Best Adventure Books To Give As Holiday Gifts

©istockphoto/gubernat

For Adven­tur­ous Young Women
Con­sid­er Beryl Markham’s West With The Night. “A bloody won­der­ful book,” said Ernest Hem­ing­way. First pub­lished in 1942, this adven­ture epic is still a clas­sic for good reason—in Markham’s mem­oir, she chron­i­cles her expe­ri­ences grow­ing up in Kenya (then called British East Africa) in the ear­ly 1900s, which led to her career as an African bush pilot. It’s all there: she tells sto­ries of being mauled by a lion, fly­ing over the Serengeti, and search­ing for the downed plane of her lover. She lat­er became the first woman to fly over the Atlantic from east to west in a solo non­stop flight. “I have lift­ed my plane from the Nairo­bi air­port for per­haps a thou­sand flights,” said Hem­ing­way in praise of the text. “I have nev­er felt her wheels glide from the earth into the air with­out know­ing the uncer­tain­ty and the exhil­a­ra­tion of first­born adventure.”

For Ocean Enthusiasts
Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki begins like this: “Just occa­sion­al­ly you find your­self in an odd sit­u­a­tion. You get into it by degrees and in the most nat­ur­al way but, when you are right in the mist of it, you are sud­den­ly aston­ished and ask your­self how in the world it all came about.”

First pub­lished in 1950, Kon-Tiki is Heyerdahl’s account of his 1947 mis­sion to prove that the South Pacif­ic could have been pop­u­lat­ed by natives of Peru. After set­ting out on a bal­sa raft with five Nor­we­gians and a talk­a­tive par­rot, his team sur­vives shark attacks, a beach­ing in Tahi­ti, and the doubt of his­to­ri­ans world­wide. Though the trip proved incon­clu­sive, the team survived—and guar­an­teed them­selves a sol­id place in his­to­ry books worldwide.

For Fans of the Amer­i­can Southwest
Edward Abbey’s Desert Soli­taire is based on his time as a park ranger at the Arch­es Nation­al Mon­u­ment in the late 1950’s. Often com­pared to Thoreau’s Walden and Aldo Leopold’s A Sand Coun­ty Almanac, the text is a ver­i­ta­ble bible about the Col­orado Plateau region of the south­west­ern Unit­ed States. There are first­hand accounts of wilder­ness explo­ration and riv­er run­ning, vivid descrip­tions of the flo­ra, fau­na, geol­o­gy, and human inhab­i­tants of the area, and med­i­ta­tions on tourism in nation­al parks. “I dream of a hard and bru­tal mys­ti­cism in which the naked self emerges with a non-human world and yet some­how sur­vives still intact, indi­vid­ual, sep­a­rate. Para­dox and bedrock.”

For Bud­ding Photographers
Pick up a hard­back copy of Unex­pect­ed: 30 Years of Patag­o­nia Cat­a­log Pho­tog­ra­phy. Patag­o­nia has tra­di­tion­al­ly devot­ed more than half of their catalog’s pages to edi­to­r­i­al con­tent, which was unique and—according to some—revolutionary among com­pa­nies the out­door indus­try. Since 1980, the com­pa­ny has invit­ed their cus­tomers, ambas­sadors, and employ­ees to sub­mit their best and most unex­pect­ed pho­tos of life out­doors: “…of alpine climb­ing, boul­der­ing in the desert, ski­ing untracked bowls, surf­ing secret spots, ocean cross­ings, first kayak descents, and trav­el in unfa­mil­iar places.” This com­pendi­um, pub­lished by Patag­o­nia, high­lights 100+ of the most com­pelling pho­tos they’ve ever published—and it’s bound to inspire all the pho­tog­ra­phers in your life.

hltkfblnvss-mvp