Broken Compass Adventure Book Club

The Broken Compass Adventure Book Club emphasizes non-fiction books about people who seek out or find themselves in exciting, dangerous, and unusual outdoor experiences. The range of subjects includes mountaineering, hiking, cycling, boating, flying, exploration, and space.

The book club meets the second Monday of each month at 7:30 PM

New members are always welcome!

Books Inc. in Mountain View

301 Castro Street

650.428.1234

 


Book List
$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780307720573
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books, 10/2013
September 2014 Selection: The first biography of the little-known real-life Tom Sawyer, told through a harrowing account of Sawyer's involvement in the hunt for a serial arsonist who terrorized mid-nineteenth century San Francisco.
When San Francisco "Daily Morning Call "reporter Mark Twain met Tom Sawyer in 1863, he was seeking a subject for his first novel. He learned that Sawyer was a volunteer firefighter, local hero, and a former "Torch Boy," racing ahead of hand-drawn fire engines at night carrying torches to light the way. When a mysterious serial arsonist known as "The Lightkeeper" was in the process of burning San Francisco to the ground, Sawyer played a key role in stopping him, helping to contain what is now considered the most disastrous and costly series of fires ever experienced by an American metropolis. By chronicling how Sawyer took it upon himself to investigate, expose, and stop the arsonist, "Black Fire" details Sawyer's remarkable life and illustrates why Twain would later feel compelled to name his iconic character after him when writing "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."
A vivid portrayal of the gritty, corrupt, and violent world of the Gold Rush-era West, "Black Fire" is the most vibrant and thorough account of Sawyer's relationship with Mark Twain, and of the devastating fires that baptized San Francisco.

$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780143038597
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 2/2007
July 2014 Selection: A gripping modern-day detective story about the scientific quest to understand the Oracle of Delphi Like "Walking the Bible," this fascinating book turns a modern eye on an enduring legend. The Oracle of Delphi was one of the most influential figures in ancient Greece. Human mistress of the god Apollo, she had the power to enter into ecstatic communion with him and deliver his prophesies to men. Thousands of years later, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist William J. Broad follows a crew of enterprising researchers as they sift through the evidence of history, geology, and archaeology to reveal--as far as science is able--the source of her visions.

West with the Night (Paperback)

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780865477636
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: North Point Press, 1/2013
May 2014 Selection: A new edition of a great, underappreciated classic of our time
Beryl Markham's "West with the Night "is a true classic, a book that deserves the same acclaim and readership as the work of her contemporaries Ernest Hemingway, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and Isak Dinesen.
If the first responsibility of a memoirist is to lead a life worth writing about, Markham succeeded beyond all measure. Born Beryl Clutterbuck in the middle of England, she and her father moved to Kenya when she was a girl, and she grew up with a zebra for a pet; horses for friends; baboons, lions, and gazelles for neighbors. She made money by scouting elephants from a tiny plane. And she would spend most of the rest of her life in East Africa as an adventurer, a racehorse trainer, and an aviatrix--she became the first person to fly nonstop from Europe to America, the first woman to fly solo east to west across the Atlantic. Hers was indisputably a life full of adventure and beauty.
And then there is the writing. When Hemingway read Markham's book, he wrote to his editor, Maxwell Perkins: "She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer . . . [She] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers . . . It is really a bloody wonderful book."
With a new introduction by Sara Wheeler--one of Markham's few legitimate literary heirs--"West with the Night "should once again take its place as one of the world's great adventure stories.

$14.99
ISBN-13: 9780380727506
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks, 5/2001
April 2014 Selection:

"Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it."

After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson-bestsellingauthor of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to returnto the United States. ("I had recently read," Bryson writes, "that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, so it was clear that my people needed me.") But before departing, he set out ona grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.

Veering from the ludicrous to the endearing and back again, Notes from a Small Island is a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie's Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey. The result is an uproarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain, from the satiric pen of an unapologetic Anglophile."Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it."

After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson-bestselling author of, i>The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to return to the United States. ("I had recently read," Bryson writes, "that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, so it was clear that my people needed me.") But before departing, he set out on a grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.

