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Another List of Books that make Great Presents

 

Last year I wrote a list of Travel books that make great presents (to supplement my Compulsory Adventure Reading List). As we approach the festive season I thought I’d offer some more ideas to help you buy your loved ones thoughtful, less-than-obvious gifts.

For no particular reason I’ve compiled them in pairs this year. Please do let me know your thoughts in the comments, or give a shout out for any other good ideas.

You can see them in the video here, or written down below the video.

If they like tales of polar adventure

Mawson’s Will is “the greatest polar survival story ever written”. Less famous than Scott or Shackleton, but an awe-inspiring tale of ingenuity and unbreakable spirit.

South is a slim book of poetry about Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. A quirky choice for the polar aficionado.

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If they like tales of adventure

I’ve picked two paddling books here, though they’ll appeal to anyone who enjoys rip-roaring adventures and the crazy characters you find pitting their wits against the world’s wild places.

Both Running the Amazon and Voyageur are beautifully written, nail-biting and inspiring.
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If they like tales of climbing

No Picnic on Mount Kenya tells the wonderful wartime tale of three Italian prisoners of war who escaped, climbed Mount Kenya, and then broke back into their prison camp. It’s not particularly well-written, but it’s a marvellous story. Feeding the Rat tells of less glamorous climbs, but is better written. It explores the motivation of what inspires people to climb, to challenge themselves, to take risks.

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If they like the environment

Two well-written challenging views of the landscape and how it should best be managed. The books espouse very different solutions so are interesting to read as a pair. I really enjoyed both books, and they have changed the way I view our landscapes.

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If they like adventure to be well-designed and well-written

Two beautiful magazines here. The Ride Journal is an illustrated magazine with excellent writing about the many different ways people love to cycle. Sidetracked tells tales of wider adventures, accompanied by beautiful photography.

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If they like tales of sport

The Boys in the Boat is a superb true story about the American rowing crew who competed at the 1936 Olympics – Hitler’s Olympics. The Rider is the best book I have read about what it feels like to compete in a cycling race.

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If they are self-employed or trying to master online story-telling

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is the book I recommend to everyone who is trying to figure out how to use their social media profiles more effectively. Anything you Want is a refreshing, charming, inspiring read for entrepreneurs or people ploughing their own furrow.

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If they like Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge is back, charting “one man’s attempt to recreate a deeply personal journey made by his father some forty years ago.” It’s a marvellous piss-take of much of the adventuring world, close to the bone for many of us who try to turn the act of having fun trips into a real job… I thought I’d best not pair this book with any other!

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HOPEFULLY THAT HAS SORTED YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING OUT FOR YOU!

If not, I’ve listed lots of other essential books to read here.

And, finally, if you’re still reading, I hope you don’t mind me suggesting these books as options that merit considering.

GRAND ADVENTURES

Grand Adventures

  • WHAT IS IT?

If you are yearning for a big adventure but don’t know where to start or what to do. If you think that only rich, young, fit people with lots of spare time and sponsors can go on big adventures.

  • WHO TO BUY IT FOR

Experienced travellers and armchair adventurers. The person dreaming of their first big adventure. Last year was a Microadventure, this year it’s a Grand Adventure.

MICROADVENTURES

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  • WHAT IS IT?

If you are too busy, too stressed, too broke, too tired or too unfit for an adventure, then you definitely would benefit from a microadventure. Climb a hill, jump in a river, sleep under the stars.

  • WHO TO BUY IT FOR

Hikers, bikers, campers, families, students, bored city folk who need a kick up the backside.

THE BOY WHO BIKED THE WORLD

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  • WHAT IS IT?

The story of my own 4-year journey round the world by bike, told through the eyes of Tom, a boy who somehow gets permission from his Mum and Dad to cycle round the world all by himself!

  • WHO TO BUY IT FOR

Children between the ages of 5 and 11 who like cycling, adventure or learning about the world.

THERE ARE OTHER RIVERS

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  • WHAT IS IT?

It’s sort of the story of my 600-mile walk across southern India. But mostly it’s a book about why people travel.

  • WHO TO BUY IT FOR

Travellers, hippies, people dreaming of adventure, restless folk searching for something in life.

MOODS OF FUTURE JOYS

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  • WHAT IS IT?

My first book. The story of me deciding to set off round the world and cycling to South Africa. It was originally self-published and it’s noticeable that there was no editing team involved in the book. But at least that means that it is true, raw, real, and me.

  • WHO TO BUY IT FOR

Travellers, cyclists, those dreaming of big bike trips, young people trying to figure out their direction in life.

Read Comments

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Comments

  1. Any good suggestions for kids outdoor/adventure books (other than Swallows and Amazons…) mine are 2 and 4 but I also have various godchildren ranging from 3 to 10 to buy for as well! What do your kids enjoy?

    Reply
  2. Alberto Farber Posted

    Take a look on these Guys, Amyr Klink “http://www.amyrklink.com.br/” and Guilherme Cavallari, both with great stories and wonderfull adventures, but the books are on portuguese, it will be a good exercise to you!!

    Reply
  3. +1 for Al Alvarez’s excellent Feeding The Rat (and all the books written by the other, more talented, Al on the list).

    Reply
  4. Ahhh such good timing, this has actually helped me with two gifts (and one for myself! ) Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Arctic Dreams (Barry Lopez)

    Reply
  6. Erik Scollay Posted

    Great list – thank you! Could I suggest the beautiful “May the Fire be Always Lit: A Biography of Jock Nimlin” by Ian Thomson (there’s a Kindle version). It’s a fantastic story about working – class climbing in Scotland in the 1920s and 30s. Walking to the hills on a Friday night, sleeping in caves then making it back for Monday morning; it’s a great, little known book.

    Reply

 
 

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