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5 Books to Read in Isolation

Combat the restlessness of self-imposed isolation with living bridges, 46-day thru-hikes, and 12-foot bears

By: Jonathan Stull + Save to a List

For a reader, self-imposed isolation might feel more like a lifestyle than a health recommendation. Regardless, there are a million reasons why a good book is indispensable, and if you suddenly find yourself flush with free time, we put together a few titles to help you pass it by. Uplifting, inspiring, adventurous, thrilling, and with the occasional apocalyptic implication, these 5 books are at the top of our adventure reading list right now.

Atlas of a Lost World, Craig Childs

Released last year, Atlas of a Lost World is a narrative journey through the annals of prehistory, tracking the mysterious and allusive archaeological findings that challenge the accepted understanding of how prehistoric humans found their way to the most remote reaches on the planet—the Americas. It’s technically nonfiction, but Craig Childs is a literary juggernaut. His words are captivating whether he’s being chased by graduate students in the desert southwest or attacked by an imaginary Arctodus, apex predator back in the Ice Age, a 12-foot bear capable of running 30 to 40 miles per hour. In Atlas, Childs’ journey through time will make you completely reimagine the evolution of the North American landscape.

$17.00 • Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America, Craig Childs

Lo—TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism, Julia Watson

For two decades, Julia Watson wandered the world learning from indigenous groups the methods they developed over thousands of years to survive in the planet’s diverse ecosystems. Lo—TEK, which stands for “traditional ecological knowledge,” is a just-released compendium the technologies that Watson found. Example: Bridges in India built over 30 years by teasing the roots of rubber trees. Written like a design manual and published by art and design-focused publishing house TASCHEN, its beautiful locations and striking full-bleed photographs are equally an inspiration for nature and travel enthusiasts. Lo—TEK celebrates extraordinary landscapes and the human ingenuity that has allowed our species to survive for millennia, and we all need a little bit of that right now, no? Just be careful with the binding.

$50.00 • Lo―TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism, Julia Watson

There There, Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange’s debut novel, There There, was touted as one of the best new releases of 2018, and it finally made its way into my social network over the past few weeks. What took it so long? At the top of my reading list, Orange documents 12 Native American lives, an often invisible pleat in the urban American fabric, in Oakland, California. It promises to reorient my understanding of the Native American experience in America, and that’s something I’ll think about a lot while I’m adventuring in historically Native lands.

$16.00 • There There, Tommy Orange

The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey

Apocalyptic fears. Campy gatherings around a fire. A little monkeying around with heavy machinery. Long walks on ruddy soils among cacti and sandstone canyons. Monkey Wrench Gang is an American classic of environmental literature, and Abbey's work is a perfect tonic for the inner misanthrope. Now is a great time to revisit that old and mischievous voice in the wilderness.

$16.00 • Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey

The Pursuit of Endurance, Jennifer Pharr Davis

If you’re looking for inspiration to endure what might feel like the worst 46-day stretch of your life, this is it. In 2011, Jennifer Pharr Davis set the fastest-known time for a supported thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. In Pursuit, her account is an inspiring, uplifting, and humbling account of what it feels like to do something while hallucinating, hungry, tick-bitten, and—congrats!—pregnant. Come for her grit, stay for her humility, and discover the AT’s rich legacy.

$27.00 • Pursuit of Endurance, Jennifer Pharr Davis

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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