Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Where You’ll Find Me: Risk, Decisions, and the Last Climb of Kate Matrosova, by Ty Gagne

June 18, 2021


I attended our library program by Ty Gagne talking about his most recent book: The Last Traverse: Tragedy and Resilience in the Winter Whites,” and, wow. Gagne is an excellent speaker who brings you right inside the real stories he writes about. If you live in New Hampshire and/or if you are a hiker, then the phrase “Winter Whites” gives you a shiver of fear or a real sense of danger.

I’ve been meaning to read Gagne’s first book about a hiker’s deadly experience hiking the Northern Presidential Range in the winter so I picked it up right after the program. A tragedy like this is compelling for the archetypal human vs. nature struggle but Gagne adds the element of risk assessment and decision-making under extreme conditions. Fascinating.

I’m looking forward to reading The Last Traverse. From the library program, I know that the Mountain Rescue Service and other brave men and women play an even larger role in this book and I want to know more.

In our catalog:
Where You’ll Find Me
The Last Traverse

Other books you might like:
Not Without Peril
Critical Hours

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

September 24, 2019


I love books that introduce a new perspective to familiar stories. Two of my favorites include “Longbourn” by Jo Baker, which tells the story of “Pride and Prejudice” from the perspective of one of the Bennett’s maids, and “The Mists of Avalon” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, which tells the story of the King Arthur legends from the perspective of Morgaine. These alternative perspectives, often told by characters who are marginalized within the worlds they inhabit, always stay with me when I think of the originals.

“Washington Black” brings a valuable, alternative take to the Jules Verne, “Around the World in 80 Days” type of adventure novel. The story is told by Washington Black, an 11 year old enslaved boy born onto a plantation in Barbados in the early 1800s. Washington’s life is changed forever when Titch, the eccentric younger brother of the brutal plantation owner, decides to take Washington with him (because Wash is the right size and weight) to build and launch his experimental flying craft (basically a hot air balloon). We get to travel the world through Wash’s eyes – the US, Canada, the Arctic, London, Amsterdam and Morocco. While we experience his delight and wonder in the natural world as his interest in marine biology and his talent as a nature illustrator grow, we are always aware of his terror and isolation wherever they go, particularly after Titch’s brother puts a bounty on his recapture. The inability of the other characters, most painfully Titch, to recognize the devastating impact of slavery on Wash, and the terrifying vulnerability of his position in the world, is powerful. This was a fascinating and engaging read.

Washington Black can be found on Libby/Overdrive.