Tag Archives: Adventure

Forgotten

forgotten

Title: Forgotten: A Novel

Author: Catherine McKenzie

Publisher: William Morrow, An imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2012

Summary/Review: Emma Tupper’s mother passed away and leaves her a round trip ticket to Africa. Emma promised her dying mother that she would take the trip and not return for one month. However, Emma is a dedicated lawyer with a bright future at a big city law firm. Taking this trip means she will have to forfeit her partnership with the firm. When Emma’s boyfriend Craig offers to go with her on the trip, she tells him she wants to do this by herself so she can think about where her life is headed.

Emma becomes ill while on the tour in Africa. She is transported to a medical center to be cared for. While she is recovering, a massive earthquake occurs in Africa which leaves them without communication and transportation for several months. Because Emma’s illness was never reported to her tour guide company, her last known location was in the city of the earthquake, therefore, she was presumed dead.

Six months later, Emma returns home to London. She soon realizes that her friends, boyfriend, and colleagues thought she was dead, and that her life has moved on without her. She has no money, no job and no place to live. Read about Emma’s struggles to get her old life back and follow her on her most important journey of self-discovery. This book does not have a predictable ending. The question is….if you had a chance to start over, would you take it?

Who will like this book: Those who like fast-paced contemporary novels.

If you like this, try this: Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. Catherine Mackenzie also writes a number of other novels if you are a fan of the writing style.

Recommended by: Beverly, Circulation

If you would like to check if this book is available or place a hold, visit the Fairfield  Public Library catalog [Link will open in a new window]

The Next Thing on my List

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Title: The Next Thing on My List

Author: Jill Smolinski

Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books, Inc. 2007

Review/Summary: If you are looking for light-read with a good story, look no further than The Next Thing on My List.

Meet June Parker, single, in her mid-thirties, and the driver of the car that killed her passenger Marissa Jones. After the accident June discovers a list that Marissa made titled “20 Things to Do by My 25th Birthday”. In trying to figure out her own life, June decides to complete Melissa’s list for her. Some articles on the list, such as “go on a blind date” and “try boogie boarding” turn out to be total adventures. Other items, such as “run a 5K” and “pitch an idea at work” require more time and commitment. One of the most difficult challenges on the list is “change someone’s life”. As June becomes consumed with trying to change one life, she ends up changing several lives, including her own.

All in all, life shouldn’t be taken for granted. And yes, sometimes you have to step out of your comfort-zone to make something happen. This book is both inspirational and funny with characters you can relate to. After you finish reading it, you will want to start your own list.

Who will like this: Someone looking for a fun but thought provoking book.  Someone interested in starting their own list!

If you like this, try this:  If you’re into chick-lit, try anything by Elin Hilderbrand, who is known for her portrayal of women without being too fluffy,  or “Bright Side of Disaster” by Katherine Center, a funny and light-hearted but still fulfilling book about love and losing it.  If you like Jane Smolinski’s writing style, she has a number of other books both fiction and non-fiction.

If you’re interested in starting your own bucket list, there are a number of books out there about that on every subject- including a bucket list of books to read!

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation Assistant

If you think you’d like to read this, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check if it’s available and place a hold! [Link will open in a new window]

The Dog Stars

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Title: The Dog Stars

Author: Peter Heller

Publisher: Knopf, August 2012

Summary/Review: After a pandemic kills 99% of the population, a survivor tries to find some hope for the future.

Hig, along with his dog Jasper and fellow survivor Bangley, is living on a fortified compound in Colorado after a flu pandemic. Their safety is precarious and hinges on Hig’s piloting his 1956 Cessna to scout their area from the air, and Bangley’s uninhibited penchant for killing intruders. Though Bangley seems content with their situation, Hig can’t forget a radio transmission he heard 3 years ago coming from Grand Junction, and the hope that came with it. Hig must decide between his commitment to Bangley and the search for a better existence.

