From TREASURE ISLAND to ROBINSON CRUSOE to AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, adventure stories have always captivated readers—myself included. It’s incredibly thrilling to put yourself in the hands of a skilled writer and journey off into the unknown. If you’re looking for a new adventure to embark on, here are 9 novels I highly recommend.
WEST is a spellbinding and gorgeously written epic-in-miniature. When a mule breeder, Cy Bellman, reads in the newspaper that colossal ancient bones have been discovered in the salty Kentucky mud, he sets out from his small Pennsylvania farm to see for himself if the rumors are true: that the giant monsters are still alive and roam the uncharted wilderness beyond the Mississippi River. Promising to write and to return in two years, he heads west, leaving behind his only daughter, Bess, to the tender mercies of his taciturn sister.
In his prime, Edward Bloom was an extraordinary man. But now Edward is dying, and William wants desperately to know the truth about his elusive father—an indefatigable teller of tall tales—before it's too late. So, using the few facts he knows, William re-creates Edward's life in a series of legends and myth, through which he begins to understand his father's great feats, and his great failings.
First published in 1968 and the basis for the 2010 movie adaptation (directed by the Coen brothers and starring Jeff Bridges), TRUE GRIT is the story of Mattie Ross, who is just 14 years old when a coward by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and his money. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father, no matter the risk. From a writer of true cult status, TRUE GRIT is eccentric, cool, and unflinching.
Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium—with her three children and nanny in tow—to study art. It is a chance for this adventurous woman to start over. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and they retire to a quiet artists' colony in France to recuperate. There Fanny meets the lively Robert Louis Stevenson and takes up a fierce love affair that unfolds into an unpredictable adventure around the globe.
A ship sinks and 16-year-old Pi finds himself in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. THE LIFE OF PI is a mesmerizing tale that keeps you guessing long after you turn the last page.
A ship sinks and sixteen year old Pi finds himself in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. A mesmerizing tale that keeps you guessing long after you turn the last page
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd is offered a 50-dollar gold piece to deliver Johanna, a 10-year-old orphan, to her relatives in San Antonio. In the four years since her parents were killed by a band of Kiowa raiders, Johanna has come to call the Kiowa her family. Arriving in San Antonio after a 400-mile journey back to relatives Johanna doesn't remember, Captain Kidd is forced to make a choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become a kidnapper himself.
On Amy’s wish list
As a lover of American history, thanks in large part to watching the nine VHS tapes of Ken Burns’s “Civil War” over and over again, I would love to get this novel for Christmas. This post-civil war fiction takes place in Texas and follows a surly aging Captain as he escorts a rebellious young girl back to her family. It sounds like the unlikely but heartwarming match ups in PAPER MOON and TRUE GRIT, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Atmospheric and transporting, TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD is the story of decorated war hero Colonel Allen Forrester as he leads an expedition that has been deemed impossible: to venture up the Wolverine River and pierce the vast, untamed Alaska Territory. As they map the territory and gather information on the native tribes, the colonel and his men discover the blurred lines between human and wild animal, the living and the dead.
Talk about an adventure gone wrong. . . What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Maine wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare. A freak accident leaves four women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. THE RIVER AT NIGHT charts their journey as they fight to survive, and as long buried secrets emerge and allegiances are put to the test.
A poignant odyssey, THE WHICH WAY TREE is the story of a tenacious young girl who braves the dangers of the Texas frontier to avenger her mother's death. In her quest, Samantha enlists a charismatic Tejano outlaw and a haunted, compassionate preacher with an aging but relentless tracking dog. As the members of this unlikely posse hunt the panther, they are in turn pursued by a hapless but sadistic Confederate soldier with troubled family ties to the preacher and a score to settle.