We can’t all go on great adventures, but we can read about them. Whether it be a Nobel Prize winner driving across America with his dog, Anthony Bourdain taking us on a tour of the world’s greatest meals, sailing side-by-side with an insane sea captain in Moby-Dick, experiencing Australia through the eyes of Bill Bryson, or experiencing frozen hell with Sir Ernest Shackleton, these 50 books that include memoirs, biographies, and novels, provide a wide array of curious, brave, and often downright insane people all in search of experiences that ended up making for great reading.
“A Man of the World: My Life at National Geographic” by Gilbert M. Grosvenor with Mark Collins Jenkins
Grosvenor grew up Geographic. This isn’t an exaggeration. His family home was regularly visited by, among other adventurers, Arctic explorer Robert Peary. Grosvenor went on to serve as Nat Geo’s staff photographer, editor in chief and president, making himself a crucial figure for the publication as he observed feats such as the successful search for the Titanic and while making time to hang with houseguests such as legendary chimp-whisperer Jane Goodall. Sept. 13.
[$30; barnesandnoble.com]Get it
“Outriders Africa: Essays on Exploration and Return”
If you’re looking to get a lot of perspectives on a continent but are only willing to spring for a single book, look no further. In spring 2020, 10 writers split off into pairs and, in the midst of a pandemic, set off on journeys in Africa. They generated essays as well as travel diaries, letters and poetry. All the participants have African heritage, resulting in a journey of discovery as well as coming to terms with their subject’s often-harsh history. Oct. 4.
[$16.95; amazon.com]Get it
“Survival of the Fastest: Weed, Speed, and the 1980s Drug Scandal that Shocked the Sports World” by Randy Lanier with A.J. Baime
Randy “Lightning” Lanier never really lived up to his promise as the 1986 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. He had a good excuse. He was sentenced to life without parole in 1987. Turns out in addition to being a helluva driver, Lanier was also one of the biggest marijuana smugglers in American history, an imaginative (if illegal) way to fund his racing dreams. Lanier was unexpectedly released from prison in 2014. Now, with help from Men’s Journal contributor A.J. Baime, Lanier shares a story that’s insane even by Florida-in-the-‘80s standards. Aug. 2.
[$26.10; amazon.com]Get it
“Explorer: The Quest for Adventure and the Great Unknown” by Benedict Allen
After a lifetime immersing himself among indigenous people—and generating books and TV series—the Trustee of the Royal Geographical Society reflects on a life of adventure, particularly during his youth decades ago. Back when phones weren’t just landlines but still occasionally rotary, going into the unknown genuinely meant that. But even in recent years Allen managed to slip off the grid, creating a panic by going missing in Papua New Guinea in 2017. June.
[$24.49; amazon.com]Get it
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