What Book Are You Reading Now, Round 2.


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Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Mar 17, 2019 - 08:24am PT
Just finished Over the Edge by Greg Child. Excellent read and phenomenal backstory. I don't remember anything about the doubters or conspiracy theorists bouncing around. But I am not surprised that John Bouchard was one of those freakshows. They say first impressions mean a lot. I met this guy twice in the Mount Washington Valley (New Hampshire) in the early/mid 80's. First time I met him, I thought he needed a punch in the mouth. Second time I met him, I knew I was right.

Since I downloaded the Synnot book, The Impossible Climb, I'm all about reading the realized possible climb.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Mar 17, 2019 - 08:29am PT
I also read over the edge and thought it was well done. just finished Joe Fitch's Going up. Great read and I would love to have a sequel as his story obviously does no end when the book does.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 17, 2019 - 08:49am PT
May The Force be with you, the recent novel by Don Winslow about an NYPD special unit gone cowboy and a city gone crazy over a cop shooting incident and corruption in the blue ranks.😮

Stephen King suggests it is The Godfather of cop novels.

He's paid to say that, I'm not, but he's pretty close to the mark in his estimation. It's hard to imagine King telling a fib.😜

It's hard to put down, causes lack of sleep, latent Cathiolic traits surface, and I keep wanting to dip my hands in my chalk bag.😝

You should check it out.

I mean, literally: you shouldn't pay ten bucks for this, like me. It was an impulse buy on my part.

It's gotta be in the library system where you live.

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Apr 4, 2019 - 05:35am PT
Just finished the Synnot book, The Impossible Climb. Really good read. At first I got the sense that Synnot was being too flamboyant highlighting his own accomplishments. And while he may have been a bit over-the-top, it framed the ramp up to the Honnold solo quite well. I found it to be a very worthwhile read. And all climbers can relate to everything in the book, particularly if you've ever been on the Free Blast slab pitches.

Maybe my next book will be Sapiens... Still thinking on this.

Trad climber
Ontario, Canada
Apr 4, 2019 - 07:23am PT
Sapiens is a compelling read, wish I could remember half of it!
Just started The Impossible Climb and am quite enjoying it. Even my gf who typically only reads fiction likes it.

Apr 4, 2019 - 07:52am PT
"A Darkness Lit by Heroes"

It is the tale of the biggest hard rock mining accident in America. I have had many a cup of coffee with the author where I just listened and was pretty captivated by his stories of research and and all the work he put into it. Plus, I really dig(no pun intended) the history of Butte America.

Sport climber
Apr 4, 2019 - 11:35am PT

The Peregrine by John Alec Baker (1926 – 1987)

The Peregrine by John Alec Baker recounts a single year from October to April from the author's ten-year obsession with the peregrines that wintered near his home in Chelmsford, Essex in eastern England. The writing is lyrically charged, as the author's role of diligent observer gives way to a personal transformation, as Baker becomes, in the words of James Dickey, "a fusion of man and bird”

The story of The Peregrine’s writing is remarkable, and has a mystery at its heart. For around a decade – from 1954 to 1964 – a myopic office worker from Essex tracked the peregrine falcons that hunted over the landscape of his county. He pursued them on bicycle and on foot, watching through binoculars as they bathed, flew, stooped and roosted. He carried Ordnance Survey maps on which he marked in ballpoint pen the locations of his sightings, with circled capital letters – P, SH, HH, BO – recording raptors by species (M is for Merlin, K is for Kestrel).

He learned to predict the peregrines’ locations by means of an intelligence that began as logic and ended as instinct, and in a relationship that began as fascination and ended as obsession.
Even the savage winter of 1962–63 – when the sea froze for two miles out from the shore, and spear-length icicles hung from eaves and trees – didn’t deter Baker from his quest. After a day in the field, he would retreat to the spare room of his Chelmsford terrace house, and write up the details in journals that together run to more than 1,600 manuscript pages.

