5 Books to Read while Hiking the Desert
In 2016, while crossing the high altitude deserts of South America on by foot, I read 5 books in total. Yes – real hardcover books that smell, which you can burn or give other people you meet as a present.
- Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing
Perfect book for the freezing nights on the Altiplano. It definitively makes you feel better when you know that Shackleton and his team were almost 2 years imprisoned in the Antarctic and you only have to stay in the much warmer desert for 2 months.
- Wind, Sand and Stars – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Excellent book for desert hikers – the author covers flights over the Andes and incidents in the Sahara Desert. Besides that, definitively a world class author.
- Abhandlung über den Ursprung und die Grundlagen der Ungleichheit unter den Menschen – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
One of the more complicated reads on my trip – but definitively worth a read since Rousseau’s theories are important to consider even nowadays.
“The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society”
- Desert Solitaire – Edward Abbey
My favorite on this trip – very contradictory – very actual today even though written in 1968 – philosophical, aggressive.
“No, wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”
- Der Steppenwolf – Hermann Hesse
Harry Haller pure – great book but I didn’t enjoy it as I did Desert Solitaire.