Lewis and Clark Hit the Road

Image result for lewis and clark expedition

From Wikimedia Commons: Detail of “Lewis & Clark at Three Forks”, mural in lobby of Montana House of Representatives

The Corps of Discovery Expedition (Clark wanted to call it the Magical Mystery Tour but was out-voted*) set off 115 years ago today. The expedition, commissioned by Thomas Jefferson to explore the newly expanded frontier (thanks to the Louisiana Purchase) and find a way through to the west coast, rode, walked and floated (rivers are incredibly handy when they aren’t flooded) it’s way across the continent from the Illinois side of the Mississippi and back. All told, it took two year, four months and ten days!

Can’t. Even. Imagine.

It is hard to comprehend such an undertaking, committing that much time and effort to a potentially dangerous enterprise with no certain conclusion. Boldly going, et cetera, et cetera. Just amazing. Recognizing that, the Corps of Discovery and explorers in general, here is a list of some our favorite books about explorers and their adventures, successful and otherwise.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

139069In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

 

 

Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose

45546In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a pioneering voyage across the Great Plains and into the Rockies. It was completely uncharted territory; a wild, vast land ruled by the Indians.

 

 

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

18600Joe 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 grueling ordeal for both men.

 

Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

8837Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying.

 

 

The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard

48503The Worst Journey in the World recounts Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the youngest member of Scott’s team and one of three men to make and survive the notorious Winter Journey, draws on his firsthand experiences as well as the diaries of his compatriots to create a stirring and detailed account of Scott’s legendary expedition.

 

Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

825419“Arabian Sands” is Wilfred Thesiger’s record of his extraordinary journey through the parched “Empty Quarter” of Arabia. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Thesiger was repulsed by the softness and rigidity of Western life-“the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets.” In the spirit of T. E. Lawrence, he set out to explore the deserts of Arabia, traveling among peoples who had never seen a European and considered it their duty to kill Christian infidels.

 

Into Thin Air by  Jon Krakauer

1898A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that “suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down.” He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more–including Krakauer’s–in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer’s epic account of the May 1996 disaster.

 

Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

790171Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure — a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage. On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft.

 

Over the Edge of the World by  Laurence Bergreen

174354Ferdinand Magellan’s daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in Over the Edge of the World, prize-winning biographer and journalist Laurence Bergreen entwines a variety of candid, firsthand accounts, bringing to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed both the way explorers would henceforth navigate the oceans and history itself.

 

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

1845In 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.

 

Did we miss one of your favorites? Feel free to comment below and add to the list.

*This is categorically false. We know you knew that already, but librarians have a really hard time giving incorrect information.

Beyond Regency and Victorian: 15 Unusual Historical Romances

As a lifelong period drama devotee, historical romance is probably my favorite subgenre in all of Romancelandia. But as a history nerd, I’ve never quite understood why the Regency and Victorian eras are so very, very dominant. Don’t get me wrong—I will never say no to a good bustle, and I love Austen-esque tales as much as the next romance reader. But why isn’t there an entire genre of fast-paced, witty Roaring ’20s romances? Or love affairs within the court intrigue of Tudor England? Or, you know, more romances set anywhere other than England or America? The following list is unfortunately still Anglocentric, much like the romance genre itself, but these authors offer a place to start for those looking to move beyond the Regency or Victorian romance.

Read more at bookpage.com.

Best Sellers Update: May

NYT COMBINED PRINT & E-BOOK FICTION BEST SELLERS

  1. NEON PREY by John Sandford (NEW)

40953793It was a relatively minor criminal matter, all things considered, but enough that the US Marshals obtained a warrant to enter the home. They didn’t expect to unearth trophies from a score of killings. Now Davenport is on the trail of a serial murderer, one who was able to operate for years without notice or suspicion. But there’s even more to this killer than meets the eye…

  1. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens
  2. REDEMPTION by David Baldacci
  3. THE MISTER by E L James
  4. THE TROUBLE WITH VAMPIRES by Lynsay Sands (NEW)
  5. THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris
  6. THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn
  7. LOST ROSES by Martha Hall Kelly
  8. A GAME OF THRONES by George R.R. Martin
  9. WAR OF THE SPARK: RAVNICA by Greg Weisman (NEW)
  10. A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles
  11. SOMEONE KNOWS by Lisa Scottoline
  12. THE OVERSTORY by Richard Powers
  13. THE SILENT PATIENT by Alex Michaelides
  14. ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman

