’s not completely necessary, I feel that there’s value in having got to know him via Fire Season first.
Living Fossil by Keith S. Thomson
Thomson’s Living Fossil details the find and scientific investigation of a fish presumed extinct for millions of years… only it was still thriving (Well, surviving) all along!
This book is an amazing insight into how much remains unknown about our planet, or about how much some know but others don’t. It’s scientific yet readable for the layman.
Mountain of the Dead by Keith McCloskey
In 1959 nine Russian students died in absurdly mysterious circumstances whilst hiking in the mountains of the country’s extreme north. The records of the investigation were off limits for many years and what actually happened to them remains unsolved (Or at least unconfirmed) to this day.
The remotely located students abandoned the relative safety of their tent (By abandoned I mean ripped their way out using knives!) and ran into the storm battered night with almost no clothes on.
McCloskey’s work, subtitled The Dyatlov Pass Incident, provides details of what appears to have happened and theories as to what may have been the cause.
A Soldier’s Tale by M.K. Joseph
If I recall correctly, this is actually the author (M.K Joseph) detailing a story that was told to him by someone in the trenches. Of course he spices it up but regardless of its origins and truth, it’s a beautiful piece of work. Its conclusion is stomach churning and I can literally remember reading (And feeling) the final few pages.
A quick web search to refresh some details didn’t help me much but did suggest that this book wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Someone once said that “The object of art is to divide opinion”. Well some people may not have liked A Soldier’s Tale but it’s one of my all time favourite reads!
Freefall by Oran Canfield
In contrast to A Soldier’s Tale, I’m not even going to look this one up. However, like A Soldier’s Tale, I read this whilst in New Zealand. I can vividly remember walking down a street in Napier and seeing this brightly covered book jumping out at me on a sun laden table positioned outside. I seem to recall that there were quite a few copies and they were going cheap. The whole thing is just crazy. It involves drugs, circuses and well… why not have a read and find out?!