Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Chuckles November Review


Welcome to my November review, where I'm sharing my reading and viewing for the month and reveal whether or not I achieved my goals. Overall it was a pretty good month as you can see! I caught up fully on the Iron Druid series I own which I'm pleased about! I got all my ebooks looked at except one and all my TV series watched including three extra series of Game of Thrones that I hadn't planned on doing this month. It made my book deadlines a bit too tight! Failed on the film side of things with only one out of four watched but I'm not too worried because I did get lots of GoT done instead. On the paperback side of things I did get 5 looked at out of 6. Overall, a success!

EBOOKS:
April Aasheim-The Witches of Dark Root (abandoned)
Marla Braziel-Zombie Wars Online (read-3 stars)
Rob Cornell-Darker Things (abandoned)
Holly Evans-Infernal Ties (abandoned)
William Massa-Gargoyle Knight (abandoned)
Bobby D Lux-Dog Duty
LZ Hunter-KRex (read-2 star)
Catt Dahman-Dinosaurs (read-3 star)
Linda Jackson-Twisted Bloodlines (abandoned)
AL K Line-Ink:Red (abandoned)
Alex Laybourne-Hard Time (read-2 star)
Chad Evercroft-Undone (read-2 star)
Andrew Dudek-First Kill (read-3 star)
Jay J Falconer-Linkage (abandoned)
Ian Woodhead-Pteranodon Mall (abandoned)

BOOK SERIES:
Kevin Hearne-Iron Druid
#2 Hexed (read-5 star)
#3 Hammered (read-3 star)
#3.5 A Test of Mettle (read-2 star)
#4 Tricked (read-4 star)
#4.5 Two Ravens and One Crow (read-5 star)
#4.6 Chapel Perilous (read-3 star)
#4.7 The Demon Barker of Wheat Street (read-4 star)
#5 Trapped (read-4 star)
#6 Hunted (read-4 star)
#7 Shattered (read-3 star)
#7.5 A prelude to war (3 star)
#8 Staked (read-4 star)

OTHER BOOKS:
Melanie Karsak-The Shadow Aspect (read-5 star)
Melanie Karsak-The Torn World (read-5 star)
Cynthia Hand-My Lady Jane
David Estes-Brew (abandoned)
Kelley Armstrong-Otherworld Chills (read-4 star)
Kelley Armstrong-Driven (read-3 star)

FILMS:
Into the Storm
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Theory of Everything (good)
World War Z

TV SERIES:
Game of Thrones series 2 (completed)
The Great British Bake Off series 6 (completed)
The Great British Bake Off series 7(completed)

EXTRAS DONE:
Game of Thrones series 3. 4, 5, 

How did you get on with goals for the month?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!  

This week is yet ANOTHER holiday related topic which is Holiday Gift Guide Freebie. I don't do these holidays, I don't have anyone to buy for, I don't exchange gifts and I don't feel like trying to come up with a list of things I'd buy other people who don't exist.

So here is my list of things I'd love but will never ever get!

1) TIME TURNER  (Harry Potter)
Wouldn't you love this JK Rowling invention where you can turn back time to go and re-do hours of your life? Hermione used it to do double the amount of school lessons as her friends but I'd use it just to tackle my tbr! I could double the amount of reading I did if I could redo hours every day!

2) TALKING DOG (Iron Druid series)
Wouldn't you love a dog you can mentally communicate with like Oberon in Kevin Hearne's books? Oberon loves films and can quote characters, loves stories of death and glory at bathtime, enjoys the pursuit of sausage and poodles, protects you from vampires and keeps you entertained with his funny dialogue in situations where it is not appropriate to laugh! 

3) DIRE WOLF (Game of Thrones)
Now who doesn't think that dire wolf puppies in series one were totally gorgeous? Who doesn't want Ghost at your side when some mugger or rapist is idiot enough to tackle you or break into your home? It would be like having home security and a big furry pile of cuteness to cuddle up beside on a winter night! I could feed the neighbours cats to it...