Veering from the ludicrous to the endearing and back again, Notes from a Small Island is a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie's Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey. The result is an uproarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain, from the satiric pen of an unapologetic Anglophile.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781594631528
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Trade, 8/2013
March 2014 Selection: The unexpected and moving story of an American journalist who works to uncover her family's long-buried Jewish ancestry in Spain.
Raised a Catholic in California, "New York Times "journalist Doreen Carvajal is shocked when she discovers that her background may actually be connected to "conversos "from Inquisition-era Spain: Jews who were forced to renounce their faith and convert to Christianity or face torture and death. With vivid childhood memories of Sunday sermons, catechism, and the rosary, Carvajal travels to the centuries-old Andalucian town of Arcos de la Frontera, to investigate her lineage and recover her family's original religious heritage.
In Arcos, Carvajal comes to realize that fear remains a legacy of the Inquisition along with the cryptic messages left by its victims. Back at her childhood home in California, she uncovers papers documenting a family of Carvajals who were burned at the stake in the 16th-century territory of Mexico. Could the author's family history be linked to the hidden history of Arcos? And could the unfortunate Carvajals have been her ancestors?
As she strives to find proof that her family had been forced to convert to Christianity six hundred years ago, Carvajal comes to understand that the past flows like a river through time--and that while the truth might be submerged, it is never truly lost.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781439176597
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner, 5/2012
February 2014 Selection: In the summer of 1916, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood, bored by society luncheons, charity work, and the effete men who courted them, left their families in Auburn, New York, to teach school in the wilds of northwestern Colorado. They lived with a family of homesteaders in the Elkhead Mountains and rode to school on horseback, often in blinding blizzards. Their students walked or skied, in tattered clothes and shoes tied together with string. The young cattle rancher who had lured them west, Ferry Carpenter, had promised them the adventure of a lifetime. He hadn't let on that they would be considered dazzling prospective brides for the locals.
Nearly a hundred years later, Dorothy Wickenden, the granddaughter of Dorothy Woodruff, found the teachers' buoyant letters home, which captured the voices of the pioneer women, the children, and other unforgettable people the women got to know. In reconstructing their journey, Wickenden has created an exhilarating saga about two intrepid women and the "settling up" of the West.

Kon-Tiki (Mass Market Paperback)

$5.99
ISBN-13: 9780671726522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster, 5/1990
Janaury 2014 Selection: Now a major motion picture, "Kon-Tiki" is the record of Thor Heyerdahl's astonishing three-month voyage across the Pacific.
"Kon-Tiki" is the record of an astonishing adventure--a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage.
On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, and sharks, they sighted land--the Polynesian island of Puka Puka.
Translated into sixty-five languages, "Kon-Tiki" is a classic, inspiring tale of daring and courage--a magnificent saga of men against the sea.
This edition includes a foreword by the author and a unique visual essay of the voyage.

$15.99
ISBN-13: 9780061997112
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks, 8/2012
November 2013 Selection:

After a close friend died of cancer, middle-aged, overweight, acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan decided to pay tribute to her in a most unorthodox manner. Ryan and his friend, miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch, would attempt to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire's four thousand- foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. It was an adventure of a lifetime, leading them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. At the heart of the amazing journey was the extraordinary relationship they shared, one that blurred the line between man and dog.

Following Atticus is an unforgettable true saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family, as one remarkable animal opens the eyes and heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman to the world's beauty and its possibilities.

$14.95
ISBN-13: 9781602393707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Skyhorse Publishing, 3/2009
August 2013 Selection: Four travelers meet in Bolivia and set off into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, but what begins as a dream adventure quickly deteriorates into a dangerous nightmare, and after weeks of wandering in the dense undergrowth, the four backpackers split up into two groups. But when a terrible rafting accident separates him from his partner, Yossi is forced to survive for weeks alone against one of the wildest backdrops on the planet. Stranded without a knife, map, or survival training, he must improvise shelter and forage for wild fruit to survive. As his feet begin to rot during raging storms, as he loses all sense of direction, and as he begins to lose all hope, he wonders whether he will make it out of the jungle alive. Lost in the Jungle is the story of friendship and the teachings of nature, and a terrifying true account that you won't be able to put down.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780143121374
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books, 6/2012
July 2013 Selection: In June 2008 more than two thousand wildfires, all started by a single lightning storm, blazed across the state of California. Tassajara, the oldest Zen Buddhist monastery in the United States, was at particular risk. Set deep in the Ventana wilderness north of Big Sur, the center is connected to the outside world by a single unpaved road. If fire entered the canyon, there would be no way out.
Disaster struck during the summer months, when Tassajara opens its doors to visitors, and the grounds fill with guests expecting a restful respite. Instead, the mountain air filled with smoke, and monks broke from regular meditation to conduct fire drills. All visitors were evacuated, and many Zen students followed. A small crew of residents and firefighters remained, preparing to defend Tassajara. But nothing could have prepared them for what came next. When a treacherous shift in weather conditions brought danger nearer still, firefighters made the flash decision to completely evacuate the monastery. As the firefighters and remaining residents caravanned out the long road to Tassajara, five monks turned back, risking their lives to save the monastery. "Fire Monks" is their story.
A gripping narrative as well as an insider's portrait of the Zen path, "Fire Monks "reveals what it means to meet an emergency with presence of mind. In tracking the four men and one woman who returned--all novices in fire but experts in readiness--we witness them take their unique experiences facing the fires in their own lives and apply that wisdom to the crisis at hand. Relying on their Zen training, the monks accomplished the seemingly impossible--greeting the fire not as an enemy to defeat, but as a friend to guide.
"Fire Monks" pivots on the kind of moment some seek and some run from, when life and death hang in simultaneous view. Drawing on the strength of community, the practice of paying attention, and the power of an open, flexible mind, the Tassajara monks were able to remain in the moment and act with startling speed and clarity. In studying an event marked by great danger and uncertainty, "Fire Monks" reveals the bravery that lives within every heart.