Books to Film: May Edition

Tell It to the Bees by Fiona Shaw

6767519Tell It to the Bees (film poster 2019).jpgMovie: Tell It to the Bees
When it comes out: May 3
What the book is about: Lydia Weekes is distraught at the break-up of her marriage. When her young son, Charlie, makes friends with the local doctor, Jean Markham, her life is turned upside down. Charlie tells his secrets to no one but the bees, but even he can’t keep his mother’s friendship to himself. The locals don’t like things done differently. As Lydia and the doctor become closer, the rumors start to fly and threaten to shatter Charlie’s world.

The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester

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When it comes out: May 10
What the book is about: An extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary — and literary history. The compilation of the OED, begun in 1857, was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, discovered that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. When the committee insisted on honoring him, a shocking truth came to light: Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane.

The Family: The Story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion by Ed Sanders & The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten by Karlene Faith

5073151100168Charlie Says (2018 film) poster.jpgMovie: Charlie Says
When it comes out: May 10
What the book is about: The Family: The first full-length, chronological account of the Manson clan tracks the case through two decades of turmoil and include revealing information on the highly publicized murder trial of 1970 and 1971, Squeaky Fromme’s attempt to shoot President Gerald Ford, and Manson’s continued leadership of the Satanic underground from behind bars.

The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten: At The Age Of Twenty-One, Leslie Van Houten was sentenced to death, along with Charles Manson and his other disciples, for the infamous murder rampage spanning two nights in August 1969. Leslie, who was present at the Rosemary and Leno LaBianca stabbings, serenely accepted her sentence, wishing only that she had better served Manson in carrying out his apocalyptic vision of Helter Skelter. When the United States temporarily suspended its death penalty, her sentence for murder conspiracy was converted to life in prison. Today, at the age of 51, after three trials and with no parole in sight, Leslie has become a remarkable survivor of a living nightmare.

A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

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Movie: A Dog’s Journey
When it comes out: May 17
What the book is about: The direct sequel to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling A Dog’s Purpose.

Buddy is a good dog. After searching for his purpose through several eventful lives, Buddy is sure that he has found and fulfilled it. Yet as he watches curious baby Clarity get into dangerous mischief, he is certain that this little girl is very much in need of a dog of her own.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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When it comes out:
May 17
What the book is about:
Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. Definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when her family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica.

Daniel has always been the good son, the good student, living up to his parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when he sees her, he forgets about all that. Something about Natasha makes him think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store.

Aniara by Harry Martinson

1138948Aniara movie posterMovie: Aniara
When it comes out:
May 17
What the book is about:
Harry Martinson’s Epic Science Fiction Poem, is at once a warning of despair in the time of the nuclear weapons and the looming threat of ecological disaster and perhaps the most complete expression of Martinson’s lifelong project to illustrate man’s attempts to truly see himself and his role in creation.

Trial by Fire” (The New Yorker) by David Grann

Trial by Fire.jpgMovie: Trial by Fire
When it comes out:
May 17
What the book is about:
When Elizabeth Gilbert approached the prison guard, on a spring day in 1999, and said Cameron Todd Willingham’s name, she was uncertain about what she was doing. A forty-seven-year-old French teacher and playwright from Houston, Gilbert was divorced with two children. She had never visited a prison before. Several weeks earlier, a friend, who worked at an organization that opposed the death penalty, had encouraged her to volunteer as a pen pal for an inmate on death row, and Gilbert had offered her name and address. Not long after, a short letter, written with unsteady penmanship, arrived from Willingham, convicted of setting the fire that killed his three young children. “If you wish to write back, I would be honored to correspond with you,” he said. He also asked if she might visit him. Perhaps out of a writer’s curiosity, or perhaps because she didn’t feel quite herself (she had just been upset by news that her ex-husband was dying of cancer), she agreed. Now she was standing in front of the decrepit penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas—a place that inmates referred to as “the death pit.” Gilbert came to believe that the polite unassuming man Willingham was innocent and would soon set out on a long, frustrating journey to find the truth.