4) SEASON TICKET TO JURASSIC WORLD 
Can you imagine actually visiting that park in it's full working glory? It looked so amazing in the film before the dinosaurs escaped and starting chewing the guests. Just think how many photos I'd have taken at a place like that? 

5) HOUSE IN RIVENDELL (LOTR)
When Frodo first walks onto the balcony to see the scenic views and waterfalls of Rivendell in the film it made me want to move there. It is so quiet and peaceful with lots of soothing water, no crime, nobody blocking your driveway, and no noisy neighbours to disturb your sleep! I'd need to check that Amazon deliver there though...

6) THE ABILITY TO TELEPORT
Whether it is Harry Potter, Iron Druid or Star Trek style, wouldn't you love to avoid the hunt for parking spaces, traffic jams and diversions on roads etc to just get there and back in the blink of an eye? It would give me more time to read and watch TV! 

7) CLOSET MONSTER (Monster Haven series)
In RL Naquin's Monster Haven books, Maurice the Closet Monster is what every house needs. He loves to clean and tidy and can do this at super speed-no more unpacking the shopping and cleaning the bathroom! Not only is Maurice a brilliant cook but when he gets anxious he loves to bake! 

8) LINDOR CHOCOLATE TREE
Lindt/Lindor is my favourite ever chocolate so can you just imagine having a tree in the garden where you just go and help yourself to a bar or a box when required? YUM! Being a magic tree of course, it never ever stops producing the chocolate!

9) THE ULTIMATE CALL BLOCKER 
It is simple to set up (just plug in) and it had never ending storage. It works by reading the mind of the caller as they dial so you know who they are and what they want, it relays this info to you...before the phone even rings! Then only when you want the call will it ring and you can safely pick up on the first ring! No more ringing phones except the calls you know you want to answer! No more scam callers or marketing morons! 

10) THE ULTIMATE TV CHANNEL 
The ultimate reality TV show where criminals take part in things like The Running Man and The Hunger Games for our entertainment! Serial killers, rapists, terrorists and paedophiles would be running through dinosaur zones like the Rick Jones book 'The Valley', on Survivor island with traps and monsters, Celebrity Death Island...I'm already making a list! It would stop the prison overcrowding...

Monday, 28 November 2016

Chuckles Childhood Book Loves


The latest installment of this series of posts about all the reading phases I went through looks now at the books I loved that aren't in the other categories mentioned so far. These were some of my favourites as a kid so lets call it Kids Classics!




There are a lot of titles among the kids classics that I know I read like Tom's Midnight Garden, Charlotte's Web, Five Children and It etc but to be honest I don't remember if I actually liked them! After being in hospital when I was ten I wanted to be a nurse for a few months and started reading this great nursing series which I reread and enjoyed recently:


I never did go into nursing! But at least I liked the books! Have you read any of these? Did you like them?

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Chuckles Cover Love #3


If there is one thing that makes a great book even better, it is when it has a cover that we love! The cover design is what catches the eye as we browse through a bookstore shelf or check out the Amazon or Goodreads recommendations. The right cover makes me look closer at a book, to read the blurb and maybe make a purchase. A poor cover might mean I never look at the blurb at all. This is the first in a series of posts celebrating all those book covers I love...and why!

Kelley Armstrong-Women of the Otherworld

As I've said in a previous Cover Love post, I hate it when you get part of the way through a series and the publishers change the design you love into something really awful. A good example of this is the Kelley Armstrong series which I very much enjoyed. The first nine books and two anthologies were in this gorgeous format:




Pretty nice! I love the colours and the magical inspired designs. Compare those to a couple of uninspiring versions released:


Gah! And then when books ten onwards all came out, the books were only available in these boring trade paperbacks instead of my beautiful mass market paperbacks!!! Not impressed! *shakes fist at publisher*


WHY do they do this to us continually? I want my old covers back!!! So when I saw that they were doing a series of beautiful illustrated Pack novellas I was determined to get them in decent cover form even if it meant paying a little more for them. These are two of the best covers on the novellas!

