Archive for into the wild

out of the wild

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , on June 25, 2020 by xi'an

Thin Air [book review]

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2020 by xi'an

When visiting Vancouver last December [at a time when traveling was still possible], I had the opportunity to revisit White Dwarf Books [thirty years after my first visit] and among other books bought a Richard Morgan‘s novel, Thin Air, that I did not know existed and which was recommended by the [friendly] book seller. As superior to Morgan’s foray into dark fantasy (that I did not dislike so much). As I had really enjoyed the Altered Carbon series, I jumped on this new novel, which is a form of sequel to Th1rt3en, and very very similar in its futuristic pastiche of tough detectives à la Marlowe, dry humour included. A form of space noir, as The Guardian puts it. I sort of got quickly lost in the plot and (unusually) could not keep track of some characters, which made reading the book a chore towards the end. Thanks to the COVID-19 quarantine, I still managed to finish it, while home cycling!, the very end being more exciting than the beginning drudgery and the predictable sex scenes bound to occur in every of his novels. The Martian world in the novel is only alluded to, which makes it more appealing, despite the invasive jargon, however it sounds too much like a copy of our 20th century with car chase and gun/knife fights. Enhanced by an embedded AI when one can afford it. Certainly not the best read in the series but enough to tempt me into looking at the first episodes of Altered Carbon on Netflix. [Note: the book is not to be confused with the bestselling Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, which relates the 1996 Everest disaster, soon turned into a rather poor movie. I had not realised till today that the same Krakauer wrote Into the Wild…!]

art brut

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , on August 6, 2017 by xi'an

wild [guest post]

Posted in Books, Kids, Mountains with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2013 by xi'an

My daughter, who brought me this book, wrote the following about it: Wild is a book whose title might hint at more than it truly contains. This book is the story of a young woman hiking along the PCT, the Pacific Crest Trail, a very long hiking path in America. This young woman will quickly realize that she is not trained enough for this kind of adventure, but far from turning back she keeps going toward the aim she set herself. She meets many people on they way, either walking on the road or living in towns where she receives packages of supply she sent herself. This book is original in that it is not written by an expert hiker and hence it allows us to discover with the author how to manage the PCT. At the end of the novel we are almost surprised that she succeeded thanks to a large amount of luck. Wild is a realistic novel that makes us eager to embark on the journey! To have this adventure. It shows us a really wild side of today’s world, away from electronics, news, and today’s materialistic culture. How to cope with loneliness, hunger, dirt, cold, fear, injury, bad guys, orienteering … A book that details minutely every day at first and then accelerates toward the end. This is a very long journey, as one becomes aware at the beginning, but as the days go by, it seems less and less hard, which is probably an effect intended by the author, but it seems rather frustrating to me. I am rather lost with all these characters that come and go, it’s hard to remember them when they reappear in the narrative. For once, the heroine does not find an easy way through difficulties, which is what makes it a more realistic novel. Despite a too large number of uninteresting details about her life before the PCT, this book made me discover this trail and drove me to hope to hike it one day…


Posted in Books, Kids, Mountains with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2013 by xi'an

My daughter brought me this book at the hospital and I read it over the final day of my stay there. (She had ordered and read it out of a review in Elle…) As I first supposed it was about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (or PCT), I was quite eager to hear about the beauty of the mountains and the challenges of the long distance trail. However, wild is much more about the psychological problems and the troubled childhood of the author, Cheryl Strayed (a self-chosen post-divorce name), the trek being undertaken as a cathartic therapy to overcome her mother’s death and to fight the ensuing self-destructive tendencies… The most amazing thing in this autobiography is that the author managed to survive a trek of this magnitude, given that she had no preparation and no training and that she had to face heat, lack of water, cold, snow, wild animals, wilder men, and this with hardly any money. She starts in the Mojave desert with a backpack weighting half her weight (soon called the Monster) and is lucky enough to avoid dehydration, snake bites, wrong trails, falls, hypothermia, &tc. Great for her and thanks to the fellow hikers who helped her building some experience, but I cannot feel much of a connection with the author. In short, she often sounds like a complete idiot, e.g. starving most of the trail only to spend the few dollars she sent herself at each postal relay in junk food and sodas. I actually wonder at the level of authenticity of this unpreparedness: I find it very hard to believe she had never considered the weight of her back before leaving when this is one of the first things you read in any book about hiking. When considering she had planned a complex delivery of supplies all along the trail, apparently missing none of them. The character of Cheryl Strayed is not as annoying as the “hero” of Into the Wild, but I do not buy the whole story. Great cover, by the way!

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