Books by the Mood: Adventurous

Whether or not you can take a vacation this summer, everyone needs to get away somehow. Here’s a list of some literary adventures you may not have picked up before.

  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve — This sprawling adventure is se in a dark and unusual future in which cities are giant, mobile machines harvest each other for resources. Two teenagers with very different goals find themselves cast out of the traction city of London and into the Out-country, where they must work together to survive in a dangerous time.
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman — This short fantasy takes you into the mixed up world of the London Underground, as imagined by Gaiman. It follows the tale of Richard Mayhew, a young Londoner who gets swept into another world after helping a bleeding girl off the sidewalk one day. If you liked American Gods you’ll love this one.
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho — This book can be read in a variety of contexts: some people read it for inspiration and guidance, but it’s mostly an adventure story. There’s a quest, a treasure, love, seemingly magical characters, etc. Santiago, the protagonist, starts out as a shepherd but has dreams of finding his treasure at the pyramids. Along the way he meets gypsies, academics, thieves, and, of course, the alchemist.
  • Into the Woods by Jon Krakauer — A young man disappeared into the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. He was found four months later by hunters. This is the story of why someone from a well-off family, with “his whole life ahead of him,” attempted to turn away from civilization and survive on his own.
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon — An adventure story in three parts: Joe Kavalier’s Houdini-esque escape and his cousin Sammy Clay’s comic book ideas, and the adventures that the pair creates through the comic books. The story begins at the dawn of the comic book and during World War II. It’s full of tall tales, romance, and history.
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain — One of the earlier works of time-travel, this story follows a 19th century factory worker who is sent back to Camelot in King Arthur’s time. It reads like a precursor to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but its humor is balanced by its cynicism.
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson — Bryson’s ill-planned hike of the Appalachian trail is a hilarious read that will make you happy to have running water or to have a decent amount of outdoors know-how. Bryson’s writing is fast, clear, and funny in this American adventure tale.

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