Powerful and beautifully written, Heller’s debut novel not only illustrates the horror and isolation that come with the near-annihilation of mankind, but the new bonds that are forged and the humanism that remains.

Who will like this book: Someone who is sick of reading zombie-pocalypse books and is looking for something a little deeper and more focused on human psychology. Fans of dystopias who are looking for something new.

If you like this, try this: If you would like to read more books about the apocalypse that aren’t centered around zombies, try “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson (the movie remake stars Will Smith). “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy (also made into a movie) is centered around global climate change. Both show the bonds humans form with either one another or the living things around them in hopes of survival. “The Pesthouse” by Jim Crace is more focused on the dark side of humanity and what people can do to out-survive one another- including slavery, thievery, and murder.

This is Peter Heller’s debut, so be on the lookout for more from this author- who is featured on Amazon and shares a picture of the real-life inspiration for Jasper!

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

If you would like to see if this book is available or place a hold, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog! [Link will open in a new window]

Don’t Ever Get Old

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Title: Don’t Ever Get Old

Author: Daniel Friedman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 2012

Summary/Review: “Old age is not for sissies”, “Old age isn’t so bad – when you consider the alternative”, (and the more optimistic) “every day I wake up on this side of the grass is a good one.” Aging is inevitable, and if you hit eighty seven with the sharp mind and wit of Baruch “Buck” Schatz, you’re doing fine.

Don’t Ever Get Old is Daniel Freedman’s debut novel about the cigarette smoking, gun toting, wickedly funny former police officer, Buck Schatz, who finds himself drawn into the hunt for a former Nazi war criminal and a fortune in gold. Buck is assisted by his grandson, Tequila, who has a lot to learn from his caustic grandfather. It’s easy to see the tough guy, take no prisoners cop that Buck used to be as he stalks his prey with the help of his more technologically savvy grandson, but Friedman never lets you forget that Buck is closing in on ninety and is facing the serious health and independence issues that old age brings. Rose, his wife of many years, is slowing down and there is the great fear that he will no longer be able to care for her at home. The issues that come with aging are never trivialized yet you know that Buck will definitely not be “going gentle into that good night.”

It would be great to see a Buck Schatz series, though given his age it might be a short one.

Who Will Like This: Anyone who likes a fast paced thriller, no matter how old the protaganist.

If you like this, Try this: I couldn’t help but think of Miss Marple, only a lot edgier, and packing a .357.

Recommended by: Sue D’Num, Library Assistant

Does Buck Schatz sound like your kind of guy?  If so, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to take a look at its availability and/or to place a hold [link will open in a new window]

Hiking Through

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Title: “Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail”

Author: Paul Stutzman

Publisher: Revell, A Division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan- 2012

Summary: All his life, Paul Stutzman dreamed of hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a hiking adventure of 2,176 miles. Paul was not looking to be a section hiker, hiking small sections of the trail at a time, but to experience the Appalachian Trail as a thru-hiker, doing the hike from start to finish continuously over an extended period of time. Like most people, Paul’s dream was put on hold by day to day life. The challenges of paying a mortgage, raising three children and paying college tuition, car payments and working full time along with his wife. Paul and his wife Mary looked forward to retiring together and doing all the things that they never had time to do while working full time and raising a family. Unfortunately, life threw them a curve ball, and Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer. After four years, Mary lost her battle with cancer. Paul is devastated and does not know how to pick up the pieces of his life and to work through his grief. His dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail now seems like a way for him to heal. But how can he quit his job of 25+ years in the food industry and pack up and leave for several months? He is torn between his own desire to pursue his dream and the guilt he feels by leaving everything behind. Paul takes us on his personal journey of a lifetime. He quits his job and spends 4 ½ months on the Appalachian Trail. Along the way he experiences the kindness of strangers and the friendship of several thru-hikers. It is truly an amazing story of strangers coming together to share one common goal and the challenges they face in their quest to fulfill their dream. It is a very unique bond that is formed out in the middle of the woods. Paul’s remarkable journey was about more than just hiking. In the book, he states “In one month, I had gained more insights on life than I had in many, many years past.” This book will make you laugh and make you cry. You can’t help but become a part of Paul’s journey and anticipate the challenges he faces each day spent on the trail. His writing will touch your heart. There are moments when he questions his own sanity of quitting his job and walking over 2,000 miles. His faith and his sense of humor were of great help along the way. There were days when he questioned his desire to stay on the trail and reach his goal at the top of Mount Katahdin, but he never gave up. Paul reminds all of us that we spend so much time preparing for the future that we neglect to enjoy the present. He said his experience on the Appalachian Trail changed his life. I loved this book! It is fun, it is inspiring, and it is one man’s choice to take that first courageous step. As a day hiker, this book even had me thinking about a thru-hike. It is an amazing story of change and healing, stepping out of one’s comfort zone and a little trail magic along the way.

