12 Days of CanLit: Adventure


Have you been avoiding your calendar, in denial about the shrinking number of shopping days before Christmas? The holiday season is upon us, and whether you're looking for gifts to set under a tree or around a menorah or just for some non-denominational seasonal giving (or reading!), we've got 12 days of book recommendations coming your way. With 12 different categories, we've got books for everyone from foodies to fiction addicts to sports buffs missing their beloved hockey this winter. On the eighth day of CanLit we bring you three thrilling reads for the armchair adventurer in your life. This list will take you mountain climbing, on a journey to the North Pole or on a trip through history. Adventure is out there!

Above All Things by Tanis Rideout

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Why read this book? Because it's there. Tanis Rideout's acclaimed debut novel is a fictionalized account of George Mallory's final, ill-fated attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1924. (Mallory gave that famous response to the question of why he needed to climb one of the highest peaks in the world: "Because it's there.") Rideout interweaves Mallory's harrowing tale of derring-do with the somewhat less thrilling, but no less moving, story of that same day in the life of Mallory's wife as she waits for news of her thrill-seeking husband. A great read for anyone who loves adventure, or loves someone who loves adventure.

Before publishing her first novel, Rideout was an award-winning poet, the winner of the CBC Poetry Prize in 2009. She answered a few questions from the Canada Writes team during National Poetry Month last spring.

The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen by Stephen R. Bown

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The definitive adventurer, Roald Amundsen was born in Norway in 1872 and grew up determined to beome a hero. His travels took him from the Arctic to the Antarctic, through the most remote locales on Earth. Amundsen was the first man to explore and map the Northwest Passage, the North Pole, the South Pole and the Northeast Passage. In this biography, historian Stephen R. Bown draws on extensive research to create a clear and often surprising portrait of a truly adventurous spirit.

Bown recently discussed Amundsen on The Homestretch in Calgary.

Astray by Emma Donoghue

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For our last adventure, we turn back to fiction — mostly. Room author Emma Donoghue has followed up her harrowing bestseller with a collection of stories based on true characters and events through history. Immigrants, elephant-keepers, cross-dressers and gold-seekers are among the characters that Donoghue brings to life.

Hear Donoghue speak with Shelagh Rogers about her previous book, the mesmerizing Room.

12 Days of CanLit