My bookshelves and Kindle are filled with tales of against-the-odds Antarctic survival, deathly mountaineering endeavours and Hemingway-esque journeys that change lives and shift perceptions. I know what I like and adventure travel books unfailingly engross me from cover to cover.
With Christmas fast approaching, we take a look at Amazon’s best-selling adventure travel books of 2015 – perfect gifts for would-be adventurers like me.
|1.||Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
In the wake of her mother’s death, with her family scattered, and in the ashes of a failed marriage, Cheryl Strayed made the impulsive decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
|2.||Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
by Christopher McDougall
At the heart of Born to Run lies a mysterious tribe of Mexican Indians, the Tarahumara, who are reputed to be the best distance runners in the world.
|3.||Into Thin Air
by Jon Krakauer
The true story of a 24-hour period on Everest which started with a storm and ended with the worst single-season death toll in the peak’s history.
|4.||Tracks: One Woman’s Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
by Robyn Davidson
Robyn Davidson’s 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.
|5.||Becoming Frozen: Memoir of a First Year in Alaska
by Jill Homer
Jill Homer was just another naive young woman who followed a man to the Last Frontier — but it was Alaska that won her heart.
|6.||Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
by William Finnegan
Surfing only looks like a sport. To devotees, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a mental and physical study, a passionate way of life.
|7.||Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident
by Donnie Eichar
In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. This is their story.
|8.||The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World
by Leon Logothetis
Part adventure story, part inspirational memoir, The Kindness Diaries will introduce you to a wide world of adventure and open your eyes to the possibilities of human connection.
|9.||AWOL on the Appalachian Trail
by David Miller
In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to fulfil a dream and hike the Appalachian Trail.
|10.||In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS
by Hampton Sides
In 1879 the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds and a frenzy of publicity. The ship and its crew were destined for the uncharted waters of the Arctic.
|11.||Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
by Andra Watkins
Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become one of the only living people to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did.
|12.||Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta
by Richard Grant
Adventure writer Richard Grant takes on “the most American place on Earth”: the enigmatic, beautiful, often derided Mississippi Delta.
|13.||Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See… Ranked
by Lonely Planet
This definitive wishlist of the best places to visit on Earth is packed with insightful write-ups and inspiring photography to get you ticking off your travel list.
|14.||Be Expert with Map and Compass
by Bjorn Kjellstrom
GPS devices are great but they can break, get lost, or be hampered by weather conditions, making basic map and compass skills essential for anyone who spends time outdoors.
|15.||Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Carrot Quinn
In the desert of Southern California, Carrot faces many challenges, both physical and emotional: pain, injury, aching cold and searing heat, dehydration, exhaustion and loneliness.
|16.||Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail
by Ben Montgomery
67-year-old great-grandmother Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk. The next anybody heard from her, she had walked 800 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
|17.||On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads
by Tim Cope
The relationship between man and horse on the Eurasian steppe gave rise to a succession of rich nomadic cultures. Among them were the Mongols of the 13th Century.
|18.||Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival
by Joe Simpson
A classic tale of mountaineering survival. 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.
|19.||Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors
by Piers Paul Read
In 1972, a Fairchild plane crashed in the Andes mountains. The survivors were hopelessly lost in one of the most remote places on earth.
|20.||The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon: And 101 Other Things for Young Mariners to Build, Try, and Do on the Water
by David Seidman
Ever since humankind began seafaring, boats and shoreline adventures have produced sturdy, independent, creative, self-reliant sailors. Now, this wisdom can be passed onto your kids.
|21.||Wayfinding Part 1: Rats and Rafts
by Hugh Howey
Wayfinding is the ancient seafaring art of navigating. As a self-help philosophy, Wayfinding means being aware of our environment and our responses to outside stimuli.
|22.||Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft
by Thor Heyerdahl
The adventure of Thor Heyerdahl and his companions on their raft across the Pacific has gone down in legend as a feat of endurance and courage. This is that story in Heyerdahl’s own words.
|23.||Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
by Laurence Gonzales
This gripping narrative, the first book to describe the art and science of survival, will change the way you see your world.
|24.||Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot
by Mark Vanhoenacker
Airline pilot Mark Vanhoenacker shares his irrepressible love of flying on a journey from day to night, new ways of mapmaking and the poetry of physics to the names of winds and the nature of clouds.
|25.||Poop, Booze, and Bikinis
by Ed Robinson
A hilarious look at the nautical lifestyle. From Poop to Booze to Bikinis, the author covers the funnier side of the issues encountered by boaters all of types.
(Lead image: Dreamstime)