To read his blog and see pictures of his hike, visit Paul Stutzman at www.hikingthrough.com

Who Will Like this? Anyone with an adventurous streak. Anyone with dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail (or any other hikes). Those who enjoy hiking, or just reading about it. Anyone looking for great inspiration or motivation to turn a dream into a reality. Anyone with a love of the outdoors.

If you like this, try this: “Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peak Bagging Adventure” by Patricia Ellis Herr, “A Walk In The Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail” by Bill Bryson, “In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at Age 60” by Leslie Mass, “Halfway To Heaven: My White Knuckled and Knuckleheaded Quest for the Rocky Mountain High” by Mark Obmascik.

Recommended by: Laura, Technical Services Department

Does this look like your kind of read?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to check if it’s available and to place a hold!

Crazy for the Storm

Title: Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival

Author: Norman Ollestad

Publisher: Ecco Press. May 2009

Summary: I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Granted, I am an extreme adventure reader junkie, but I was not expecting to be fascinated by the reckless yet charismatic parent of the author. The book opens with the 11-year old author “waking up” in a  plane that crashed in a blizzard twenty years ago. The chapters alternate between the how the young boy manages to survive the crash and how he got there – in large part due to his father. The writing is average but the stories of his childhood adventures with his daredevil father are not.

In one passage Ollestad describes his father’s ‘madness/passion’ :

“The cranium shelf rising off his forehead bumpy and uneven, the  cluster of diamonds in the blue of his eyes fragile cracked windows, and I  saw someone younger and full of grand ambitions and I thought about how he had wanted to be a professional basketball player. He looked at me as if into a mirror, studying me, like I was holding something that he admired, even desired.”

I was compelled to sit down for a long afternoon and just finish the tale.

Who will like this book?: If you enjoyed Krakauer’s tales, or are intrigued by the extreme adventures of the likes of Tori Murden McClure [who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean solo (and who is appearing at the Library on Mon. May 18 at 7 pm)] you will enjoy this book.

Recommended by: Karen, Deputy Town Librarian

A Pearl in the Storm

Title:   A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean

Author:   Tori Murden McClure

Publisher: Harper Collins, April 2009

Summary:  Sometimes when you start a book by a new author it is important to give the story a chance to win you over. This is one of those books.   I picked up this book because I had done some rowing in a former life. I also am fascinated by the idea of people doing extraordinary physical things that most armchair  “explorers”  can only dream of.

And true to form there are plenty of exciting moments where the reader holds their breath and cheers Tori on through some horrible storms including a hurricane. However, the most appealing quality of this book is the realistic way Tori reveals her story while she reflects upon the pivotal moments and people of her life as she rows across the Atlantic Ocean.  Each life is unique and Tori’s tale does not disappoint.  Her physical prowess is impressive to be sure however her humanity is even more so. She invites the reader to share her zig-zag road to contentment, or maybe even happiness.

Who will like this book:   Anyone who enjoys an adventure, a tale of extreme physical challenge or perhaps someone who is at a crossroads in their life.

If you like this, try this:  Books by Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux.

