Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wouldn’t You Rather Pick Outdoor Survival Than Indoor Survival?

So school has started. The last day of summer vacation is the worst day, I think.  Once you are actually at school, it isn’t as bad as you thought, right?  Or, was it just as bad as you thought or worse? 

How about some escape literature so you can feel better about where you are in comparison, or maybe just to help you escape from where you don’t want to be.  The books below are all about teens’ survival in the wild. I'll start with the newest and the oldest title on my list.

Boys in the Boat : Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics  by Daniel James Brown 
Goodreads website says, "The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936."  The main character in this riveting story is Joe Rantz, a teenager who is abandoned by his family and survives all on his own, eventually managing by himself to enroll in the University of Washington.

Three Men in the Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog by Jerome K. Jerome 
A totally different kind of survival story of a bumbling Victorian well-to-do threesome (and a very wise dog) who decide to flow down the Thames to cure their collective depression. 

There is also a graphic novel version of this timeless story by Nidi Verma in Campfire Graphic Novels.

Breath by Tim Winton
It’s a story of extremes—extreme sports and extreme emotions.
On the wild, lonely coast of Western Australia, two thrillseeking and barely adolescent boys fall into the enigmatic thrall of veteran big-wave surfer Sando.

Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival  by Norman Ollestad
Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing by the intense, charismatic father he both idolized and resented. At age eleven, he was the only survivor after his father dies in a distant winter mountain.  (I picked up this book from the cover showing Ollestad, looking no more than 3 years old, piggy-backing on his surfing father.)

Peak by Roland Smith
A fourteen-year-old boy attempts to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beach 
War seen through the eyes of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone.

Ada Blackjack : A True Story of Survival in The Arctic by Jennifer Niven
A true story of a young Inuit woman who survived six months alone on a desolate, uninhabited Arctic island.

Then, the ultimate escape would be about surviving in imagined worlds like in Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, Ender’s Game, and Life of Pi, but that's for another day.

Megumi L.

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