Thursday, December 2, 2010

What I'm Reading Now

K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
by Ed Viesturs

This book is a rare thing for me -- I am rereading a book! I will start by saying I am not a mountaineer. I'm not even a hiker. But I am discovering that my new favorite genre in non-fiction is mountaineering books. This book is about K2, the second highest mountain in the world (the first highest is Mt. Everest). Climbing on very tall mountains is hard work, and very dangerous. The air is very thin, making it difficult to breathe. Avalanches, sudden storms, and falls are a constant threat. Mountaineering books are real-life adventure stories.

This particular book is written to tell the mountaineering history of this mountain, which is one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb. Viesturs tells about expeditions in 1938, 1939, 1953, 1954, 1986, 1992, and 2008 -- seven of the most interesting years in K2's history. There are stories of heroic acts, survival, tragedy, beautiful scenery, amazing accomplishments, and of catty drama among teammates as they spend months together in tiny little tents. I highly recommend this book to all armchair mountaineers like myself, those of us who like reading adventure stories from the safety of our own homes.

I also want to suggest a Battle of the Books book that is a good read-along title. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Journey to Save the World...One Child at a Time by Greg Mortenson is also a non-fiction book. The book starts with Mr. Mortenson wandering around Pakistan, where he got lost after an attempt at climbing K2. The people of the small villiage of Korphe take him in, and he realizes that they have no school for their children. Mr. Mortenson devotes his life (and all of his money!) to building schools for the children of Korphe and other villiages around Pakistan and Afganistan. I am about 1/2 way through this book, and I have to say I feel inspired by Mortenson's altruism and his big heart. This is a great read for our celebration of Mulicultural Month here in the media center! We have multiple copies of Three Cups of Tea ...check it out today @your library.

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