“The Challenge of Rainier, 40th Anniversary: A Record of the Explorations and Ascents, Triumphs and Tragedies on the Northwest’s Greatest Mountain,” by Dee Molenaar
Dee Molenaar’s book “The Challenge of Rainier” has long been the best way to experience Seattle’s famous mountain without actually climbing it — and flat-out one of the best books about a mountain or mountains, period, covering the human history of the mountain, drawing from Molenaar’s 70-plus years of experience on it as a climber and guide. For the book’s 40th anniversary, Mountaineers Books has published an updated edition with restored illustrations and historic photos, as well as updated route information and accident statistics through 2010, and a foreword by Ed Viesturs.
$25 paperback, $20 ebook at mountaineersbooks.org.
Perhaps you recall a time when a small mountain town near you rated high enough on New Belgium’s scale of bike-town worthiness to warrant a stop by the traveling circus of beer and bikes known as the Tour de Fat. Having outgrown these roots, the tour now travels to metro areas across the nation, spreading its message of beer, love and bikes. To commemorate, New Belgium Brewing has released a book that attempts to capture the burlesque cacophony of bicycle zaniness that the tour has delivered in its eleven years of rambling across the land. Thumbing through the book, which is presented in a coffee-table format, (think coffee table book hip enough to not freak out your friends), it appears that the tour and its message have remained as close to the heart of the organization as the beer they produce. Like the event it represents, each page is a giggle unto itself. Altogether, the “Tour de Fat” book is an excellent companion to a fine pint of craft-brewed beer in a comfortable old chair.
— Erich Hennig
Books: “The Man Who Quit Money,” by Mark Sundeen
Think about the last time you bought something. Whether it was a new car or a pack of gum, it was probably earlier today, or some time in the not-too-distant past. Now think about this: Daniel Suelo, the subject of Mark Sundeen’s “The Man Who Quit Money,” has not earned or spent so much as a single cent since 2000. He refuses to accept food stamps, welfare or any other form of government aid, lives in a cave outside Moab, Utah, and not only survives, but thrives, completely without the use of money.
Suffice it to say that this is a book that begins with a lot of questions. For starters, is it even possible to live without money these days? Apparently, it is — in addition to recounting Suelo’s tumultuous life story, Sundeen (whose first published story appeared in MG more than a decade ago) shows that Suelo is anything but a lazy freeloader. And he’s no hermit either — quite the contrary. He volunteers at a local women’s shelter, maintains a popular blog and is often asked to housesit by his friends. In fact, his story serves as much a history of the people and places he knows as it is a chronicle of his own turbulent journey to leave the monetary system behind.
Not everyone can live like Daniel Suelo. “The Man Who Quit Money” is not an instruction manual for leaving behind material wealth. The moral of Daniel Suelo’s story is not about emulation, but inspiration. Inspiration to live with less, to give more and in the end, to be happier. And who couldn’t use some of that? $15, us.penguingroup.com
— Andy Anderson
Web: Drive Nacho Drive
Brad and Sheena Van Orden, very recently formerly of Flagstaff, are going to live your dream: They’re going to drive Nacho, their 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon, around the world. They started on Christmas Eve by leaving Flagstaff and heading south down the Baja Peninsula, and are headed slowly, indirectly toward Tierra del Fuego. They have no real plan, just some money they saved by moving into a 420-square-foot house in Flagstaff and living frugally, biking everywhere, keeping chickens, etcetera. On their Web site, drivenachodrive.com, they’re promising a podcast and blog as they journey south, then west through Indonesia, China, India, Europe and eventually Canada and down the West Coast of the United States, if the rough, scribbled line on the route map on their Web site is anywhere close to what really happens. They’re young, enthusiastic and clever, so we’ll wish them luck as we root from our
computer screens back here.