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780393339918
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 4/2011
May 2013 Selection: Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780393342406
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 8/2012
April 2013 Selection: The Maverick s surf point near Half Moon Bay, California, has long been one of the most dangerous places in the world to catch a ride. It is also the site of the Super Bowl of big-wave surfing: the Maverick s Surf Contest. Mark Kreidler takes readers inside the waves, inside the lives of the competitors, and introduces them to Jeff Clark, the man who first dared to ride Maverick s. Kreidler s riveting account of the 2010 season captures the jaw-dropping performance of South Africa s Chris Bertish as well as Clark s clashes with the contest s newly corporatized management. The Voodoo Wave is a thrilling account of a culture of high-risk, high-adrenaline athletes.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780802144331
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Grove Press, 9/2009
February 2013 Seletcion: A compulsively readable account of a journey to the Congo -- a country virtually inaccessible to the outside world -- vividly told by a daring and adventurous journalist.
Ever since Stanley first charted its mighty river in the 1870s, the Congo has epitomized the dark and turbulent history of a failed continent. However, its troubles only served to increase the interest of Daily Telegraph correspondent Tim Butcher, who was sent to cover Africa in 2000. Before long he became obsessed with the idea of recreating Stanley's original expedition -- but travelling alone.
Despite warnings Butcher spent years poring over colonial-era maps and wooing rebel leaders before making his will and venturing to the Congo's eastern border. He passed through once thriving cities of this country and saw the marks left behind by years of abuse and misrule. Almost, 2,500 harrowing miles later, he reached the Atlantic Ocean, a thinner and a wiser man.
Butcher's journey was a remarkable feat. But the story of the Congo, vividly told in Blood River, is more remarkable st

Oaxaca Journal (Paperback)

$14.95
ISBN-13: 9780307947444
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 3/2012
January 2013 Selection: Since childhood, Oliver Sacks has been fascinated by ferns: an ancient class of plants able to survive and adapt in many climates. Along with a delightful group of fellow fern aficionados--mathematicians, poets, artists, and assorted botanists and birders--he embarks on an exploration of Southern Mexico, a region that is also rich in human history and culture. He muses on the origins of chocolate and mescal, pre-Columbian culture and hallucinogens, the vibrant sights and sounds of the marketplace, and the peculiar passions of botanists. What other species would comb ancient Zapotec ruins on their hands and knees, searching for a new type of fern? Combining Sacks's enthusiasm for natural history and the richness of humanity with his sharp and observant eye for detail, Oaxaca Journal is a rare treat.

The White Spider (Paperback)

This Book Is Not Sold Online - In Store Special Order Only
ISBN-13: 9780874779400
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Tarcher, 9/1998

November 2012 Selection:


This "prequel" to the bestselling "Seven Years in Tibet" covers the years immediately leading up to Harrer's Tibetan adventure, recounting the young climber's legendary ascent of the North Face of the Swiss Eiger.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781439176597
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner, 5/2012
October 2012 Selection: The acclaimed and captivating true story of two restless society girls who left their affluent lives to "rough it" as teachers in the wilds of Colorado in 1916.

