The Mountain- My Time on Everest by Ed Viesturs

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

The Mountain

Mt. Everest- the world’s tallest peak. A climber’s holy grail- as it takes strength, determination, guts and smarts to climb Mt.Everest and live to tell the tale. Ed Viesturs is this kind of person. When you have climbed all 14 of the world’s 8,000 meter peaks, as a climber, you need a challenge. Something to work hard for. Mt.Everest hears Ed’s need for a challenge and gladly supplied said challenge.

Ed, with eleven expeditions to Mt. Everest, has successfully reached the summit 7 times. One might wonder what type of skill Ed has or is it luck? In The Mountain, luck is not a word that used. And Ed, well he’s different. Unlike other climbers, he’s been able to avoid some of the physical ailments (frostbite, pulmonary edema or cerebral edema) that can take a mountain climb from dangerous to deadly. Ed comments on the differences of his physicality, but also remarks that before a climb- he goes through  rigorous conditioning.

As Ed Viesturs talks about climbing, the reader begins to understand that making it to the top is not all Ed wants. He doesn’t want to the be the person who made it, then die the next day because he ignored conditions or gut feelings. His goal is to safely make it there and back- and not to have an obsession with the mountain. One might think, though, with 11 expeditions to Mt.Everest, he has a slight obsession. Maybe, maybe not. It should be noted that that in his 11 expeditions, he only reached the summit 7 times- which might have something to say about the conditions Ed was facing or a feeling he had.

Ed tell stories of the Everest International Peace Climb- the pit falls, the hard work, and more of working with climbers from different countries in this event. Ed also mixes in accounts of his climbs to Everest- stories of people who did it before, some with fatal consequences.

Ed Viesturs has had many successes at Mt. Everest- but the mountain has also taught him many lessons. Each story, as Ed writes, is written with the respect and awe that Everest not only deserves, but is entitled to.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts

The Mountain by Ed Viesturs is a book that is awe inspiring. His stories, his pictures- together, they make the book pop. Ed has great respect for Mt. Everest and it shows in his story. Whether a person is a climber or just fancies reading stories of others climb, this book, The Mountain, would make an excellent read.

The Mountain was provided by Touchstone Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review. Above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

Interview with Shannon Polson, author of North of Hope

north of hopeShannon Polson, author of North of Hope, caught my eye after seeing Bookmagnet talking about North of Hope. Bookmagnet hosted a giveaway- and then through the power of social media- Shannon and I began chatting- and that is how you, my readers of Traveling With T, are getting to read all about Shannon!

 

Interview with Shannon Polson

Shannon- the inspiration for North of Hope came from a terrible accident that happened to your family and the grief you felt afterward.  For some, writing is a way to think and reflect. Was this how North of Hope was for you?

In some ways yes, but I’d be quick to differentiate writing memoir from the therapeutic writing that journaling or letter writing provides. When I decided to write North of Hope, it was a concerted formal effort. I think when people consider writing as catharsis, they are referring more to journaling and letter writing, both of which I did and found really helpful. Writing North of Hope, though, was a completely different ball game.

Remembering your family, going on the same trip your family went on before the accident- did anyone try to talk you out of doing this? Or did your loved ones understand why you had to do this?

I think people have known for a long time I’m hard to talk out of anything! They did have concerns, and as a result we took a number of precautions that would likely be considered redundant to allay their concerns.

North of Hope is a non-fiction/memoir book. Have you always wanted to write non-fiction/memoir books? Or was this particular story so compelling you felt you needed to write North of Hope?

This was a story I felt I needed to write, that needed to be written. In one sense, I needed to make something beautiful out of tragic circumstances– to see if I could do it by shaping an honest narrative. I am constantly learning what it is that made writing North of Hope important to me. Recently I’ve reflected that memoir is a genre of connection, and that it’s important (for me) to find a way to tell a story of hope after tragedy because it’s something we all face one day in one form or another individually and collectively. Joan Didion said that “we tell stories in order to live,” and after these events in my life I’m more convinced than ever that we choose our own story given a set of circumstances. We don’t have a choice about living in a story, but we do have a choice about what that story will be.

I’ve thought about whether I could have written the book as a novel, and that didn’t make sense this time around. The themes, though, of adventure, grief, loss, family, love, music, and faith are big ones in my life that are likely to recur no matter what genre I write in.

 

Any idea as to what the next book will be about, Shannon?  Will there be a next book?

Absolutely! With two very small children right now, I’m likely to focus on shorter form for a little while. In the meantime, I’m working on a couple of ideas that will be ongoing until I figure out which will wrestle it’s way to the surface to complete first. One is straight nonfiction about a particularly fascinating moment in aviation history. Another is a novel. And a third might be some kind of a multi-genre consideration of my time in the military.

 

*Special thanks to Shannon Polson for agreeing to be interviewed!

 

shannon p twitter Shannon Polson, author of North of Hope, can be found on major social media sites- Facebook and Twitter. She also has a website. Check back on Friday to find out more about Shannon- authors she likes and books that are on her To Be Read List!

Gods of Mischief:My Undercover Vendetta to Take Down the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by George Rowe

Motorcycle gangs are something that have been around for some time. There are different groups and some are more known than others. Each group has their own colors, patches and rules. The Vagos are one particular motorcycle gang that is proud to wear the “one-percenter” patches ( in reference to the fact that 99% of motorcyclist are law-abiding citizens- it’s just 1% who are not).  The story of George Rowe and his vendetta to take down the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang is a story of grit and determination.

Meet George Rowe. He’s a boy that grew up in a tough world. He’s just a man who has an outlaw past. He’s spent his time in jail- some for minor offenses; some for major. George is the man a person goes to for drugs. He makes money, spends money- does drugs, sells drugs. Can’t pay for your drugs? No problem- George will haul your belongings off. Sex for drugs is another form of payment. Life is going until George (with the help of others) sees that his life is not what he wants. He gets clean- and decides to start paying back his town for all his hell-raising past. With George’s past and the fact that he does enjoy motorcycles makes him attractive to the Vagos; but George does not want a part of that type of life.

Until the night George walks into Johnny’s Restaurant- a friend of his, David, is having a baby-shower. Some Vagos come in and want the pool table that David is playing at- and when he refuses to hand it over, words are exchanged. Which leads to David making the biggest mistake- he knocks out a Vagos member. After he left the hospital- he was never seen again.

George was tired of the Vagos ruining the town- and he felt it was his duty to bring down the Vagos. Enter the ATF. George begins working for them. He starts hanging out with the Vagos, looking to become a prospect; then a full-fledged member.

Over a course of 3 years- George goes from an outsider to a full-fledged Vagos member. He gathers information, reports to the ATF, and tries to make sure that his cover is not blown. It’s 3 years of determination, grit,  hard times and wanting to do the right thing- all the while worrying that he will get killed. Gods of Mischief is George Rowe’s tale- a tale of motorcycles, outlaws, crime, and much more. It’s also a redemption story for George- but in the end was it worth it?

For fans of non-fiction- this story is a tale that will expose the reader to the outlaw world. A world of drugs and sex. A world where men make their own rules.