Best Books on the Art of Storytelling

There’s something thrilling about the way certain writers can take readers behind the curtain of how stories are told. Some authors bring the same verve and deftness to their accounts of the process as they do with their acclaimed fiction and nonfiction; others turn the building blocks of stories into something unpredictable, leading readers to view the telling of stories in a whole new light.

Go to Penguin Random House to see a list of 10 books with 10 distinct takes on storytelling.

 

Best Sellers: April Update

New York Times Best Sellers: Combined Print & E-Book Fiction

  1. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens

36809135For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

  1. RUN AWAY by Harlan Coben (NEW)
  2. CELTIC EMPIRE by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler (NEW)
  3. THE FIRST LADY by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois (NEW)
  4. THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn
  5. THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris
  6. WOLF PACK by C.J. Box
  7. THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS by Pam Jenoff
  8. CEMETERY ROAD by Greg Iles
  9. THE SILENT PATIENT by Alex Michaelides
  10. DAISY JONES & THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  11. ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman
  12. THE FALLEN by David Baldacci
  13. SILENT NIGHT by Danielle Steel
  14. THE HUNTRESS by Kate Quinn

Books to Film: Spring(?) Edition

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

6419887The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.jpgMovie: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
When it comes out: March 1
What the book is about: William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala—crazy—but William was determined to show them what a little grit and ingenuity could do.

 

Transit by Anna Seghers

15823471Transit (2018 film).pngMovie: Transit
When it comes out: March 1
What the book is about: Having escaped from a Nazi concentration camp in Germany in 1937, and later a camp in Rouen, the nameless twenty-seven-year-old German narrator of Seghers’s multilayered masterpiece ends up in the dusty seaport of Marseille. Along the way he is asked to deliver a letter to a man named Weidel in Paris and discovers Weidel has committed suicide, leaving behind a suitcase containing letters and the manuscript of a novel.

 

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincot


39939417Five Feet Apart (2019 poster).pngMovie:
Five Feet Apart
When it comes out: March 15
What the book is about: Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions. The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals. Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

 

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

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Movie: The Aftermath
When it comes out: March 15
What the book is about: Hamburg, 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan is requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife, Rachael, and only remaining son, Edmund. But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatized daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together.

 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

13526165Where'd You Go Bernadette (film poster).pngMovie: Where’d You Go, Bernadette
When it comes out:
March 22
What the book is about:
Bernadette Fox has vanished. When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades.

 

The Dirt by Mötley Crüe & Neil Strauss

The Dirt.jpgThe Dirt movie posterMovie: The Dirt
When it comes out:
March 22
What the book is about:
Whiskey and porn stars, hot reds and car crashes, black leather and high heels, overdoses and death. This is the life of Mötley Crüe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend. They nailed the hottest chicks, started the bloodiest fights, partied with the biggest drug dealers, and got to know the inside of every jail cell from California to Japan. They have dedicated an entire career to living life to its extreme, from the greatest fantasies to the darkest tragedies. Tommy married two international sex symbols; Vince killed a man and lost a daughter to cancer; Nikki overdosed, rose from the dead, and then OD’d again the next day; and Mick shot a woman and tried to hang his own brother. But that’s just the beginning.

 

The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud

24791985Image result for wounds 2019 filmMovie: Wounds
When it comes out:
March 29
What the book is about:
When Will discovers a cell phone after a violent brawl his life descends into a nightmare. Affable, charismatic and a little shallow, he’s been skating across the surface of life in a state of carefully maintained contentment. He decides to keep the cell phone just until the owner returns and everything changes. Then the messages begin. Will’s discovered something unspeakable and it’s crawling slowly into the light.

 

Unplanned by Abby Johnson

9640038Unplanned movie posterMovie: Unplanned
When it comes out:
March 29
What the book is about:
Abby Johnson quit her job in October 2009. That simple act became a national news story because Abby was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who, after participating in her first actual abortion procedure, walked across the road to join the Coalition for Life. “Unplanned” is a heart-stopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation that speaks hope and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue.