100 Must-Read Nonfiction Adventure Books

It’s so interesting to decide how to define adventure, and what we believe should be included in this genre. For some, it requires first-hand accounts of the mountaineering-skydiving-waterfall jumping-lifestyle. For others, it’s all about simply breaking expectations and aiming for excitement and change rather than contentment in daily consistency or predictability. So what is it for you? I’ve tried to include a list here of adventurers of internal thought, external challenges, and physical daring.

Please note: You don’t want to take the word “adventure” lightly here. In U.S. film especially, adventure has come to imply a lightheartedness that is often difficult to find in the realities of nonfiction. So, while some of the following works can be about dark subjects in the lightest of ways (Thanks, Sarah Vowell) other works use adventure as an attempt at escape from relentless reality (Here’s to you, Cheryl Strayed).

Also note: There’s an interesting theme in travel writing of tourism in other cultures. This can open eyes to the world, but it can also give an outsider’s viewpoint on a culture. Go into any book you read with eyes wide open to what perspective does.

Anyway, here’s 100 must-read adventure nonfiction based on real-life boldness that you can read in your daily life comfort if you choose.

    1. Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea by Steve Callahan- “Before The Perfect Storm, before In the Heart of the Sea, Steven Callahan’s dramatic tale of survival at sea was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than thirty-six weeks. In some ways the model for the new wave of adventure books, Adrift is an undeniable seafaring classic, a riveting firsthand account by the only man known to have survived more than a month alone at sea, fighting for his life in an inflatable raft after his small sloop capsized only six days out.”
    2. The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors by John E. Mills- “The nation’s wild places-from national and state parks to national forests, preserves, and wilderness areas-belong to all Americans. But not all of us use these resources equally. Minority populations are much less likely to seek recreation, adventure, and solace in our wilderness spaces. It’s a difference that African American author James Mills addresses in his new book…”
    3. An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie- “Tété-Michel Kpomassie was a teenager in Togo when he discovered a book about Greenland—and knew that he must go there. Working his way north over nearly a decade, Kpomassie finally arrived in the country of his dreams. This brilliantly observed and superbly entertaining record of his adventures among the Inuit is a testament both to the wonderful strangeness of the human species and to the surprising sympathies that bind us all.”
    4. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver- Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolverthe industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.
    5. Ant Egg Soup: Adventures of a Food Tourist in Laos by Natacha Du Pont de Bie- “Natacha Du Pont De Bie is no ordinary tourist. She’ll trek for hours or even days in search of a good lunch. Ant Egg Soup is the result of her adventures in Laos, the stories of the people she met, the places she visited and, of course, the amazing food she tasted. Drinking raw turkey blood with herbs in a tribal village, cooking Paradise chicken in a little guest house by the Kung Si waterfalls, and sampling fried cricket during the Festival of the Golden Stupa are just a few examples. Funny and refreshing, with recipes and lines drawings, Ant Egg Soup will awaken the senses while redefining the art of travelling and eating abroad.”
    6. Around the World in Eighty Dates: What if Mr. Right isn’t Mr. Right Here, A True Story by Jennifer Cox- “Head of PR and spokesperson for Lonely Planet travel guides, Jennifer Cox has explored the most remote regions, toured the most exotic terrains, and bonded with people the world over. So how come finding her soul mate in her own hometown of London is a virtual dead end? Certain that the man of her dreams is out there somewhere, Jennifer sets out on the trip of a lifetime, dating her way around the globe–across 18 countries, in 6 months–to find The One.”
    7. Around the World in Fifty Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert Podell- “This is the inspiring story of an ordinary guy who achieved two great goals that others had told him were impossible. First, he set a record for the longest automobile journey ever made around the world, during the course of which he blasted his way out of minefields, survived a serious accident atop the Peak of Death, came within seconds of being lynched in Pakistan, and lost three of the five men who started with him, two to disease, one to the Vietcong.”
    8. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell- “Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other — a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.”
    9. Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide by Jill Homer- “Homer, a newspaper editor in Alaska, has an outlandish ambition: a 2,740-mile mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico along the rugged Continental Divide. But in the tradition of best-laid plans, Jill’s dream starts to unravel the minute she sets it in motion. An accident during a race on the Iditarod Trail results in serious frostbite. As she struggles with painful recovery and uncertainties about leaving a good job to pursue a seemingly impossible pipe dream, her employer hands down ‘an offer she can’t refuse.’”