Recommended by:  Karen, Deputy Town Librarian

The White Mary

Title: The White Mary

Author: Kira Salak

Summary: After all the buzz about this book I thought I would have liked it much more than I did. The writing was very good and the descriptions of the jungle travel are very vivid, but the story was a bit too slow paced for me. I think it could be that I just didn’t care much for the main character. Although I didn’t personally like this book, it was very well written and I’m sure it will appeal to many others.

Marika is a journalist who covers human interest stories in war torn countries. She has narrowly escaped death several times but continues to travel alone to these dangerous regions. When she hears the news that her idol, fellow journalist Robert Lewis, has committed suicide, she decides to write his biography. During her research she comes across a letter written by a missionary who claims to have seen Robert Lewis in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Although she has settled down for the first time in her life while she writes Lewis’s biography, she cannot forget the letter and sets of to PNG to search for him. The novel follows Marika, called White Mary by the local people, through the jungle led by her guide Tobo, a witch doctor from a local village who does more to help Marika than just lead her on her quest. Tobo is by far my favorite character in this story.

Who will like this book?  Anyone who enjoys stories with strong characters and vivid descriptions about exotic, dangerous locations. Just remember to pack some bug spray, mosquito netting, and a big floppy hat because you’ll actually feel the bugs and the blistering sun while you’re reading.

Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator

So Brave, Young, and Handsome

Title: So Brave, Young, and Handsome

Author: Leif Enger

Summary:  It’s finally here! Leif Enger’s second book after his best-selling debut novel Peace Like a River.

In 1915 Minnesota, Monte Becket is an author struggling to write his second novel. Written on a whim, his first novel was a smashing success. Now Monte is starting to feel like he really only had one good book in him. When Monte befriends Glendon Hale, a fugitive outlaw, he gets the chance to live out a real adventure. Monte is encouraged by his wife Susannah to accompany Glendon on his journey to Mexico to find the wife he abruptly left so many years ago. Glendon is looking for forgiveness while Monte is looking for inspiration. Only when they are on their way to Mexico do they realize that Glendon’s sins of the past have not been forgotten and the two are being pursued by an ex-Pinkerton turned bounty hunter.

This is a story about relationships, loyalty, forgiveness, and the importance of taking risks to find out what kind of person you really are.

Who will like this book?  Anyone who enjoys old-time westerns or just a really nice story.

If you like this book, try this: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Recommended by:Sue, Circulation Coordinator

The Kid Who Climbed Everest

Title: The Kid Who Climbed Everest

Author: Bear Grylls

Summary: The author of this book, is the subject of the wildly popular Discovery Channel Series entitled “Man vs Wild.” Each week Bear is dropped off by helicopter to a horrifying part of the planet from where he must escape by using his impressive survival skills. Bear spent three years in the British Special Air Service and his latest triumph in May 2007 involved him flying a motorized paraglider over Mount Everest. I find the series really educational and thrilling and somehow satisfying as I watch from my comfortable armchair. Bear is articulate and shares his impressive knowledge of survival skills with the audience in an engaging way.

This book describes Bear’s climb of Mount Everest at the tender age of 23. (Most climbers wait until their thirties to attempt such a feat when they are fully mature in terms of attitude and physiology. ) On May 16, 1998 he became the youngest man and one of only thirty British climbers to summit. He informs the reader about the preparation for such a climb. Bear shares his challenges in funding such an adventure, his extensive training, and the requisite education about the tough environmental and climatological elements as well as the physiological needs of the human body to carry out such a feat.

After reading this book I felt I had a far better understanding of many facets of attempting and succeeding at such a climb. This information did not take away from the mounting excitement as Bear prepares for the ultimate climb. He shares his fears, his awe of the mountain, and his respect for his predecessors and team mates. Altogether an exciting and informative read.

If you like this, try this: Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Outside Magazine articles about individuals who push their limits.

Recommended by: Karen, Deputy Town Librarian