Best Selling Books in Biographies & Memoirs - Travel

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release date: Mar 07, 2017
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The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own. 

New York Times bestseller

In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
release date: Mar 07, 2017
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South and West: From a Notebook
From the best-selling author of the National Book Award-winning The Year of Magical Thinking: two extended excerpts from her never-before-seen notebooks--writings that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of a legendary writer.

Joan Didion has always kept notebooks: of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles--and here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies' brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters' Convention. She writes about the stifling heat, the almost viscous pace of life, the sulfurous light, and the preoccupation with race, class, and heritage she finds in the small towns they pass through. And from a different notebook: the "California Notes" that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Here, too, is the beginning of her thinking about the West, its landscape, the western women who were heroic for her, and her own lineage, all of which would appear later in her acclaimed 2003 book, Where I Was From.

 
One of TIME’s most anticipated books of 2017
 
One of The New York Times Book Review's “What You’ll Be Reading in 2017”

Incldued among the Best Books of March 2017 by both LitHub and Signature
 

 
release date: Jun 02, 2015
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A Long Way Home: A Memoir
First it was a media sensation. Then it became the #1 international bestseller A Long Way Home. Now it’s Lion, the major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara—nominated for six Academy Awards!

This is the miraculous and triumphant story of Saroo Brierley, a young man who used Google Earth to rediscover his childhood life and home in an incredible journey from India to Australia and back again...


At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

A Long Way Home 
is a moving, poignant, and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: hope.
release date: Aug 29, 2017
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Taking Aim: Daring to Be Different, Happier, and Healthier in the Great Outdoors
A world-famous bow hunter who defies the stereotype that hunting is a man's game, Eva Shockey is a real-life Katniss Everdeen--a TV and social media star at the forefront of a new wave of women and girls in outdoor sports.
     Eva Shockey grew up aspiring to be a dancer, like her glamorous mother. But something about spending family vacations RV-ing across North America and going on hunts with her dad sparked in her an unduring passion for a different way of life.
     In Taking Aim, Eva tells a very personal story of choosing the less-traveled path to a rewarding life in outdoor pursuits like hunting and fishing. For her, as the millions of fans who follow her life on TV and on social media can attest, that has meant hunting as a way of harvesting food, caring deeply about sustainability and healthy eating, and getting closer to God in nature.
     In this riveting memoir for the adventurer in all of us, Eva takes us along for the ride as she scales rugged mountains in Alaska, tracks 1,500-pound bull moose through unforgiving Yukon terrain, and meets the many challenges of a life in the outdoors. Along the way we learn that hunting is about so much more than letting an arrow fly or pulling a trigger.
     Whether you're a lifelong hunter or a city dweller who has never set foot in the wilderness, Eva's story offers a timeless, empowering message about rejecting stereotypes and expectations, believing in yourself, and finding the courage to pursue your own unique dream.
release date: Jan 20, 1997
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Into the Wild
In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.  How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir.  In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his  cash.  He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented.  Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away.  Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Jon Krakauer constructs a clarifying prism through which he reassembles the disquieting facts of McCandless's short life.  Admitting an interst that borders on obsession, he searches for the clues to the dries and desires that propelled McCandless.  Digging deeply, he takes an inherently compelling mystery and unravels the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

When McCandless's innocent mistakes turn out to be irreversible and fatal, he becomes the stuff of tabloid headlines and is dismissed for his naiveté, pretensions, and hubris.  He is said  to have had a death wish but wanting to die is a very different thing from being compelled to look over the edge. Krakauer brings McCandless's uncompromising pilgrimage out of the shadows, and the peril, adversity , and renunciation sought by this enigmatic young man are illuminated with a rare understanding--and not an ounce of sentimentality. Mesmerizing, heartbreaking, Into the Wild is a tour de force. The power and luminosity of Jon Krakauer's stoytelling blaze through every page.
release date: Mar 26, 2013
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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE


One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, The Boston GlobeEntertainment Weekly, Vogue, St. Louis Dispatch 

release date: Apr 25, 2006
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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

One of the most important and influential books written in the past half-century, Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a powerful, moving, and penetrating examination of how we live . . . and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better. Here is the book that transformed a generation: an unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America's Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. A story of love and fear -- of growth, discovery, and acceptance -- that becomes a profound personal and philosophical odyssey into life's fundamental questions, this uniquely exhilarating modern classic is both touching and transcendent, resonant with the myriad confusions of existence . . . and the small, essential triumphs that propel us forward.

release date: Mar 07, 2017
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Never Quit: From Alaskan Wilderness Rescues to Afghanistan Firefights as an Elite Special Ops PJ

“That Others May Live” is a mantra that defines the fearless men of Alaska’s 212th Pararescue Unit, the PJs, one of the most elite military forces on the planet. Whether they are rescuing citizens injured and freezing in the Alaskan wilderness or saving wounded Rangers and SEALS in blazing firefights at war, the PJs are the least known and most highly trained of America’s warriors.

Never Quit is the true story of how Jimmy Settle, an Alaskan shoe store clerk, became a Special Forces Operator and war hero. After being shot in the head during a dangerous high mountain operation in the rugged Watapur Valley in Afghanistan, Jimmy returns to battle with his teammates for a heroic rescue, the bullet fragments stitched over and still in his skull. In a cross between a suicide rescue mission and an against-all-odds mountain battle, his team of PJs risk their lives again in an epic firefight. When his helicopter is hit and begins leaking fuel, Jimmy finds himself in the worst possible position as a rescue specialist―forced to leave members from his own team behind. Jimmy will have to risk everything to get back into the battle and bring back his brothers.

From death-defying Alaskan wilderness training, wild rescues, and vicious battles against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, this is an explosive special operations memoir unlike any that has come before, and the true story of a man from humble beginnings who became an American hero.

release date: Oct 03, 2017
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From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

The best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with “dignity.”

Fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for their dead. In rural Indonesia, she observes a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body. Grandpa’s mummy has lived in the family home for two years, where the family has maintained a warm and respectful relationship. She meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette- smoking, wish- granting human skulls), and introduces us to a Japanese kotsuage, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved- ones’ bones from cremation ashes. With curiosity and morbid humor, Doughty encounters vividly decomposed bodies and participates in compelling, powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in America. Featuring Gorey-esque illustrations by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity introduces death-care innovators researching green burial and body composting, explores new spaces for mourning― including a glowing- Buddha columbarium in Japan and America’s only open-air pyre― and reveals unexpected new possibilities for our own death rituals. 45 illustrations
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release date: Mar 29, 2011
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Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
The astonishing national bestseller and hugely entertaining story that completely changed the way we run.

An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
 
Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.
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