5 Books to Read while Hiking the Desert

In 2016, while crossing the high altitude deserts of South America 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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 try 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”

4. 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.”

5. Der Steppenwolf - Hermann Hesse
Harry Haller pure - great book but I didn’t enjoy it as I did Desert Solitaire.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.