    10. Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston- “Hiking into the remote Utah canyon lands, Aron Ralston felt perfectly at home in the beauty of the natural world. Then, at 2:41 P.M., eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, an eight-hundred-pound boulder tumbled loose, pinning Aron’s right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. Through six days of hell, with scant water, food, or warm clothing, and the terrible knowledge that no one knew where he was, Aron eliminated his escape option one by one. Then a moment of stark clarity helped him to solve the riddle of the boulder–and commit one of the most extreme and desperate acts imaginable. “
    11. Beyond the Mountain by Steve House- “In 2005 Steve and alpinist Vince Anderson pioneered a direct new route on the Rupal Face of 26,600-foot Nanga Parbat, which had never before been climbed in alpine style. It was the third ascent of the face and the achievement earned Steveand Vince the first Piolet d”or (Golden Ice Axe) awarded to North Americans.”
    12. Blue Highways: A Journey Into America by William Least Heat-Moon- “Hailed as a masterpiece of American travel writing, Blue Highways is an unforgettable journey along our nation’s backroads. William Least Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about ‘those little towns that get on the map-if they get on at all-only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi.’ His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience.”
    13. Braving It: A Father, A Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild by James Campbell- “Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to only a handful of people, is a harsh and lonely place. So when James Campbell’s cousin Heimo Korth asked him to spend a summer building a cabin in the rugged Interior, Campbell hesitated about inviting his fifteen-year-old daughter, Aidan, to join him: Would she be able to withstand clouds of mosquitoes, the threat of grizzlies, bathing in an ice-cold river, and hours of grueling labor peeling and hauling logs?”
    14. Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life by Arlene Blum- “With candor and humor, Breaking Trail recounts Blum’s journey from an overprotected childhood in Chicago to the tops of some of the highest peaks on earth, and to a life lived on her own terms.”
    15. Canyon Solitude: A Woman’s Solo Journey Through The Grand Canyon by Patricia McCairen- “”It’s well known that Mother River doesn’t like a smart aleck,” says Patricia McCairen. Accordingly, she plies her oars with reverence and skill on a sometimes hair-raising solo rafting trip along the Colorado River that winds though the stupendous stone valleys of the American Grand Canyon.”
    16. Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X. Pham- “Catfish and Mandala is the story of an American odyssey―a solo bicycle voyage around the Pacific Rim to Vietnam―made by a young Vietnamese-American man in pursuit of both his adopted homeland and his forsaken fatherland.”
    17. Coasting : A Private Voyage by Jonathan Raban- “Put Jonathan Raban on a boat and the results will be fascinating, and never more so than when he’s sailing around the serpentine, 2,000-mile coast of his native England. In this acutely perceived and beautifully written book, the bestselling author of Bad Land turns that voyage–which coincided with the Falklands war of 1982-into an occasion for meditations on his country, his childhood, and the elusive notion of home.”
    18. Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead by Jenna Woginrich- “Author Jenna Woginrich is mistress of her one-woman farm and is well known for her essays on the mud and mess, the beautiful and tragic, the grime and passion that accompany homesteading. In Cold Antler Farm, her fifth book, she draws our attention to the flow and cycle not of the calendar year, but of the ancient agricultural year: holidays,  celebrations, seasonal touchstones, and astronomical events that mark sacred turning points in the seasons.”
    19. A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisine by Anthony Bourdain- “The only thing ‘gonzo gastronome’ and internationally bestselling author Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling. Inspired by the question, ‘What would be the perfect meal?,’ Tony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail, and in the process turns the notion of ‘perfection’ inside out.”
    20. Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris- “Kathleen Norris invites readers to experience rich moments of prayer and presence in Dakota, a timeless tribute to a place in the American landscape that is at once desolate and sublime, harsh and forgiving, steeped in history and myth. In thoughtful, discerning prose, she explores how we come to inhabit the world we see, and how that world also inhabits us.”
    21. Deer Hunting in Paris: A Memoir of God, Guns and Game Meat by Paula Young Lee- “What happens when a Korean-American preacher’s kid refuses to get married, travels the world, and quits being vegetarian? She meets her polar opposite on an online dating site while sitting at a café in Paris, France and ends up in Paris, Maine, learning how to hunt.”