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780307741349
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Anchor, 7/2012
September 2012 Selection: From the bestselling author of "The Accidental Billionaires" and "Bringing Down the House," this is the incredible true story of how a college student and two female accomplices stole some of the rarest objects on the planet--moon rocks--from an "impregnable" high-tech vault.
But breaking into a highly secure laboratory wasn't easy. Thad Roberts, an intern in a prestigious NASA training program, would have to concoct a meticulous plan to get past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways even before he could get his hands on the 600-pound safe. And then how was he supposed to get it out? And what does one do with an item so valuable that it's illegal even to own? With his signature high-velocity style, Mezrich reconstructs the outlandish heist and tells a story of genius, love, and duplicity that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride.

$19.00
ISBN-13: 9781848859562
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 1/2012
August 2012 Pick: On a windy spring morning in an ancient Cretan village, Rory MacLean fell to earth. His mother had died a few months earlier and a single obsession had risen from his grief: the notion to build a feather-light flying machine. And so, on the island where Daedalus and Icarus had made man's maiden flight, MacLean journeyed back to beginnings, back into the Greek myths, and--with the help of his Cretan neighbors and plenty of wine--built a plane and tried to fly.

Falling for Icarus is at once a meditation on love, a celebration of the passion for flight, and a hilarious, vivid portrait of a village. Its generous and exhilarating characters restore MacLean's faith in life. Through them, he tells a soaring, moving story about how a dream can transform sadness.


A Voyage for Madmen (Paperback)

$14.99
ISBN-13: 9780060957032
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial, 6/2002
July 2012 Selection:

In 1968, nine sailors set off on the most daring race ever held: to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe nonstop. It was a feat that had never been accomplished and one that would forever change the face of sailing. Ten months later, only one of the nine men would cross the finish line and earn fame, wealth, and glory. For the others, the reward was madness, failure, and death.

In this extraordinary book, Peter Nichols chronicles a contest of the individual against the sea, waged at a time before cell phones, satellite dishes, and electronic positioning systems. "A Voyage for Madmen" is a tale of sailors driven by their own dreams and demons, of horrific storms in the Southern Ocean, and of those riveting moments when a split-second decision means the difference between life and death.

$15.99
ISBN-13: 9780061988356
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial, 4/2012
June 2012 Selection:On May 13, 1945, twenty-four American servicemen and WACs boarded a transport plane for a sightseeing trip over "Shangri-La," a beautiful and mysterious valley deep within the jungle-covered mountains of Dutch New Guinea. Unlike the peaceful Tibetan monks of James Hilton's bestselling novel Lost Horizon, this Shangri-La was home to spear-carrying tribesmen, warriors rumored to be cannibals. But the pleasure tour became an unforgettable battle for survival when the plane crashed. Miraculously, three passengers pulled through. Margaret Hastings, barefoot and burned, had no choice but to wear her dead best friend's shoes. John McCollom, grieving the death of his twin brother also aboard the plane, masked his grief with stoicism. Kenneth Decker, too, was severely burned and suffered a gaping head wound. Emotionally devastated, badly injured, and vulnerable to the hidden dangers of the jungle, the trio faced certain death unless they left the crash site. Caught between man-eating headhunters and enemy Japanese, the wounded passengers endured a harrowing hike down the mountainside--a journey into the unknown that would lead them straight into a primitive tribe of superstitious natives who had never before seen a white man--or woman. Drawn from interviews, declassified U.S. Army documents, personal photos and mementos, a survivor's diary, a rescuer's journal, and original film footage, Lost in Shangri-La recounts this incredible true-life adventure for the first time. Mitchell Zuckoff reveals how the determined trio--dehydrated, sick, and in pain--traversed the dense jungle to find help; how a brave band of paratroopers risked their own lives to save the survivors; and how a cowboy colonel attempted a previously untested rescue mission to get them out.

The Snow Leopard (Paperback)

$17.00
ISBN-13: 9780143105510
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics, 10/2008
May 2012 Pick: An unforgettable spiritual journey through the Himalayas? now celebrating its thirtieth anniversary IN 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Z en Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest?to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty.

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780307279187
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 4/2010
April 2012 Pick: Part adventure story, part extreme sports, "Born to Run" is a riveting tale about one journalist's quest to discover the secrets of the world's greatest distance runners--a reclusive Indian tribe living deep in the Copper Canyon of northern Mexico.

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780393337013
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 6/2009
February 2012 Pick: The incredible true story of a tempest born from so rare a combination of factors it was deemed "perfect" and of the doomed Boston boat with her crew of six fishermen that was helpless in the midst of a force beyond comprehension.