Mountains for Christmas: suggested readings for outdoor lovers

To bring adventures directly on your couch, a list of books that will inspire and fascinate you during these Christmas holidays. Allowing you to travel from the Yosemite Valley to Iceland, at least with your imagination.

Mountains for Christmas: suggested readings for outdoor lovers

Wilderness Essays
by John Muir

Part of John Muir's appeal to modern readers is that he not only explored the American West and wrote about its beauties but also fought for their preservation. His successes dot the landscape and are evident in all the natural features that bear his name: forests, lakes, trails, and glaciers. Here collected are some of Muir's finest wilderness essays, ranging in subject matter from Alaska to Yellowstone, from Oregon to the High Sierra.

This book is part of a series that celebrates the tradition of literary naturalists―writers who embrace the natural world as the setting for some of our most euphoric and serious experiences. These books map the intimate connections between the human and the natural world. Literary naturalists transcend political boundaries, social concerns, and historical milieus; they speak for what Henry Beston called the “other nations” of the planet. Their message acquires more weight and urgency as wild places become increasingly scarce.

 

In Praise of Paths: Walking Through Time and Nature
by Torbjørn Ekelund

An ode to paths and the journeys we take through nature, as told by a gifted writer who stopped driving and rediscovered the joys of traveling by foot.

Torbjørn Ekelund started to walk--everywhere--after an epilepsy diagnosis affected his ability to drive. The more he ventured out, the more he came to love the act of walking, and interest in paths emerged. In this poignant, meandering book, Ekelund interweaves the literature and history of paths with his own stories from the trail. As he walks with shoes on and barefoot, through forest creeks and across urban streets, he contemplates the early tracks made by ancient snails and traces the wanderings of Romantic poets, amongst other musings. If we still "understand ourselves in relation to the landscape," Ekelund asks, then what do we lose in an era of car travel and navigation apps? And what will we gain from taking to paths once again?

 

 

Mountains of the Mind
by Robert Macfarlane

With Mountains of the Mind Macfarlane interweaves accounts of his own adventurous ascents with those of pioneers such as George Mallory, and in with an erudite discussion of how mountains became such a preoccupation for the modern western imagination.

Why are we so obsessed with climbing mountains? Just three centuries ago, mountains and wild landscapes were revered but not seen as something to be conquered; now, each year, more than 350,000 people flock to the summit of Snowdon.

Macfarlane’s modern classic charts the cultural revolution in our attitude to high places. The route from sacred to awesome challenge is related through a colourful cast of mountaineers who have pushed into extreme terrain over the past few centuries. While the scientists, explorers, poets and climbers may set out with different goals, their mindset is broadly similar: from Coleridge to Mallory, each character is driven by a blend of curiosity, compulsion and the ability to tolerate extreme suffering.

 

On Time and Water
by Andri Snær Magnason

In the next hundred years, the nature of water on Earth will undergo a fundamental change. Glaciers will melt, the level of the sea will rise, and its acidity will change more than it has in the past 50 million years. These changes will affect all life on earth, everyone that we know, and everyone that we love. It is more complex than the mind can comprehend, greater than all of our past experience, bigger than language. What words can grasp an issue of this magnitude?

In an attempt to capture this vast issue, Icelandic author and activist Andri Snær Magnason takes both a personal and a scientific approach―weaving his way through climate science via ancient legends about sacred cows, stories of ancestors and relatives, and interviews with the Dalai Lama. The resulting narrative is at once a travel story, a world history, and a reminder to live in harmony with future generations

 

To Shake the Sleeping Self
By Jedidiah Jenkins

On the eve of turning thirty, terrified of being funneled into a life he didn’t choose, Jedidiah Jenkins quit his dream job and spent sixteen months cycling from Oregon to Patagonia. He chronicled the trip on Instagram, where his photos and reflections drew hundreds of thousands of followers, all gathered around the question: What makes a life worth living?

In this unflinchingly honest memoir, Jed narrates his adventure—the people and places he encountered on his way to the bottom of the world—as well as the internal journey that started it all. As he traverses cities, mountains, and inner boundaries, Jenkins grapples with the question of what it means to be an adult, his struggle to reconcile his sexual identity with his conservative Christian upbringing, and his belief in travel as a way to wake us up to life back home.

A soul-stirring read for the wanderer in each of us, To Shake the Sleeping Self is an unforgettable reflection on adventure, identity, and a life lived without regret