And as an adventure writer as I come close to writing my own book, I start reading fiercely and wildly! I must have read over 50 books on the Himalayas over the last 6 months, here are the ones that stood out, make me think, and gave me ideas that transformed me.
Worth Every Gasp by Anamika Mukherjee, I like to read Indian authors, and if they are women, and in this case, this lady is from Bangalore and a technical writer to boot. Her account of an adventure on her own in Indian himalayas is a fascinating read.
Kanchenjunga – A Valley too Far A great account of an early foray into the valleys and peaks near Kangchenjunga, via Eastern Nepal, with vivid descriptions of the plants, people and landscapes of this wonderful area of the Himalayas. It is no longer as quiet and undiscovered as in the past, but well worth reading if you want an alternate trek to the well-trodden paths of Nepal.
Himalaya by Michael Palin – In a rare complete traverse, Palin takes on the full length of the Himalaya, from the Pakistan–Afghan frontier through India, Nepal, Tibet, and Yunnan in China, before recrossing the mountains to Assam, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
Himalaya – Ruskin Bond and Namita Gokhale – On a different note, this is one of India’s most beloved writers writing about his favourite topic, the Himalayas and the people who live on them.
Himalaya – Philip Parker – This an anthology for mountaineers and people who want to climb every mountain.
The next four books are legacy books, now available from Project Gutenberg. It is wonderful that we can find these historical books and read the love the writers have for the mountains, as well as the huge adventures they had in earlier times.
Himalayan Journals by Joseph Dalton Hooker. This is a book that is nothing short of an epic description the landscape, plants and flowers of the Himalayas, in particular following the Singalilla ridge. This was the same path we followed – literally walking in the shadow of giants! A close friend of Charles Darwin, Hooker is recognised as the founder of geographical botany. According to an 1887 journal written by Indian administrator Richard Temple, many of the rhododendrons found in English gardens of the time were grown from seeds collected by Hooker in Sikkim in the 1840s.
Kashmir – Sir Francis Younghusband and Major E Molyneux is a richly ilustrated book that waxes lyrical about the paradise that was Kashmir.
The Heart of Nature; or, The Quest for Natural Beauty – Sir Francis Younghusband – is the book about the Eastern Himalayas, and is again one that contains rapturous descriptions of Kanchenjunga.
Kim by Rudyard Kipling, the classic adventure quest was a childhood favourite, possibly because it is set in India, but also because it is a cracking good adventure tale. I wasted a good hour re-reading it just now when I should have just been linking to it!
You can also check out a slightly flatter adventure on the Camino