(Roughly) Daily

The heart beats faster…

As one settles into the post-Inauguration reality of the hard work of turning hope into reality, one’s thoughts might well occasionally take an escapist turn.

Here, with thanks to MK, NileGuide’s/Josh Steinitz’s list of the Top 50 Adventure Books of All Time:  “In no particular order, I propose my favorite reading list for inveterate travelers and adventure enthusiasts, regardless of whether that enthusiasm has its outlet by way of an armchair or an airplane…”

The first ten:

1. The Snow Leopard – Peter Mathiessen’s seminal work about a journey of (re)discovery to the remotest Himalayan region of Nepal
2. Wind, Sand and Stars – an ode to the golden years of flying and adventure by the author of The Little Prince
3. The Long Walk – an epic tale of escape from a Russian prison camp followed by a 2,000 mile walk to freedom (so unbelievable that some have questioned its authenticity)
4. Three Cups of Tea – everyone’s favorite book about a climber discovering his true calling by building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan
5. No Picnic on Mount Kenya – Italian POW’s reinvigorate their own humanity through adventure
6. A Soldier of the Great War – sure it’s fiction, but this story set in the Italian Alps of World War I can’t help but ignite the adventurous spirit within all of us
7. Seven Years in Tibet – the book is better than the movie (duh)
8. The Climb – get the perspective of one of the real heroes of the 1996 Everest disaster, the late Anatoli Bourkreev
9. Into the Wild – while the movie was good, the book was better still. Krakauer weaves in his own personal dramas to add perspective
10. The Worst Journey in the World – this polar adventure fulfills the definition of “epic” in every sense of the word

In the original, all fifty are replete with links…  and all eminently worthy of a wistful read.

As we fasten our seat belts, we might remark that sometimes adventure pays:  it was on this date in 1905 that the largest diamond ever found was unearthed at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa.  Frederick Wells discovered a 3,106-carat diamond (which weighed 1.33 pounds) during a routine inspection. The”Cullinan,” as it was named, after the owner of the mine, was ultimately given to King Edward VII, and was cut.  The resulting stones include the Star of Africa, a 530 carat stone– the largest fine-quality colorless cut diamond in the world, mounted in the British Sovereign’s Royal Scepter– and the 371 carat Star of Africa II, mounted in the Imperial State Crown. Both are on view at the Tower of London.

The Star of Africa, the largest of nine stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond

Written by (Roughly) Daily

January 25, 2009 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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