    22. Delancey by Molly Wizenberg- “When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream–making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive—not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.”
    23. The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love by Kristin Kimball- “Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him.”
    24. Eating Dirt by Charlotte Gill- “During Charlotte Gill’s 20 years working as a tree planter she encountered hundreds of clear-cuts, each one a collision site between human civilization and the natural world, a complicated landscape presenting geographic evidence of our appetites. Charged with sowing the new forest in these clear-cuts, tree planters are a tribe caught between the stumps and the virgin timber, between environmentalists and loggers.”
    25. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert- “In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.”
    26. Far Appalachia: Following the New River North by Noah Adams- “With his sharp eye and gentle wit, Noah Adams doesn’t just tell stories, he lets them unfold — quietly, powerfully, and eloquently. Now the beloved host of NPR’s All Things Considered and bestselling author of Piano Lessons takes us on a river journey through the heart of Appalachia — a journey shared by pioneers and preachers, white-water daredevils, bluegrass musicians, and an unforgettable cast of vivid historical characters.”
    27. A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit-“Written as a series of autobiographical essays, A Field Guide to Getting Lost draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Rebecca Solnit’s life to explore issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and place. Solnit is interested in the stories we use to navigate our way through the world, and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves, or losing ourselves.”
    28. Find a Way: The Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Pursuit of a Lifelong Dream by Diana Nyad- “When Diana Nyad arrived on the shore of Key West after fifty-three hours of grueling swimming across an epic ocean, she not only set a world record—becoming the first person to swim the shark-infested waters between Cuba and Florida with no cage for protection—she also succeeded in fulfilling a dream she first chased at age twenty-eight and at long last achieved when she was sixty-four.Now, in a riveting memoir, Diana shares a spirited account of what it takes to face one’s fears, engage one’s passions, and never ever give up.”
    29. Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog and an Extroardinary Friendship by Tom Ryan- “It was an adventure of a lifetime, leading Tom and Atticus across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. At the heart of the amazing journey was the extraordinary relationship they shared, one that blurred the line between man and dog.”
    30. Four Corners: A Journey into The Heart of Papua New Guinea by Kira Salak- “Chronicles the author’s journey across the arduous physical and cultural terrain of Papua New Guinea, describing her stay in a village where cannibalism was still practiced, as well as a hazardous trek through the jungle.”
    31. The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer: Close Encounters with Strangers by Eric Hansen- “Eric Hansen survives a cyclone on a boat off the Australian coast, cradles a dying man in Calcutta, and drinks mind-altering kava in Vanuatu. He helps a widower search for his wife’s wedding ring amid plane-crash wreckage in Borneo and accompanies topless dancers on a bird-watching expedition in California. From the Maldives to Sacramento, from Cannes to Washington Heights, Eric Hansen has a way of getting himself into the most sacred ceremonies and the most candid conversations.”
    32. Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin Mitnick and Steve Wozniak- “Kevin Mitnick was the most elusive computer break-in artist in history. He accessed computers and networks at the world’s biggest companies–and however fast the authorities were, Mitnick was faster, sprinting through phone switches, computer systems, and cellular networks. He spent years skipping through cyberspace, always three steps ahead and labeled unstoppable. But for Kevin, hacking wasn’t just about technological feats-it was an old fashioned confidence game that required guile and deception to trick the unwitting out of valuable information.”
    33. Gorge: My Journey Up Killimanjaro at 300 Pounds by Kara Richardson Whitely- “Kara knew she could reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She had done it once before. That’s why, when she failed in a second attempt, it brought her so low. As she struggled with food addiction and looked for ways to cope with feelings of failure and shame, Kara’s weight shot to more than 300 pounds. Deep in her personal gorge, Kara realized the only way out was up.”
    34. Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina McLaughlin- “Nina MacLaughlin spent her twenties working at a Boston newspaper, sitting behind a desk and staring at a screen. Yearning for more tangible work, she applied for a job she saw on Craigslist―Carpenter’s Assistant: Women strongly encouraged to apply―despite being a Classics major who couldn’t tell a Phillips from a flathead screwdriver. She got the job, and in Hammer Head she tells the rich and entertaining story of becoming a carpenter.”
