Staff Picks

Amazing Feats of Athleticism and Endurance

What is the human body capable of if pushed further than what most believe possible?  The following books all show remarkable individuals who can run, swim, climb, or play faster and farther than most.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place     Between a Rock and a Hard Place    
Aron Ralston
    796.5223 Ra

Ralston describes his incredible 120 hour ordeal after getting his right arm trapped behind a boulder while hiking.  While discussing his eventual rescue after severing his own arm with a pocket knife, Ralston explores why he is drawn to outdoor adventures.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen     Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen    
Christopher McDougall
    796.424 Mcd

McDougall writes about his encounters with the reclusive Tarahumara Indians, a tribe of ultra-fit runners that habitually run extreme distances in the Copper Canyons of Mexico.  He eventually becomes involved in a race pitting top Tarahumara runners against some of America's greatest ultra-marathoners.  McDougall also explores other related topics about running such as the development of the modern running shoe and the prevalence of modern running injuries.

Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000-mile Journey around the Arctic Circle     Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000-mile Journey around the Arctic Circle    
Mike Horn
    910.9113 Hor

Horn narrates his amazing Arctic journey that he traveled alone, against prevailing winds and currents, and without any kind of motor-powered transport.  He recounts his near fatal 27 month journey through extreme temperatures with amusement and introspection.

Eiger Dreams: Adventures among Men and Mountains     Eiger Dreams: Adventures among Men and Mountains    
John Krakauer
    796.522 Kra

This book contains a fascinating collection of short articles by the author of Into Thin Air.  Krakauer investigates the many facets of mountaineering and why people push themselves to such extremes to reach the top of a mountain.

Hell on Two Wheels: An Astonishing Story of Suffering, Triumph, and the most Extreme Endurance Race in the World     Hell on Two Wheels: An Astonishing Story of Suffering, Triumph, and the most Extreme Endurance Race in the World    
Amy Snyder
    796.6209 Sny

Snyder's compelling and descriptive narrative of one of the most brutal endurance sports events imagined, The Race Across America, is a must read for fans of all sports and adventure writing.  Only 200 people have ever completed the 3,000 mile, 12 day race that has killed and injured many of its contestants.  Snyder tells the story of the race through the perspective of many of the racers themselves, detailing the human experience of completing such an amazing feat of endurance.

No End in Sight: My Life as a Blind Iditarod Racer     No End in Sight: My Life as a Blind Iditarod Racer    
Rachael Scdoris
    798.8 Sc

Scordoris' memoir details her amazing life of athleticism that culminates in her race of the 2005 Iditarod, all while legally blind.  She writes equally about dog racing as well as the many obstacles she had to overcome growing up and breaking into a sport where many thought she did not belong.

No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks     No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks    
Ed Viesturs
    796.52292 Viesturs Vie

This action-packed memoir details Viesturs quest to become the first American to climb all of the mountains higher than 8,000 meters.  He lives by the mantra "getting to the top is option, getting down is mandatory."  Viesturs compelling style explores the personal and professional sacrifices in becoming obsessed with a goal as well as the joy of achieving it.

The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers, and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon     The Coolest Race on Earth: Mud, Madmen, Glaciers, and Grannies at the Antarctica Marathon    
John Hanc
    796.4252 Han

"Why anyone would want to run a marathon in what is frequently called the Last Place on Earth?"  Hanc interweaves his own experience running the marathon with historic background about the continent and marathons along with the noticeable effects of global warming.

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve it     The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve it    
Neal Bascomb
    796.429 Ba

This book tells the story of the intense rivalry among three men to beat the four-minute mile.  The narrative culminates in the historic race that occurred on August 7, 1954 when Roger Bannister became the first person to break the incredible milestone.  Bascomb writes an engaging story that shows a sport in transition and the amazing athleticism and drive of three great runners.

Wilt, 1962: The Night of 100 Points and the Dawn of a New Era     Wilt, 1962: The Night of 100 Points and the Dawn of a New Era    
Gary Pomerantz
    769.323 Po

Pomerantz tells the story of the untelevised game between the Philadelphia Warriors and the New York Knickerbockers, where a young Wilt Chamberlain stunned a crowd with a 100 point game.  The book explores the fascinating characters associated with the game as well as how different the sport was at the time.

Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World     Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World    
Glenn Scott
    797.2192 Ederle Sto

This book tells the inspiring story of a hearing-impaired American teenager who became the first woman to swim across the English Channel.