(This ties into China, people! Just by fact of geography:))
I've been reading lately... reading a lot. I've loved to read ever since I was old enough TO read, but while I was intensively studying Chinese for almost a year and a half at a really strict school, my recreational reading of English books was put on hold. Since I've been in China, I feel like I've been trying to make up for lost time, because reading has again become one of my favorite hobbies!
Now, I know I've mentioned in the past that I am a complete girly girl - and while I love the great outdoors, I mostly prefer to look at it from the beautiful window of a plush hotel... so, you can imagine, I'm really not into mountain climbing. In fact, I have no desire to do it, and I've never really climbed any sort of real mountain or have done anything I consider to be serious hiking.
This is precisely why its nothing short of amazing that I decided to pick up John Krakauer's non-fiction, eyewitness account of the 1996 Everest Disaster - something I admittedly only became aware of about a month or so ago when my husband was watching the movie on HBO. After someone mentioned it on a book message board I frequent, I began to research the event online and instantly became fascinated with the story. I also have the opportunity next year to go to Tibet and see Everest for myself, which I think played a role in why I picked up this book.
I read Into Thin Air last week, picked it up on Tuesday and finished by Thursday. When I wasn't reading, I was wondering what was happening on the mountain, and when I fell asleep, dreams about Everest plagued me for days. I "googled imaged" the different places Krakauer mentions in the book - I wanted a visual of what he was talking about.
The book, in short, is amazing... suspenseful... harrowing... tragic. Its completely mind boggling to imagine anyone can climb that mountain, just a few thousand feet below the altitude at which airplanes fly, let alone survive in those elements under extremely poor circumstances.
Pick this up. Trust me. I am traditionally a fiction girl, but occasionally read nonfiction when it's worth it... this, my friends, is worth it.
Its available here.