    35. Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford- “A highly acclaimed writer and editor, Bill Buford left his job at The New Yorker for a most unlikely destination: the kitchen at Babbo, the revolutionary Italian restaurant created and ruled by superstar chef Mario Batali. Finally realizing a long-held desire to learn first-hand the experience of restaurant cooking, Buford soon finds himself drowning in improperly cubed carrots and scalding pasta water on his quest to learn the tricks of the trade. His love of Italian food then propels him on journeys further afield: to Italy, to discover the secrets of pasta-making and, finally, how to properly slaughter a pig.”
    36. High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest by Edmund Hillary- “Fear lives among Everest’s mighty ice-fluted faces and howls across its razor-sharp crags. Gnawing at reason and enslaving minds, it has killed many and defeated countless others. But in 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stared into its dark eye and did not waver. On May 29, they pushed spent bodies and aching lungs past the achievable to pursue the impossible. At a terminal altitude of 29,028 feet, they stood triumphant atop the highest peak in the world.”
    37. How Not to Run a B&B by Bobby Hutchinson- “Bobby Hutchinson, a best selling Harlequin writer decides to open a B&B in Vancouver, B.C. when sales of romance novels falter. Despite never having stayed in a B&B and knowing absolutely nothing about running one, she jumps right in. Strange people from nearby and halfway around the world arrive at her home with their stories and struggles, not to mention their baggage, psychological and otherwise.”
    38. The Hundred Year Walk: An Armenian Oddysey by Dawn Anahid Mackeen- “Growing up, Dawn MacKeen heard from her mother how her grandfather Stepan miraculously escaped from the Turks during the Armenian genocide of 1915, when more than one million people—half the Armenian population—were killed. In The Hundred-Year Walk MacKeen alternates between Stepan’s courageous account, drawn from his long-lost journals, and her own story as she attempts to retrace his steps, setting out alone to Turkey and Syria, shadowing her resourceful, resilient grandfather across a landscape still rife with tension. “
    39. Il Bel Centro: A Year in The Beautiful Center by Michelle Damiani- “When Michelle Damiani dreamed of living in Italy, she imagined her family as it was in Virginia–her husband filling every moment with work, her teenage son experimenting with sarcasm, her daughter smiling at the scent of lilacs, her baby-cheeked son methodically clicking Legos together, and herself hovering over the happiness of them all–only surrounded by ancient cobblestone alleys and the sound of ringing Italian.”
    40. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson- “Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion along the Appalachian Trail resulted in the sublime national bestseller A Walk in the Woods. In A Sunburned Country is his report on what he found in an entirely different place: Australia, the country that doubles as a continent, and a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet. The result is a deliciously funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance by a writer who combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiousity.”
    41. In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin- “An exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land, Bruce Chatwin’s exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia teems with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history, and unforgettable anecdotes.”
    42. In Search of King Solomon’s Mines by Tahir Shah- “King Solomon, the Bible’s wisest king, possessed extraordinary wealth. The grand temple he built in Jerusalem was covered in gold from the porch to the inner sanctum, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. Long before H. Rider Haggard’s classic adventure novel King Solomon’s Mines unleashed gold fever more than a century ago, many had sought to find the source of the great king’s wealth. In this new adventure—“a hybrid of Indiana Jones and Herodotus” (Sunday Times, London)—Tahir Shah tries his hand at the quest.”
    43. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer- “In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.”
    44. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer- “A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that “suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.” He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more–including Krakauer’s–in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer’s epic account of the May 1996 disaster.”
    45. Jaguars Ripped My Flesh by Tim Cahill- “The author of A Wolverine Is Eating My Leg and Pecked to Death by Ducks gives new meaning to the words “going to extremes” in this exhilarating–and frequently hilarious–collection of adventure travel writing. ‘Cahill . . . (writes) with the precision ofJohn McPhee and Joan Didion tempered by a Monty Pythonesque sense of the absurd.’–San Diego Union-Tribune.”
    46. Life Is a Wheel: Memoirs of a Bike-Riding Obituarist by Bruce Weber- During the summer and fall of 2011, Bruce Weber, an obituary writer for The New York Times, bicycled across the country, alone, and wrote about it as it unfolded. Life Is a Wheel is the witty, inspiring, and reflective diary of his journey, in which the challenges and rewards of self-reliance and strenuous physical effort yield wry and incisive observations about cycling and America, not to mention the pleasures of a three-thousand-calorie breakfast.
