What are you reading?

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Kent McLemore
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Kent McLemore » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:33 am

In anticipation of next year's JMT hike I'm reading Francis Farquhar's "History of the Sierra Nevada," and "Sacred Summits, John Muir's Greatest Climbs." Both good reads and highly recommended. Some of Muir's FA's: Cathedral Peak, Mts. Ritter and Hoffman, Whitney's Mountaineer Route. Stood atop Ranier in 1888. The dude could climb.
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talberta
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby talberta » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:10 am

The White Spider, by Heinrich Harrer. Fantastically written!
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SolarAlex
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby SolarAlex » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:19 am

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman …an unbelievably interesting book about how the human brain works and how it relates to economics.
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bohlsen
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby bohlsen » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:40 pm

Working though Roughing It by Mark Twain about his adventures traveling to and living in Nevada during the boom days of silver mining. He's got an amazing, dry sense of humor and its a very interesting perspective to hear him describe so many places that I'm familiar with 150 years ago.
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby KenE » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:00 pm

awon2zip wrote:For school I had some options one what i could read. The one I chose was In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, it's about the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas back in 1959. It's alright so far, has any one read this book and did you like it?


I read this when it was first published. It was one of the first "real" books that I had read. Capote (I was a small town Tennessee boy and thought it was pronounced Kaypote) changed my view of literature and I learned the power of the written word. Remember, there had never been a book written in this form before.
It's in my top five of all time. I was about the age, when I read this, of the Clutter children when they were killed. I still remember the horror of that section of the book. Be sure to see the original movie with Robert Blake as Perry Smith, and the two that were done recently are certainly worth the time.

I'm currently reading "George Daniels, A Master Watchmaker and His Art". George died in 2011. He was one of the few people on earth who could produce a watch from raw materials in his shop. They are truly beautiful creations. Well written and great photographs of his watches and the components. I'm kind of seriously into watches.

Ken
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MtnHub
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby MtnHub » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:09 am

Just finished Diane Chamberlain's The Good Father, which was excellent! She is becoming one of my favorite authors.
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Jim Davies
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Jim Davies » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:36 am

I just finished The Abominable, a new novel by Dan Simmons. As soon as I saw that it was about a bootleg 1925 rescue climb of Everest and somehow involved yetis, I had high hopes for a farce of "Vertical Limit" proportions. Initially, I was disappointed; the author clearly has a deep familiarity with mountaineering history, and he ladles on the details (mostly accurate, more on this later) with a heavy hand, but in a generally engaging style. This book is huge and sometimes a slog, as Simmons' descriptions often run on and on (multiple pages on the drive into an English country estate, for example).

{Major spoilers follow, if you really intend to read this book for the suspense don't read on.}

{You've been warned.}













{Really, stop reading now or the whole book will be ruined.}




















But, in the end, the book delivers the accidental yucks, although it's a lot of work to get there. The protagonist, Jake, is a 23-year-old American climber who supposedly wrote this up in his 90's, after which it makes its way to Simmons in the present day. Jake turns out to be the Forrest Gump of 20th-century exploration - he not only climbs high on Everest in 1925, finding the bodies of both Mallory and Irvine along the way (taking Mallory's camera in the process), he also visits Nanda Devi and Antarctica in the 30's, and K2 in the 30's and 50's, plus along the way meets Rudoph Hess and has dinner with the entire 1924 Everest expedition, Winston Churchill, Lawrence of Arabia, and Charlie Chaplin. Their 1925 expedition not only produces the first ascent AND traverse of Everest, but along the way the small group invents front-point crampons, curved-blade ice-climbing tools, dome tents, down clothing, jumars, nylon-cored rope, and probably a few dozen other innovations I'm forgetting (Simmons does love to heap on the details). What starts out as a fast-and-light search-and-summit attempt winds up being a huge expedition supported by dozens of Sherpas, who apparently can carry a ton of gear apiece, as huge piles of gear appear whenever it's needed by the plot: tents, stoves, oxygen (excuse me, "English Air", as the author calls it at least 100 times), food, miles of rope, ladders, a pedal-powered winch, rifles, flare guns, a cratefull of chocolate, etc., etc., etc. The easy availability of gear on this "fast and light" expedition gets really laughable at times - our heros retreat from their first high attempt in despair, ready to abandon their expedition, when they're attacked by:

Nazis in Yeti Suits!

It is at this point that the book really descends into farce, as an army of machine-gun wielding Nazis attack, killing dozens of Sherpas! (but none of the westerners, of course). Our heros conveniently find a cache of oxygen, tents, stoves, and food that they've been saving for ... something ..., winch a few tons of it up to the North Col, then flee upward toward the summit. It turns out (spoiler alert!) that there are incriminating photos of Hitler in the pocket of a dead climber near the second step, which our heros retrieve (just before Jake free-climbs said step). (It's never quite explained why the two dead guys decided to arrange a photo purchase at 28,000' above sea level.) One of the heros dies heroically as the sneering German villian is about to kill them all, then two of them climb over the summit and down the south side, and the others descend north only to encounter - more Nazis! Who are conveniently killed by a real yeti, after which the protagonist escapes, gives the photos to Churchill, saves England from German invasion in WW2, etc., etc. Truly epic stuff, although I was skimming like mad for the last 500 pages or so just to get through all of it.

Read it if you like mountaineering history, and have a high capacity for boredom and/or mad speedreading skills.
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
cybrhikr
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby cybrhikr » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:43 pm

The Kings's Deception by Steve Berry. Very good,hard to put down.
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Hungry Jack
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Hungry Jack » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:07 pm

What has that Dan Simmons fellow been smoking?
I need more dehydrogenase.
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Jim Davies
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby Jim Davies » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:15 pm

He does live in Colorado. :)
Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop. -- Chris Darwin
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gb
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby gb » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:42 pm

"The Mountain" by Ed Viesturs. Most of the way through it, lots of Everest history plus Viesturs' experiences on it. Great book if you're an Everest junkie or if you've never read a single book on Everest.

Edit to add: Book review if you're interested: http://14erskiers.com/blog/2013/12/book-review-the-mountain/
Last edited by gb on Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
BB_ME
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Re: What are you reading?

Postby BB_ME » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:11 pm

"Goedel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid," by Douglas R. Hofstadter. Loosely about the nature of consciousness, I've been reading this fascinating, cute, difficult book for the last month. Parenthetically, do book reviewers actually read the tomes they review from cover to cover?

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