A few books

High: Stories of Survival from Everest and K2, edited by Clint Willis. To be honest, I didn’t quite finish this book yet. I left it back home for my brother to read after Thanksgiving, and there was not quite enough reading time on that trip to get through the last couple of selections. What I read, though, is great. The book is a series of selections from longer, published accounts of climbing expeditions on Everest and K2. The chapters are short and leave the reader hanging on what happened during the rest of the expedition. However, Willis’ focus here is to compile the experiences of death and near death during these climbs. There are some that end with a struggle back to high camp, barely alive. And there are others that end with the surviving climbers slowly giving up hope, realizing their teammates are not coming back.

A little more context for some of the stories would have been nice, but one could seek out the source material and read the entire story. Overall, this is a good introduction to a variety of expeditions, including some of the most significant ones in the history of these two peaks.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland. Yes, I read this. And, yeah, it’s not bad. The story gets very engrossing after about 250 pages, and it is an exciting story. However, the translation could have been done better, especially since this is such a hit. Even the UK generally uses jail instead of gaol, for instance, but gaol is used here. To me a good translation explains a bit about the original language, leaving key words and phrases untranslated with footnotes or parentheses explaining the nearest English translation. There have to be nuances of Swedish that are completely lost in English, and there was no effort here to try to explain Swedish language or culture to the English-speaking reader. I think that is unfortunate and a missed opportunity.

The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland. This book and translation are similar to the first book in the series, but here the engrossing action starts at the beginning of the book and runs all the way through it. I’m baffled by the need to start with a prevented murder halfway across the world, since that event had nothing to do with the rest of the book, but it wasn’t bad. I am starting on the third and final book now.

One thought on “A few books

  1. If you liked Willis' book on Everest and K2, you might also like Jon Lewis' “Mammoth Book of Eyewitness Everest.” It's a larger book with more stories, largely in the same format, but only about Everest. Willis did pick some winners, though. You can't go wrong with Ed Webster's “Storm Years” or Frank Smythe's “Camp Six!”

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