    47. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann- “In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called “The Lost City of Z.” In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett’s quest for “Z” and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century.”
    48. Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta- “A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs, following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse, opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood, and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks.”
    49. Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun by Faith Adiele- “Reluctantly leaving behind Pop Tarts and pop culture to battle flying rats, hissing cobras, forest fires, and decomposing corpses, Faith Adiele shows readers in this personal narrative, with accompanying journal entries, that the path to faith is full of conflicts for even the most devout. Residing in a forest temple, she endured nineteen-hour daily meditations, living on a single daily meal, and days without speaking. Internally Adiele battled against loneliness, fear, hunger, sexual desire, resistance to the Buddhist worldview, and her own rebellious Western ego. Adiele demystifies Eastern philosophy and demonstrates the value of developing any practice―Buddhist or not.”
    50. The Ministry of Guidance Invites You To Not Stay: An American Family in Iran by Hooman Majd- “n February 2011, Hooman Majd disembarked at the Tehran airport, a place he had passed through many times to visit family or accompany a news crew. But this time he had his wife, Karri; his infant son, Khash; and an oversize stroller in tow—and plans to stay for a year. Few American journalists gain entry to Iran; for Majd, the son of a diplomat under the shah and the grandson of an ayatollah, it would be the first time he had lived in his homeland since childhood.”
    51. The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara- “The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary, now a popular movie and a New York Times bestseller. This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photos taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara, offering an insightful perspective on the man and the icon.”
    52. My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine by Kate Betts- “As a young woman, Kate Betts nursed a dream of striking out on her own in a faraway place and becoming a glamorous foreign correspondent. After college—and not without trepidation—she took off for Paris, renting a room in the apartment of a young BCBG (bon chic, bon genre) family and throwing herself into the local culture. She was determined to master French slang, style, and savoir faire, and to find a job that would give her a reason to stay.”
    53. My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff- “Keenly observed and irresistibly funny, My Salinger Year is a memoir about literary New York in the late nineties, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing.”
    54. My Story as an American Au Paire in the Loir Valley by Linda Kovic Skow- “French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, is the first of two books based on the author’s diaries from 1979 and 1980.”
    55. Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickendon- “The acclaimed and captivating true story of two restless society girls who left their affluent lives to “rough it” as teachers in the wilds of Colorado in 1916.”
    56. On The Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined by David Roberts- “What compels mountain climbers to take the risks that they do? Is it the thrill in the physical accomplishment, in managing to defy the odds, or both—and why do they continue to do what they do in the face of such great danger? In On the Ridge Between Life and Death, David Roberts confronts these questions head-on as he recounts the exhilarating highs and desperate lows of his climbing career.”
    57. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger- “It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high―a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it “the perfect storm.” In a book that has become a classic, Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched.”
    58. Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle- “In 2001, cartoonist Guy Delisle lived in the capital of North Korea for two months on a work visa for a French film company. In this remarkable graphic novel, Delisle recorded what he was able to see of the culture and lives of one of the last remaining totalitarian communist societies.”
    59. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler- “In the heart of China’s Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident.”
    60. Rock and Roses, edited by Mikel Vause- Mountaineering Essays by Some of The World’s Best Women Climbers of the 20th Century
    61. Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man by Norah Vincent- “A journalist’s provocative and spellbinding account of her eighteen months spent disguised as a man. Norah Vincent became an instant media sensation with the publication of Self-Made Man, her take on just how hard it is to be a man, even in a man’s world.”
    62. A Sense of Direction by Gideon Lewis-Krauss- “Determined to avoid the fear and self-sacrifice that kept his father, a gay rabbi, closeted until midlife, he [the author] has moved to anything-goes Berlin. But the surfeit of freedom there has begun to paralyze him, and when a friend extends a drunken invitation to join him on an ancient pilgrimage route across Spain, Lewis-Kraus packs his bag, grateful for the chance to wake each morning with a sense of direction.
    63. Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer- “In this vivid memoir that has sold millions of copies worldwide, Heinrich Harrer recounts his adventures as one of the first Europeans ever to enter Tibet and encounter the Dalai Lama.”
