Today is World Book Day and a seemingly fitting opportunity for us to share a few of Consensio’s favourite reads. The creme of the crop; these top three picks are inspiring tales that capture the often fatal and ominous allure of the mountain. Emphasising our innate capacity to endure pain when faced with survival. Telling of courageous human experiences in life or death situations, they are stories which reveal the strength and determination of the human spirit. Also serving as a powerful reminder of our helplessness in the hands of mother nature.

 

1. INTO THIN AIR

Originally published: 1997

Author: Jon Krakauer

Genre: Non-fiction

Awards: New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

Jon Krakauer is a mountain climber and author. In 1996 Krakauer he joined a summit climb to research an article about the commercialisation of Everest. Yet in the tragic events that unfolded, Krakauer’s article evolved into personal reflection on one the most fatal Everest expeditions in history. His controversial story details the decisions and conditions leading to catastrophic outcome of the climb. He alleges that the competitive rivalry to summit between guide agencies, sometimes led to the compromise of essential safety methods. Extensively researched, Krakauer has interviewed all survivors of the expedition and reflects on his own survivors guilt. Undeterred from detailing the events of the climb- be they heroic, selfish or tragic- his story is definitely worth a read.

 

2. TOUCHING THE VOID

Originally published: 1988

Author: Joe Simpson

Genre: Biography

Awards: NCR Book Award

When two climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates are struck by disaster during a summit climb in the Peruvian Andes, a gruelling story of survival prevails. After reaching a 21,000-foot peak, Simpson falls from an ice ledge breaking his leg. Still attached to Yates, Simpson is left dangling on a rope in the darkness. As a storm descends and a blizzard rages, Yates is forced to cut the rope or face being pulled to his own death.

This story is epic, unveiling the torment both men endure in making it off the mountain alive. With the making of anyones worst nightmare, it is the ultimate depiction of human survival and a poignant testament to unshakable courage and friendship.

 

3. JUST DON’T FALL

Author: Josh Sundquist

Genre: Biography

Originally published: May 3, 2010

At the young age of nine, Josh Sunquist was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – an aggressive cancer that resulted in the loss of his leg. With his whole life ahead of him, Josh is confronted with the overwhelming challenge of rediscovering how to use his body and live a life without his limb. From one hospital to the next, Josh walks you through his exhausting road to recovery, talking of his personal turmoil and the strain on his family. Then in one pivotal moment he finds himself upon a mountain facing down a run and attempts the first of many skis.

This book conjures up so many emotions. It is an inspirational tear jerker that leaves you in awe of Josh’s accomplishment as a Paralympian. His determination is something you wish you could bottle and his courage is something you could only hope to possess somewhere deep within. This a must read for those gloomy days when you need a reminder that life is what you make it.

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