 
















I only have Driven to read and there will be no more Pack! ARRGGHH! What will I do without my beloved wolves??? Have you read this series? Who were your favourite characters? Which book did you like best? Which covers do you have and have you read the novellas?

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Stacking the Shelves #157


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! Click on the link under the book to find its page on Goodreads or Smashwords. 

Please note that I always leave a message on your STS/SP if you visit me, but if you use DISQUS or a similar third party I will not be able to leave a comment on your page. I don't allow any company access to my social media accounts and I certainly don't allow them to edit and take over my accounts the way DISQUS does. So if you use DISQUS, I can't leave comments on your page so I can't really follow you back, sorry! I'm noticing that some blogs set with Google Plus are trying to force you to open a Google Plus or Facebook account before you can leave a comment. Well, I have no interest in rejoining Google Plus or joining Facebook so if your blog uses this set up, I won't be following it or commenting! And sometimes, I have problems leaving messages on blogs hosted by Wordpress-they try to block me so there might not be a message from me some weeks or you might get a double message sometimes! Blame them, not me!
    
Can you believe it's the end of November? I'm now getting ready to publish my November review and December preview and I don't know where the time is going! I've had a good week again for reading and TV so overall it's been a good month. I hope for a strong winter! It has been dang cold this week so I'm in my leopard print onesie in front of a warm fire but that is a sight that nobody should ever be subjected to! *giggles* The Black Friday sales have been a bit disappointing this year with none of the box sets I'm looking for being reduced which is quite annoying. I consoled myself with a few Game of Thrones related things which I'll show later in my post so that cheered me up!
 
Now, I did pick up a few ebook bargains this week including the Mira Gibson books FREE...yes all three were free so there was no good reason not to grab them on the spot. I read the first Gail Z Martin book and liked the story but was unsure how much I liked it-but decided to grab book 2 anyway and see what it was like. Cold Hollow sounded intriguing and was free so I grabbed it as well. Barb of course bullied me into buying the illustrated Game of Thrones edition so I take no responsibility for that purchase! I am looking forward to watching series 6 of Game of Thrones next month as I need to get a few more books read before November ends.
 
DOWNLOADS:
 
 
 
 
 
HARDBACKS:
 
 

 

So I grabbed a few other GoT related stuff including T shirts, mugs and The Three Eyed Raven! How cool is he!
 
 

That will be me all set for the excitement of viewing series 6 next week. No spoilers for the season please!
 

Book Review: Left for Dead by Beck Weathers


Anyone who read Jon Krakauer's account of the 1996 Everest disaster, Into Thin Air, will be aware of the story of Beck Weathers: the gregarious Texan climber who went snow-blind in the Death Zone below the summit and who spent a night out in the open during a blizzard that took the lives of a dozen colleagues and friends. Even as he staggered back into Camp 4 the next morning, Beck's condition was such that the other survivors assumed he would not make it back down the mountain. He was effectively left for dead, but drawing upon reserves of determination and courage he didn't know he had - as well as the extraordinary selflessness and bravery of a Nepalese helicopter pilot he'd never met - he finally made it to safety. Only then could a new battle begin: to rebuild his life with a family he'd taken for granted for too long.

My Review: 
This was the book that I had been looking forward to reading since I first read Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster many years ago. The amazing survival of a man left out in the snow to die for more than a day, who got up and staggered back into camp on his own, is quite a story. The problem with this book is that I expected most of it to be devoted to that story, when in fact only 89 pages related to the 1996 Everest disaster.

Beck Weathers is a selfish man. I'm not saying that to be spiteful, merely to indicate a point-mountain climbers are selfish. They admit to it themselves. You have to be, if you are going to take part in a dangerous activity that will probably kill you eventually, putting your ambitions ahead of your family, and leaving them at home in fear over whether or not you are going to come back alive. I can't imagine what it must be like for the wives and children of climbers but at the same time I do get the lure of these beautiful mountains. There are some really bad moments before Everest like when Beck feels suicidal at one stage and blames it on Peach not supporting him and his climbing hobby, and abandoning his family on a holiday to spend all his time drinking or climbing. How she stayed with him then I'll never know.

