I really love thrillers and true crime stories. Not all the time, don't get me wrong- I certainly like a balance of things, but I really do enjoy these quick reads. This month's Book Recommendations is a collection of stories about survival and perseverance. They are all gripping, edge-of-your-seat types that make you want to stay up all night finishing them. If we've left out a favorite of yours, leave it in the comments below!
1. Into Thin Air: A personal account of the Mt Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer - Last summer, my husband Greg was really into this series on sherpas. It was incredible what their bodies are able to withstand. I am looking forward to reading this gripping story.
2. Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read - This book tells the true story of a team of rugby players whose plane crashed in the Andes in 1972. They were stuck there for ten weeks and had to do unthinkable things to survive.
3. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson - Two climbing buddies go to the Andes, and one sustains a fall from a ledge, breaking his leg. The other needs to cut the rope or he would've been pulled to his own death. The two are separated, one believing the other is dead, and this book tells the story of the days in the aftermath of their separation.
4. Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg - Ok this book sounds like it's out of a movie but it's a true story. Insane. Four backpackers meet in Bolivia and decide to hike through the Amazon rainforest. They split into two groups and one gets separated from his partner. As storms rage on, his feet begin to rot, and he loses all sense of direction and hope.
5. Red Sky in Mourning by Tami Oldham, Susea Mcgearhart - This book tells the true story of Tami, who sets sail with her fiancé. They sail directly into a storm, and when she wakes up, her fiancé is gone and she is weeks from land.
6. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger - In this book, that has since become a movie, one of the worst storms of the century hits a fishing vessel with hundred foot waves and unimaginable winds. The book chronicles the lives of six whose lives were affected by the storm.
7. Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest by Beck Weathers - In this memoir from Beck Weathers, we learn about a group of climbers who found themselves in the middle of a storm. When rescuers got to Beck, they determined he was dying and they left him. Hours later, he emerged coming down the mountain, blinded, his face caked with ice, and was described as a "dead man walking."
8. Skeletons on The Zahara by Dean King - This book is said to be one of the most influential to Abraham Lincoln. It tells the true story of twelve American sailors who survived a shipwreck, only to be sold into slavery and subjected to a two month journey through the Sahara Desert.
9. Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Rolston - You've seen the movie, right?! This is the true story about a kid in Utah who went on a solo hiking trip through the canyons. Just as afternoon hit, an 800 pound boulder crashed onto his hand. With barely any food or water, and with the knowledge that no one was coming to help him, he did the unthinkable.
10. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout - This is the memoir of a girl who grew up in a violent home. She dreamed of traveling the world and so she saved her waitressing tips and booked a ticket. She traveled everywhere, and fell in love with it. She went to Latin American and Bangladesh and with each trip became more and more brave, heading on to Sudan and eventually to Afghanistan. Her career as a journalist was thriving, and she ventured into Somalia. Four days after arriving, she was kidnapped and held hostage for over 400 days.
11. American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen - You've seen this movie, too, right? This is the autobiography of Chris Kyle, a sniper for the US Navy. He talks about all he endured in the war, and his wife writes about how it affected the family.
12. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - This is the true story of Louis Zamperini, who was the sole survivor when his US Air Force plane crashed in the ocean in 1943. He clings to a raft, fighting off sharks, starvation and enemy aircraft.
13. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown - This is the true story of perseverance when nine working-class American boys go to Berlin to compete in the 1936 Olympics.
14. The Witness Wore Red by Rebecca Musser with M Bridget Cook - Rebecca Musser grew up in a polygamous lifestyle, and was the 19th wife of her people's prophet, an 85 year-old man. She tells how she endured the religious fanaticism and sexual slavery before finally escaping.
15. Secrets In The Cellar by John Glatt - A true-life horror story about an Austrian man who seemed to be living a normal life with his wife. Their daughter had been "lost" to a religious cult years earlier but over the years, her children would mysteriously show up on their doorstep and of course the good grandparents took them in and raised them. However, one person knew the truth about the whereabouts of the daughter, and the unspeakable torture she had been enduring at the hands of her own father.
16. Wanting to Be Heard: A memoir, by Amanda Knox - In 2007, Amanda Knox set out from Seattle to Italy to complete a study abroad program. When her roommate was murdered in their apartment, she was arrested and jailed for four years. But in 2011, the decision was overturned, and she was let go. Now, she tells her story.
17. Strange Piece of Paradise by, Terri Jentz - In 1977, Terri and her friend set out on a bike trip. One night, while camping, a man in a truck intentionally ran over their tent, and then attacked them with an axe. The story got widespread attention but no one was ever arrested. Fifteen years later, Terri returns to the small town to talk with people who say they know who did it.
18. A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Lee Dugard - In 1991, Jaycee was kidnapped and endured unspeakable atrocities for eighteen years. This is her story, in her words, exactly as she remembers it.
19. Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi - Since 2002, Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The US government has yet to charge him with a crime. This is his diary.
20. Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner - Pulitzer Prize winning historian Eric Foner explains New York City's role in the underground railroad through use of extraordinary new evidence.
21. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy - At age nine, little Lucy was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening cancer and needed to have a third of her jaw removed. When she returned to school, she was the victim of bullying. Her story is about fear, rejection and coming to terms with her appearance.
22. Why Me? by Sarah Burleton - Sarah's memoir tells the story of the abuse she endured as a child at the hands of the one person in the world who was supposed to love you unconditionally: her mother.