Best Adventure Reads

My family traveled all the time as a child, and so I learned to love adventure at an early age.  It wasn't always easy for me to connect with other children my age (always been kind of an introvert), but I was never too lonely, because I spent all my time at the library.  When we weren't traveling, I got my adventure fix through some of these incredible books, which are still among my favorites.

1. The Fantastic Flying Journey by Gerard Durell

Gerard Durell was a naturalist who did a fair amount of traveling, so this book was filled with very realistic descriptions.  It's the story of a scientist who brings his niece and nephews on his flying house, which they take all around the world, looking for the uncle's friend.

2. West with the Night by Beryl Markham

A true account of a female aviator's experiences in Africa.  Some of the most beautiful writing I've ever read.  After reading this book, Ernest Hemingway said "She has written so well, and marvellously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen."

3. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

Another beautiful account of Africa written by a female author.  

4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

A book that needs no introduction, and one that began my love affair with the American South.  A dear friend and I went to see Val Kilmer's play about Mark Twain, which Kilmer wrote, directed and starred in.   

5. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

I've read this book more than any other novel, perhaps nine or ten times.  Although it is written as a novel, it can also be treated a collection of short stories, all of which are true and all of which take place in Savannah, Georgia.  Although Berendt twisted the details slightly in terms of the true chronology, it is still a fantastic account of a murder trial which took the quiet city by storm.

6. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

This book begins in Savannah, Georgia (are you guys seeing a Southern theme here?), and then goes to a mythical island which holds a vast fortune.  You will want to become a pirate after reading this on a beach...the only place you should really read it.

7. The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard

The true story of all the men who died on a British expedition to Antarctica in the early 1900s.  It's a sad story, but also an extremely courageous one, and one that will probably make you feel like you've accomplished nothing with your life.  Cherry-Garrard came from a wealthy family, but he was very feeble and book-minded.  He also had trouble seeing without thick glasses - Buster Bluth, anyone?  At first he wasn't accepted by his companions because he paid a large sum to be allowed on the trip, but he quickly earned their respect, and in the end, he was the one to immortalize their journey.

8. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

A sad story about a doomed expedition to Mont Blanc.  As with many of these other books, it's a true story, and also features my all-time favorite hero from any book, true or false - Seaborn Beck Weathers (I'm looking at you, Aaron White!).

9. The Pagemaster by David Kirschner 

Forget about the movie, because it sucked.  The book is a simply story about a boy who is afraid of everything, but he turns to books for solace.  The illustrations are incredible, and they will make you wish that you could live in five or six different fictional lands.

10. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

The title pretty much says it all.  If you haven't read anything by Jules Verne, you should read either this one or Around the World in 80 Days.