In the mid-1960s, he compressed those journals into a book fewer than 60,000 words long, and written in ecstatic, violent, enraptored prose. The journals were coal to The Peregrine’s diamond: crushed, they became the book. He collapsed 10 years into a single “season of hawk-hunting”, and “stripped” the narrative “down to the livid bone”, to borrow a phrase from one of his early poems. Instead of plot, he deployed pattern. The same actions recur across the book’s course: man pursues falcon, falcon pursues prey.

In the words of Baker: “I have always longed to be a part of the outward life, to be out there at the edge of things, to let the human taint wash away in emptiness and silence as the fox sloughs his smell into the unworldliness of water; to return to the town as a stranger”

Robert Mcfarlane writes that Baker’s Essex is "landscape on acid: super-saturations of colour, wheeling phantasmagoria, dimensions blown out and falling away, nature as hypernature.”

Violent spring: The nature book that predicted the future: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/15/the-peregrine-by-ja-baker-nature-writing

“Bar-tailed godwits flying with curlew, with knot, with plover; seldom alone, seldom settling; snuffling eccentrics; long-nosed, loud-calling sea-rejoicers; their call a snorting, sneezing, mewing, spitting bark. Their thin upcurved bills turn, their heads turn, their shoulders and whole bodies turn, their wings waggle. They flourish their rococo flight above the surging water. Screaming gulls corkscrewing high under cloud. Islands blazing with birds. A peregrine rising and falling. Godwits ricocheting across water, tumbling, towering. A peregrine following, swooping, clutching. Godwit and peregrine darting, dodging; stitching land and water with flickering shuttle. Godwit climbing, dwindling, tiny, gone: peregrine diving, perching, panting, beaten.”

“A day of endless wind and rain, which I wasted away in the lee of hollow trees, in sheds and barns, and under broken carts. I saw the hawk once, or thought I saw it, like a distant arrow flicking into a tree, blurred and distorted by the million shining prisms of the rain.
All day the unquenchable skylarks sang. Bullfinches lisped and piped through the orchards. Sometimes a little owl called lugubriously from its hollow tree. And that was all.”

“The hardest thing of all to see is what is really there. Books about birds show pictures of the peregrine, and the text is full of information. Large and isolated in the gleaming whiteness of the page, the hawk stares back at you, bold, statuesque, brightly coloured. But when you have shut the book, you will never see that bird again. Compared with the close and static image, the reality will seem dull and disappointing. The living bird will never be so large, so shiny-bright. It will be deep in landscape, and always sinking farther back, always at the point of being lost. Pictures are waxworks beside the passionate mobility of the living bird.”

“It is an effort to descend down the hand-holds of memory to the plain beneath, to recall the lost future, the dusk hovering above the sunken cities, the dim western world of fallen light and broken skies. My life is here, where soon the larks will sing again, and there is a hawk above. One wishes only to go forward, deeper into the summer land, journeying from lark-song to lark-song, passing through the dark realm of the owls, the fox-holdings, the badger-shires, out into the brilliant winter dominion, the sea-bleak world of the hawks.”

“East of home, the long ridge lies across the skyline like the low hull of a submarine. Above it, the eastern sky is bright with reflections of distant water, and there is a feeling of sails beyond land. Hill trees mass together in a dark-spired forest, but when i move towards them they slowly fan apart, the sky descends between, and they are solitary oaks and elms, each with its own wide territory of winter shadow. The calmness, the solitude of horizons lures me towards them, through them, and on to others. They layer the memory like strata.”
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Apr 4, 2019 - 08:46pm PT
Beautifully written about the Orcas of Prince William Sound during the Exxon Valdez oil spill.


Apr 5, 2019 - 01:07pm PT
Here is my reading list for this week:

Our Souls At Night - Kent Haruf
The Fallen - David Baldacci
The Affair - Lee Child
The 16th Seduction - James Patterson
The Long Walk Home - Will North
Building Business Solution - Ronald Ross

Now that the weekend is here, I'll probably have time for another.
Mike Honcho

Trad climber
Glenwood Springs, CO
Apr 6, 2019 - 08:09am PT
Reilly wrote,
Gunkie, let us know when you get through ALL of the Gulag. It gets rather repetitive. But then that rather fits the theme.
I just finished ALL 3 while working a contract job at the Eagle/Vail Sheriff's Dept. It gets a little slow at work sometimes. Crazy how that many millions of people just disappeared and next to nothing was ever said or done about it..

