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Participants enjoy the view of the Pittsburgh skyline from a kayak.

Book Recommendations by Venture Outdoors Staff

Book Recommendations by Venture Outdoors Staff

Staff Writer, Jojo Buss

Being stuck indoors gives me time to take stock of my book collection. While I cannot explore the desert or kayaking down a river, these books give me the sense of wonder and adventure that one needs to stay sane in this different time. Reading books about the outdoors transports you to a different world, one filled with grass and dirt and rain and sweat, one that I’m trying to live in all the time. Below I have listed some of my favorite outdoor books, in no particular order. These books have taught me about our nation’s history, public lands, how to get “sendy”, and how to advocate for the places you love most. 

“The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon” by Kevin Fedarko

If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know it’s one of the most surreal places in the world. This book is all about my favorite part of the canyon, the Colorado River. While the first half of the book discusses the history of dams and how the canyon and river came to be what they are today, the second half tells a riveting story of how a group of boaters ran the Colorado River in some of the fastest and highest water conditions ever seen. 

This book should be read before a big adventure, use the thrill from the river to increase your overall stoke for what lies ahead.

“The Hour Of Land” by Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams is one of America’s greatest writers, conservationists, and advocates for public lands. In this book she breaks down each chapter into a different story about our nation’s National Parks, Monuments, Grasslands, and Waterways. Williams finds a way to describe these scenes with such details that you automatically get transported there. 

Read this book while sitting in a grassy field, soaking in the sunshine, and daydreaming in between chapters about your next road trip.

“Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping” by Dan White

Ever since I was a little girl something about sleeping outside, in the dirt, under the stars, listening to the bugs was all I wanted to do. In this book, White gives you a breakdown of how camping came to be. From guided trips in the Adirondacks with Teddy Roosevelt to learning what exactly “glamping” is, this book takes you on a historical journey of sleeping outdoors. 

This book is best read at night, snuggled up in a down blanket, preferably by headlamp light.

Finish those three books in no time and need more suggestions?

Honorable Mentions:

“The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Sign”s by Tristan Gooley

“The Best American Travel Writing” – Any Year

Literally anything written by Edward Abbey


This piece has been written by Jojo Buss, Community Programs Manager at Venture Outdoors

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