Saturday, January 24, 2009

Book News

I've been hearing about some very interesting new books in the works, and the one I'm most looking forward to is alpinist Steve House's first book. Called Beyond the Mountain, it will be published in early September by Patagonia Books—House has been a Patagonia "ambassador" for a decade. The book will be comprised of climbing stories loosely organized around House's three expeditions to Nanga Parbat, and it will have 75 photos, including some color. I've worked with Steve on several stories and he's a very strong writer. As the first book from America's premier active alpinist, this should be a winner.

Greg Mortenson, the school-building author of the bestselling Three Cups of Tea, has another book in the works. Mortenson said the first-person book picks up the story where Three Cups left off, including the effects of Pakistan's 2005 earthquake and the Central Asia Institute's work in Afghanistan. Not sure about the release date. Three Cups of Tea has been published in two dozen countries, and this month a 32-page version, Listen to the Wind, was published for young readers. Today it's #172 on Amazon's sales ranking. Wow.

Let's see, what else.... Eric Hörst, the training and guidebook author, has finished a book (slated for February 2010) called Maximum Climbing that's about "maximizing experience and pursuing mastery...very brain oriented with lots of neuro, motor learning, and mental stuff," Hörst told me. Lazy climbers like me probably won't read this one, but those who care about improving should check it out.

Fans of the Colorado mountains will have a fun read this spring when Mark Obmascik's Halfway to Heaven appears. This is the tale of an out-of-shape writer taking on all 54 of Colorado's highest peaks—it's Bill Bryson meets the fourteeners. Coming from most writers this might be awful, but fortunately Obmascik is talented enough to pull it off. I was a big fan of his first book, the birding adventure The Big Year.

Finally, this week the folks at Alpha Books, a Penguin imprint, hired a complete idiot to write the Complete Idiot's Guide to Backpacking and Hiking. That idiot is me. The book will be out in April 2010.

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