    64. The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost- “The Sex Lives of Cannibals tells the hilarious story of what happens when Troost discovers that Tarawa is not the island paradise he dreamed of. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles through relentless, stifling heat, a variety of deadly bacteria, polluted seas, toxic fish—all in a country where the only music to be heard for miles around is “La Macarena.”
    65. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby- ” It was 1956, and Eric Newby was earning an improbable living in the chaotic family business of London haute couture. Pining for adventure, Newby sent his friend Hugh Carless the now-famous cable – CAN YOU TRAVEL NURISTAN JUNE? – setting in motion a legendary journey from Mayfair to Afghanistan, and the mountains of the Hindu Kush,”
    66. Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen– “In this in-depth, behind-the-scenes tell-all about the lives of women chefs, journalist Charlotte Druckman walks the reader into the world behind the hot line. But this is a different perspective on the kitchen: one told through the voices of more than 70 of the best and brightest women cooking today,”
    67. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty- “Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty―a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre―took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work.”
    68. Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Getting Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton- “In this moving personal account of faith and fortitude, internationally ranked surfer Bethany Hamilton tells how she survived a shark attack that cost her arm–but not her spirit.”
    69. South of Haunted Dreams: A Ride Through Slavery’s Old Back Yard by Eddy L. Harris- “The author of Mississippi Solo and Native Stranger recounts his motorcycle journey through the South, discusses what it means to be black, and describes his search for traces of his own great-great-grandfather.”
    70. South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton- “In 1914, as the shadow of war falls across Europe, a party led by veteran explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton sets out to become the first to traverse the Antarctic continent. Their initial optimism is short-lived, however, as the ice field slowly thickens, encasing the ship Endurance in a death-grip, crushing their craft, and marooning 28 men on a polar ice floe.”
    71. Space Below My Feet by Gwen Moffat- “In 1945, when Gwen Moffat was in her twenties, she deserted her post as a driver and dispatch rider in the Army and went to live rough in Wales and Cornwall, climbing and living on practically nothing. She hitchhiked her way around, travelling from Skye to Chamonix and many places in between, with all her possessions on her back, although these amounted to little more than a rope and a sleeping bag.”
    72. Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer by Lynne Cox- “Lynne Cox started swimming almost as soon as she could walk. By age sixteen, she had broken all records for swimming the English Channel. Her daring eventually led her to the Bering Strait, where she swam five miles in thirty-eight-degree water in just a swimsuit, cap, and goggles.”
    73. Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home by Ann Armbrecht- “During the 1990s, Ann Armbrecht, an American anthropologist, made several trips to northeastern Nepal to research how the Yamphu Rai acquired, farmed, and held onto their land; how they perceived their area’s recent designation as a national park and conservation area; and whether—as she believed—they held a wisdom about living on the earth that the industrialized West had forgotten”
    74. Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart by Carrot Quinn- “Carrot Quinn fears that she’s become addicted to the internet. The city makes her feel numb, and she’s having trouble connecting with others. In a desperate move she breaks away from everything to walk 2,660 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. It will be her first long-distance hike.”
    75. To Be A Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls or Just Taking on a 5k Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place) by Martin Dugard- “With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, instruction, and humor, best-selling author–and lifelong runner–Martin Dugard takes a journey through the world of running to illustrate how the sport helps us fulfill that universal desire to be the best possible version of ourselves each and every time we lace up our shoes.”
    76. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson- “Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death.”
    77. The Totem Pole: And a Whole New Adventure by Paul Pritchard- “The winner of the 1999 Banff Mountain Book Festival Grand Prize. A gripping mountaineering literature and inspirational, true-life drama.”
    78. Tracks by Robyn Davidson-“Robyn Davidson opens the memoir of her perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company with the following words: ‘I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there’s no going back.'”
    79. Travels With Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck- “To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck’s goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.”
    80. Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Been-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland by Ken Llgunas- “Now that President Donald Trump has revived the Keystone XL pipeline that was rejected by former President Obama, Trespassing Across America is the book to help us understand the kaleidoscopic significance of the project. Told with sincerity, humor, and wit, Ilgunas’s story is both a fascinating account of one man’s remarkable journey along the pipeline’s potential path and a meditation on climate change, the beauty of the natural world, and the extremes to which we can push ourselves—both physically and mentally.”
    81. Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery by Steph Jagger- “A young woman follows winter across five continents on a physical and spiritual journey that tests her body and soul, in this transformative memoir, full of heart and courage, that speaks to the adventurousness in all of us.”