Now I'm onto this, "The Goats Of West Point"


Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Apr 6, 2019 - 10:06am PT
Crazy how that many millions of people just disappeared and next to nothing was ever said or done about it.

Whoa. You might learn about this in a cursory way in HS or college, unless you happen to be a Russian history scholar. But when you really think about it, geez, crazy is an understatement.

I think I'll go mini-trax some 5.7 pitch now :)

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Apr 6, 2019 - 10:31am PT
I've been on a two-year project of re-reading & then giving to charity, books I've saved over the last 50 years.

As a current WWII history project, I first re-read "GOODBYE DARKNESS" by William Manchester. It's his memoir of his WWII service as a marine in the Pacific war. In his 50's he revisited a number of noted battlefields of the Pacific war in one epic-trip, & then mixes in his 1st person memories of the battles.

It seemed disjointed at first, but he writes well, & remembering little of my previous read of the book, it moved right along to his final battle on Okinawa & his near-death experiences, leading up to his being badly wounded & sent home.

In his afterword, he mentions Okinawa was the only island he fought on & he made up first-person combat stories of the other battles to add human interest to the book.

I felt a little burned.

I'm now embarked on re-reading, for about the 4th time, my favorite Pacific War book, "THE RISING SUN," by John Toland. In 992 pages he gives a look at the war from the Japanese point of view, including a much too-detailed for me, history of how Japan worked themselves into WWII. That history takes about 232 pages & I found myself skipping sections of it, as my eyes glazed over.

Once the war finally starts, the book moves right along & shares both Japanese & American viewpoints of the fighting.

I may save it for future reference.

Apr 6, 2019 - 11:31am PT
Now I'm onto this, "The Goats Of West Point"

If you haven't yet, suggest The Long Gray Line, Rick Atkinson.
Extremely well-written, tracks easily despite following multiple men over three decades. I've got two others of his, In the Company of Soldiers and An Army at Dawn up next.

Also on tap, Riding Man, guy who quits his job to ride in the IoM TT. Perfect mid-life crisis inspiration!

David Knopp

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2019 - 01:44pm PT
mouse you may well want to read Winslow's border trilogy; Powe of the Dog, the Cartel, The Border. I haven't teared up reading a Don Winslow book before, but the border did it!
Mike Honcho

Trad climber
Glenwood Springs, CO
Apr 7, 2019 - 11:47am PT
If you haven't yet, suggest The Long Gray Line, Rick Atkinson.
Extremely well-written, tracks easily despite following multiple men over three decades. I've got two others of his, In the Company of Soldiers and An Army at Dawn up next
Thanks for the recommends perswig! I'm almost all history and am always backed up like crazy. But I'll looks for those, order them when necessary.

This is what's next..
Over 800 big pages with small-ish writing.


Mountain climber
Apr 7, 2019 - 12:14pm PT
“ At the Strangers Gate “ by Adam Gopnik.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 7, 2019 - 03:48pm PT
The Incredible Voyage, A Personal Odyssey, by Tristan Jones

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
May 22, 2019 - 07:35am PT
My last add to this thread: Just finished Sapiens. Great read.

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
May 22, 2019 - 01:29pm PT
I'm currently reading Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee. It's a generational saga following a family of Koriean immigrants in Japan. Good book- national book award runner up.

I probably won't finish before Supertopo's last call, so thanks for all of the posts and suggestions on this thread!

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 22, 2019 - 02:30pm PT
I just started The Quiet American by Graham Greene, a book that Gregory Couch suggested. I have a stack of books to read. I think nearly every book I have read in the last 10 year came from Donald Thompson's What Book Are You Reading Now Thread and those posted here. I read several books that were referenced in those books or other books by the author.

I think my favorites were those by David Halberstam and Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner.

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