Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Favorite Survival Story

In The Maze Runner, it's all about kids learning to survive, to adapt to their environments, to be very much man against nature (or, in this case, man against The Man.)  Alex and I decided to go ahead with our favorite survival books

Let's face it, there's little that Michael Crichton did poorly.  In fact, even his mediocre books are way better than a lot of people.  But there is something about Jurassic Park that just makes you realize how epic he is.

This book makes such a great modern day meets history survival story.  Not only do they have to fear for their lives and be resourceful and make sure they don't die a horrible death, they have to do all this in regards to DINOSAURS, creatures that we don't know a ton about.  A lot of it is speculation, or based on what we have seen from the bones, but we get a lot of things wrong.  The characters are basically piecing it together from what they know (which, since one of them digs up dinosaur bones for a living, is admittedly more than most.)

The characters in the book are interesting and diverse.  They action is enough to keep you turning pages, but not enough to think it's just too much.  There's death and gore (because what survival story would be complete without it) and just enough to keep you hooked and pick up the sequel.

I cannot for the life of me find an image of the cover of the book I'm thinking of, but I do know it exists. (If we weren't covered in half a foot of snow today, I'd drive over to the house where most of my books are stored and dig through them all to find my copy.) But my favorite is a children's non-fiction selection.

The image above is part of the same series, "Read It to Believe It!" There was one that I really loved called "Survive! Could You?" and it had four or five survival scenarios that taught you what to do. That book is literally the only reason I know how to withstand an earthquake or tornado or landslide, despite living in Virginia Beach my whole life, where those things never, ever happen.

But my favorite is the one about Mt. St. Helens (Read It to Believe It: They Survived Mt. St. Helens by Megan Stine) probably because my mom's family is from Oregon and she was alive when Mt. St. Helens blew. It combined stories of people from different areas who were affected differently by the blast. It told about the guy who refused to leave his cabin and is now buried somewhere under Crater Lake. It told about some people who were hiking (I think) and couldn't drive from the river (I think it was probably the Columbia) because it was full of sulfur (and that chapter is how I know that sulfur smells like rotten eggs). I think this was the book that sparked my love of reading about devastating disasters, awful as that sounds.

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