Solo travelers go their own way for a wide variety of reasons. Armchair travelers can experience the world from new perspectives when they read books by and about these daring individuals that are available at your local Manatee County Public Library.
Cheryl Strayed recounts what led her to hike a 1,100 mile segment of the 2,663-mile long Pacific Coast Trail in "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail." Strayed decided that hiking the "PCT" -a rugged hiking trail that wends its way through California, Oregon, and Washington-would be a way to come to terms with the untimely death of her mother and the subsequent undoing of her family and marriage. Woefully unprepared in every way imaginable, she details everything from the changing landscape to the physical toll, to the people she met on the trail. A tale of self-destruction and self-reconciliation, "Wild" is an addictive read, an insightful, literary, and powerful blend of memoir and an adventure quest. The movie adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon is being released in December.
A play on the title "Into Thin Air," the classic mountaineering book by Jon Krakauer, "Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents" by cyclist and botanist Jim Malusa has been called a "delightful debut travelogue observant and wry." Malusa biked alone to the lowest point of every continent on Earth (except Antarctica) and relates what he encountered along the way - the flora, fauna, the people, and the indigenous cultures. Humorously written and insightful as well, this book is "a reading experience of pure pleasure."
In "The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World" author Eric Weiner traveled solo through ten countries seeking some of the most contented places in the world. And how did he decide on which ten countries to visit? The author spoke to Ruut Veenhoven, professor of Happiness Studies at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The professor is the founding director of the "World Database of Happiness' (find it at worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl).
Read about a true story that captivated the nation when two female journalists determined to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero Phileas Fogg by circumnavigating the world in less than 80 days in "Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race around the World." On November 14, 1889 both women began their race against time and each other, unaided and alone. "Eighty Days" has been called "history with the heart of a great adventure novel."
Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Jyna Scheeren is a reference librarian and Program Coordinator in the Manatee County Public Library System.