These are some of the best adventure books you can read.
I love reading and have read loads of adventure books, both fiction and non-fiction, to help understand a particular destination better and to get inspired for adventure.
It was The Beach by Alex Garland for example that inspired me to go to Thailand for the first time back in 1998.
Obviously, this is just a small selection of books I enjoyed reading and can recommend for some of the best adventure books to read, it doesn’t cover all the adventure books out there as there are so many.
Best Adventure Books
The Beach (1996)
The Khao San Road, Bangkok — first stop for the hordes of rootless young Westerners travelling in Southeast Asia. On Richard’s first night there, in a low-budget guest house, a fellow traveller slashes his wrists, bequeathing to Richard a meticulously drawn map to “the Beach.”
The Beach, as Richard has come to learn, is the subject of a legend among young travellers in Asia: a lagoon hidden from the sea, with white sand and coral gardens, freshwater falls surrounded by jungle, plants untouched for a thousand years. There, it is rumoured, a carefully selected international few have settled in a communal Eden.
Haunted by the figure of Mr Duck — the name by which the Thai police have identified the dead man — and his own obsession with Vietnam movies, Richard sets off with a young French couple to an island hidden away in an archipelago forbidden to tourists. They discover the Beach, and it is as beautiful and idyllic as it is reputed to be. Yet over time, it becomes clear that Beach culture, as Richard calls it, has troubling, even deadly, undercurrents.
Spellbinding and hallucinogenic, The Beach by Alex Garland — both a national bestseller and his debut — is a highly accomplished and suspenseful novel that fixates on a generation in their twenties, who, burdened with the legacy of the preceding generation and saturated by popular culture, long for an unruined landscape, but find it difficult to experience the world firsthand.
Into The Wild (1996)
In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless.
He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.
Four months later, a party of moose hunters found his decomposed body. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.
Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir.
In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and, unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented.
Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw away the maps. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.
Touching The Void (1988)
Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg.
In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death.
The next three days were an impossibly gruelling ordeal for both men. Yates, certain that Simpson was dead, returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him.
Miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall, but crippled, starving, and severely frostbitten was trapped in a deep crevasse. Summoning vast reserves of physical and spiritual strength, Simpson crawled over the cliffs and canyons of the Andes, reaching base camp hours before Yates had planned to leave.
How both men overcame the torments of those harrowing days is an epic tale of fear, suffering, and survival, and a poignant testament to unshakable courage and friendship.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage (1959)
In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men.
When their ship was finally crushed between two ice floes, they attempted a near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic’s heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization.
In Endurance, the definitive account of Ernest Shackleton’s fateful trip, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing and miraculous voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (2012)
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed.
Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humour, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
A Walk in The Woods (1998)
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrains in America—majestic mountains, silent forests, sparkling lakes.
If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way—and a couple of bears.
Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in)
Read my adventure guides here.
Check out some of the best travel documentaries to watch.
And the best survival movies.
Whatever adventure you go on be sure to take travel insurance!
If you liked this article about the best adventure books a share would be cool!