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8 New Books to Bring on Your Next Trip

Whether you're hitting the beach, boarding a long flight, or flipping on a headlamp in your tent, you'll want these must-reads at your side

Vacation is the perfect time to catch up on reading. So make sure the books are good. (Goldmund Lukic/Stocksy)

Whether you're hitting the beach, boarding a long flight, or flipping on a headlamp in your tent, you'll want these must-reads at your side

If the book is riveting enough, you’ll want to read it no matter how busy you are surfing, climbing, riding, or sightseeing. Here are eight new books worth bringing on your next trip that are guaranteed to keep you hooked while riding a shuttle to the airport, waiting for friends at the trailhead parking lot, and (of course) sitting around the campfire.

“Karakoram: Climbing Through the Kashmir Conflict,” Steve Swenson

Even if you’re not heading to an 8,000-meter peak, alpinist Steve Swenson gives you a taste of what that high-altitude air tastes like. In his new book, which hits shelves in April, the former American Alpine Club president shares his first-person account of climbing K2 and other mountains in western Asia’s famed Karakoram range. Swenson also looks at region’s contemporary history with an account of the 2013 terrorist attack that killed 11 climbers at the base of Nanga Parbat.

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“Celine,” Peter Heller

In his latest novel, Outside contributing editor Peter Heller tells the story of a private investigator on the hunt for a photographer who disappeared decades earlier in the woods of Montana and Wyoming. You’ll be transported to Yellowstone through Heller’s prose, which vividly captures the beauty of the American West.

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“A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand,” Jim Harrison

“Harrison is probably incapable of writing a novel that is not enjoyable,” Tom Bissell wrote in his 2011 profile of Harrison. Published in March, a year after the author’s death, A Really Big Lunch is a collection of Harrison’s writing on food, gluttony, and the toll exorbitance can take on the body. His brilliant, sometimes cringe-worthy, often laugh-out-loud-funny essays are great companions for meals on the road or aimless travels through foreign lands.

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“The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative,” Florence Williams

Most of us have heard of the therapeutic effect of time spent outdoors. In The Nature Fix, Outside contributing editor Florence Williams tries to explain this phenomenon by traveling the world, from the forests of Japan and Scotland to the deserts of Utah, to seek out truths about nature’s impact on well-being.

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“The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit,” Michael Finkel

In the 1980s, a 20-year-old named Christopher Knight moved to the backwoods of Maine. He ended up staying there—living in a tent in the wilderness and foregoing any human contact—for the next 27 years. This book is such a fast, engrossing read that you’ll finish it by the time your plane hits the tarmac.

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“The Outrun,” Amy Liptrot

As this memoir reminds us, sometimes we all just need to get away. The Outrun is nature writing at its finest: the story follows Liprot’s escape from a cyclical life of alcoholism in London to the sheep farm on a tiny island off the coast of Scotland where she grew up.

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“Dog Run Moon,” Callan Wink

We’re a bit late in catching up with thirtysomething Montana fly-fishing guide Callan Wink, who published his first book last year. Set throughout Wyoming and Montana, this collection does not fail to impress. Wink’s characters are eccentric and varied, his prose is persuasive, and his stories take you to wild and unexpected places. Planning a summer road trip through the West? Keep this book in your van.

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“The Yoga of Max’s Discontent,” Karan Bajaj

This novel, due out in May, chronicles a Wall Street analyst named Max who flees to India to find himself among the peaks of the Himalayans. As the main character meditates in an ashram to find enlightenment, there’s a chance that you too might glean insight into the meaning of life—whether you’re looking for it or not.

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Filed To: Travel / Media / Books
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.


(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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