Adventures In Reading

books on a shelf
They take you up mountains, across continents and into the desert. They range from "Into Thin Air" to at least one book once alleged to have been created out of thin air.

They are the 100 greatest adventure stories of all time, as chosen by a panel of experts assembled by National Geographic Adventure.

"These are the books that keep you up all night reading to see what happens," according to a magazine press release. Results were published in the July/August 2001 issue of National Geographic Adventure, a bimonthly publication.

Top Ten Greatest Adventure Stories:
1. "The Worst Journey in the World," Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922).
2. "Journals," Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (1814).
3. "Wind, Sand and Stars," Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1940).
4. "Exploration of the Colorado River," John Wesley Powell (1895).
5. "Arabian Sands," Wilfred Thesiger (1959).
6. "Annapurna," Maurice Herzog (1952).
7. "Desert Solitaire," Edward Abbey (1968).
8. "West With the Night," Beryl Markham (1942).
9. "Into Thin Air," Jon Krakauer (1997).
10. "Travels," Marco Polo (1298).
Topping the list is "The Worst Journey in the World" Apsley Cherry-Garrard's 1922 publication about the fatal South Pole expedition of Robert Falcon Scott. No. 2 is the "Journals" of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, followed by "Wind, Sand and Stars," the aviation adventures of poet-pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Also making the top 10 is "Into Thin Air," Jon Krakauer's best-selling account of climbing Mount Everest, and the "Travels" of Marco Polo, the 13th-century explorer whose memories of China were long considered too fantastic for truth.

"There were always doubters, but the scholarship backs up what he wrote," said Anthony Brandt, the magazine's book reviewer and leader of the selection committee.

"His influence is enormous. His book is the goad, the spur, to most Western exploration and travel."

Other titles in the top 100 include Mark Twain's "Roughing It" (No. 13), Charles Lindbergh's "The Spirit of St. Louis" (No. 19), Charles Darwin's "The Voyage of the Beagle" (No. 23), Thomas Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" (No. 26) and Sebastian Junger's "The Perfect Storm" (No. 30).
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