My wife Katie recently bought two books for me at our library’s annual sale. I loved both and am ever-briefly reviewing them here.
Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival by Normal Ollestad
This is a book about an 11-year-old who was in a plane crash and about his survival of the crash - and the loss of his father and his father’s girlfriend. I can sum the story up succinctly or better by stating that it is a book about parenting. There is a brief story at the end with which I’ve never related more as a parent. Earlier, the author (the then 11-year-old) recalls story after story of how his father pushed him (skiing and surfing, particularly). At the end, he is debating whether to “push” his four-year-old son similarly. There aren’t right answers, I think, and this book highlighted that and the relationship between dads and sons. Recommended!
Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph by Jennifer Pharr Davis
This is a book about the Western North Carolina-based athlete who set the overall time record on the Appalachian Trail. I can summarize the book with a story from relatively early on. After a dozen or so fifty mile days in a row - with no break - through Maine and New Hampshire, Pharr Davis has to climb Mount Washington - the highest peak in New England - with brutal shin splints, at night, with no headlamp, in freezing rain. When she gets to the top, she has to find a place to sleep, opening a door to a crawl space for the Mount Washington observatory. Once inside, she finds that some kind of generator runs every hour, spewing gasses into the crawl space. The next day she takes the wrong route down, somehow gets back on track, and keeps logging 50 mile days for 46 consecutive days. If the other book was about parenting, this is, to me, a book about toughness. It made me realize my 30-mile day hikes leave a lot on the table. I thought about being almost stuck on top of Mount LeConte last February. It was cold, there were 80-mile-per-hour gusts, and I was separated from my friends. It was hard, but there wasn’t anything even approaching what is documented in this book. This made me want to lean into those kinds of challenges more.