    82. Under the Tuscan Sun: A Home in Italy by Frances Mays- “Twenty years ago, Frances Mayes–widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer–introduced readers to a wondrous new world when she bought and restored an abandoned villa called Bramasole in the spectacular Tuscan countryside.”
    83. Wanderlust: A Love Affair With Five Continents by Elizabeth Eaves- “Spanning 15 years of travel, beginning when she is a sophomore in college, Wanderlust documents Elisabeth Eaves’s insatiable hunger for the rush of the unfamiliar and the experience of encountering new people and cultures.”
    84. Wanderlust: A Love Affair With Five Continents by Ken Llgunas- “In this frank and witty memoir, Ken Ilgunas lays bare the existential terror of graduating from the University of Buffalo with $32,000 of student debt. Ilgunas set himself an ambitious mission: get out of debt as quickly as possible. Inspired by the frugality and philosophy of Henry David Thoreau, Ilgunas undertook a 3-year transcontinental jour¬ney, working in Alaska as a tour guide, garbage picker, and night cook to pay off his student loans before hitchhiking home to New York.”
    85. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson- “The Appalachian Trail trail A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Brysonstretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find.”
    86. Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North by Blair Braverman- “Blair Braverman fell in love with the North at an early age: By the time she was nineteen, she had left her home in California, moved to Norway to learn how to drive sled dogs, and worked as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. By turns funny and sobering, bold and tender, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube charts Blair’s endeavor to become a “tough girl”—someone who courts danger in an attempt to become fearless.”
    87. West With The Night by Beryl Markham- “The first person to fly nonstop from Europe to America, the first woman to fly solo east to west across the Atlantic. Hers was indisputably a life full of adventure and beauty.”
    88. What I Talk About When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami- “An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, from the incomparable, bestselling author Haruki Murakami.While simply training for New York City Marathon would be enough for most people, Haruki Murakami’s decided to write about it as well.”
    89. What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman-“Kristin Newman spent much of her twenties and thirties buying dresses to wear to her friends’ weddings and baby showers. Not ready to settle down and in need of an escape from her fast-paced job as a sitcom writer, Kristin instead traveled the world, often alone, for several weeks each year.”
    90. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (The Taliban Shuffle MTI): Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker- “From tea with warlords in the countryside to parties with drunken foreign correspondents in the “dry” city of Kabul, journalist Kim Barker captures the humor and heartbreak of life in post-9/11 Afghanistan and Pakistan in this profound and darkly comic memoir.”
    91. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed- “At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone.”
    92. The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane- “Are there any genuinely wild places left in Britain and Ireland? That is the question that Robert Macfarlane poses to himself as he embarks on a series of breathtaking journeys through some of the archipelago?s most remarkable landscapes. He climbs, walks, and swims by day and spends his nights sleeping on cliff-tops and in ancient meadows and wildwoods.”
    93. Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery- “A collection of sketches rather than a novel, this work tells of battling with a tornado in the Andes; of crashing in the Libyan desert; and of action, adventure and danger.”
    94. Without You, There is No Us: My Time with The Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim- “Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it.”
    95. The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard- “The Worst Journey in the World recounts Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard—the youngest member of Scott’s team and one of three men to make and survive the notorious Winter Journey—draws on his firsthand experiences as well as the diaries of his compatriots to create a stirring and detailed account of Scott’s legendary expedition. “
    96. The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe by Ann Morgan- “A beguiling exploration of the joys of reading across boundaries, inspired by the author’s year-long journey through a book from every country”
    97. Yoga Bitch: One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment by Suzanne Morrison- “When Suzanne Morrison decides to travel to Bali for a two-month yoga retreat, she wants nothing more than to be transformed from a twenty-five-year-old with a crippling fear of death into her enchanting yoga teacher, Indra—a woman who seems to have found it all: love, self, and God.”
    98. A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson- “An entrancing memoir of how one woman’s journey of self-discovery gave her the courage to persevere in re-creating her life.”
    99. The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Countries by Helen Russell- “When she was suddenly given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, journalist and archetypal Londoner Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: the happiest place on earth isn’t Disneyland, but Denmark, a land often thought of by foreigners as consisting entirely of long dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries.”
    100. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes- “With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.”

 

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