Summer Adventures

From the publisher: "Branch is renowned for covering the offbeat in the sporting world, from alligator hunting to wingsuit flying. Sidecountry features such classic Branch pieces, including 'Snow Fall,' about downhill skiers caught in an avalanche in Washington state, and 'Dawn Wall,' about rock climbers trying to scale Yosemite’s famed El Capitan. In other articles, Branch introduces people whose dedication and decency transcend their sporting lives, including a revered football coach rebuilding his tornado-devastated town in Iowa and a girls’ basketball team in Tennessee that plays on despite never winning a game. The book culminates with his moving personal pieces, including 'Children of the Cube,' about the surprising drama of Rubik’s Cube competitions as seen through the eyes of Branch’s own sports-hating son, and 'The Girl in the No. 8 Jersey,' about a mother killed in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting whose daughter happens to play on Branch’s daughter’s soccer team. Sidecountry gathers the best of Branch’s work for the first time, featuring 20 of his favorites from the more than 2,000 pieces he has published."
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From the publisher: "With grit, poetry, and humor, Peter Heller, acclaimed author of The River recounts his remarkable journey of discovery—of surfing, an entirely new challenge; of the ocean's beauty and power; of the strange surf subculture; of love; and, most of all, of how to seek adventure while crafting a meaningful life. Having resolved to master a big-hollow wave—that is, to go from kook (surfese for beginner) to shredder—in a single year, Heller travels from Southern California down the coast of Mexico in the company of his girlfriend and the eccentric surfers they meet. Exuberant and fearless, Heller explores the technique and science of surfing the secrets of its culture, and the environmental ravages to the stunning coastline he visits."
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From the publisher: "The #1 New York Times bestseller from the author of Killers of the Flower Moon. 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."
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From the publisher: "Michael Palin brings the fascinating story of the Erebus and its occupants to life, from its construction as a bomb vessel in 1826 through the flagship years of James Clark Ross’s Antarctic expedition and finally to Sir John Franklin’s quest for the holy grail of navigation—a route through the Northwest Passage, where the ship disappeared into the depths of the sea for more than 150 years. It was rediscovered under the arctic waters in 2014. Palin travels across the world—from Tasmania to the Falkland Islands and the Canadian Arctic—to offer a firsthand account of the terrain and conditions that would have confronted the Erebus and her doomed final crew. Delving into the research, he describes the intertwined careers of the two men who shared the ship’s journeys: Ross, the organizational genius who mapped much of the Antarctic coastline and oversaw some of the earliest scientific experiments to be conducted there; and Franklin, who, at the age of sixty and after a checkered career, commanded the ship on its last disastrous venture."
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The publisher calls this a "classic, engrossing memoir—a triumph of the pioneer spirit and an adventure-charged chronicle of a life lived to the fullest." Beryl Markham was an amazing woman, and one of the first people to successfully cross the Atlantic by plane. Yet she's not nearly as well known as others who share her arial accomplishments. In her autobiography, she preserves the moments that meant the most to her—from her childhood, spent in Africa with her British colonial family, to her adult years, when she became the first professional pilot in Africa and successfully crossed the Atlantic, alone. The title refers to the fact that when she flew, she was mostly in the dark.
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From the publisher: "In 1955, Garcia Marquez was working for El Espectador, a newspaper in Bogota, when in February of that year eight crew members of the Caldas, a Colombian destroyer, were washed overboard and disappeared. Ten days later one of them turned up, barely alive, on a deserted beach in northern Colombia. This book, which originally appeared as a series of newspaper articles, is Garcia Marquez's account of that sailor's ordeal."
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If you love too-weird-to-be-true stories or stumbling upon a new-to-you topic you had no idea could be so fascinating, this is the book for you. Author Kirk Wallace Johnson was fly-fishing in New Mexico when he first heard the strange story of Edward Rist, the thief who stole hundreds of bird skins from the British Museum of Natural History: he brazenly walked into the museum with a suitcase and walked out with a collection of valuable and exotic specimens. Though the police knew Rist was selling his stolen treasure online, many of the precious specimens went missing—and Johnson was determined to discover where they went. Motivated by natural curiosity, a regard for science, and a sense of justice, he became an amateur detective-of-sorts and shares his experiences in this engaging narrative.
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From the publisher: Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored.
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When Suzanne of Goodreads chose another Candice Millard, Destiny of the Republic, as one of her favorite books in What Should I Read Next Episode 242 ("Sharing Good Reads with good friends), I bumped it to the top of my TBR. Now I'm interested in reading more by Millard. From the publisher: "From the soaring beauty of the Amazon rain forest to the darkest night of Theodore Roosevelt’s life, here is Candice Millard’s dazzling debut. After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find, the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil’s most famous explorer, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the western hemisphere forever."
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Part thrilling puzzle, part character study, 100% bonkers adventure story. This was a “just trust me” recommendation from my husband Will, who’s followed the Forest Fenn treasure hunt for years. I’m so glad I picked it up—because once I did I couldn’t put it down. Fenn launched the hunt in 2010, when he hid treasure worth several million dollars deep in the Rocky Mountains and pointed would-be hunters to a poem with nine clues for finding it. Barbarisi became a treasure hunter himself, becoming deeply enmeshed in the close-but-combative Fenn community. Though many believed the hunt was pure myth and the treasure didn’t exist, a Michigan med student found the treasure not long before the book went to print, which provides a nice resolution to the story.
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From the publisher: "Forest fires, terrorism, war: explorations of danger by the author of The Perfect StormIn Fire, Sebastian Junger brings to bear the same meticulous prose that made A Perfect Storm a modern classic onto the inner workings of a terrifying elemental force—an out-of-control inferno burning in the steep canyons of Idaho—and the cast of characters risking everything to bring that force under control. Few writers have been to so many desperate corners of the globe as has Sebastian Junger; fewer still have provided such starkly memorable evocations of characters and events. From the murderous mechanics of the diamond trade in Sierra Leone to the logic of guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan and the forensics of genocide in Kosovo, this collection of Junger's nonfiction will take you places you wouldn't dream of going to on your own."
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