In this book, Beck's wife is at the end of her tether with his climbing career when he tells her that he is going to Everest and spending about $60000 on the trip. She is already considering divorcing him and you can understand why. Beck tells the reader that he suffered badly from depression, which I certainly relate to, and that discovering climbing helped him to cope with it. The problem is that it quickly became an obsession and he withdrew emotionally from his family when he was home from climbing. I can imagine the frustration of his wife Peach and how miserable it would be for his kids growing up with a father who seemed to care little about them. It is difficult to like the man and frankly I would have divorced him long before Everest came onto the horizon.

Moving on to the climb on Everest, this was the part of the story that interested me most. He talks about his initial friendship with Lou Kasischke and agrees that Jon Krakauer was right in his assessment that Beck never stopped talking and trying to be liked. Most of what he says before the final climb is concerned with his relationship with the team mates that he liked so much. It lets us get to know the team a bit better, which I liked, especially having read a lot of books about this expedition. I thought it was telling that he mentioned that Doug Hansen was ill but totally hell bent on getting to the summit this year.

On the final climb at the Balcony, Beck starts to have issues with his sight, possibly related to an eye operation 18 months earlier. After realising that it was not going to improve, he sat down to wait and see if the sun coming up would help with the intent of retreating down the mountain with help if it didn't. This is where the crazy stuff comes in. He should have been sent down with a Sherpa or a guide instead of being ordered to say there until Rob returned from the summit so Rob knew where he was and hadn't fell off the mountain or something. This meant Beck rejected offers of help from others to get him down safely much earlier ie from Frank and Stuart. It is insane that he was told to do this and led to him coming down the mountain as the storm hit, something that almost killed him.

Beck then talks about the sheer horror of being lost in the storm with no vision and extreme conditions, all of them afraid that they were going to die. Charlotte crying that she wanted to die quickly, Yasuko holding a hand out to Neal as he went for help, Sandy crying that she didn't want to die...it was really sad and moving. Beck has a lot to say about how Anatoli deserted his clients going up the mountain but risked his life in the storm to save them but that Beck and Yasuko from Rob's team were left to die. Beck does say that Anatoli should be remembered as a hero regardless of earlier events. His account of later events matches Jon Krakauer's.

Beck is scathing that Yasuko was not given the dignity of dying in a tent instead of being left out in the snow. I'm sure I'm not the only reader who wonders if she could have been saved if brought back to camp when first found. He also talks about waking up and finding the strength and will to get back to camp and live, which was fascinating. Even then his ordeal was not over. With everyone thinking he'd die in the night, he was left alone in a tent being attacked by the storm where he feared being blown off the South Col. Nice. His team prepared to go down the mountain the next day without checking on him until Jon Krakauer looked in and found him alive and upset. We then get the story of how he was nursed by the IMAX team and flown off the mountain by a brave pilot.

The rest of the book covers Beck's life before and after Everest. After coming back, he has to battle the injuries he received due to the frostbite and a year long battle to stop his wife divorcing him. Overall the book was a decent read and if you want a book with real insight into the life of an amateur climber with family issues living through a big disaster, that is what you get here. If you are looking for a more in depth look at the disaster itself, there are plenty good books about it to choose from.  

Read June 2016.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

Friday, 25 November 2016

This Is My Genre Tell Me Yours Book Tag

 
  • Credit myself Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, either use the created tag name graphic or create your own and link back to my blog.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag as many people as you want.
1) What's your favourite genre?


Apocalypse dystopia! This basically covers pandemics, EMPs, solar flares, asteroids, zombie apocalypse, super volcano eruption and any other end of the world scenario!

2) Who's your favourite author from the genre?

In such a wide ranging genre it is impossible to pick a favourite author. I love Robert Boren, Darrell Maloney, Michael Stephen Fuchs, ZA Recht, Steven Jenkins, Melanie Karsak, Franklin Horton, John Marsden, Bobby Andrews, James Hunt, Stephen Knight, Eli Constant...

3) What is it about the genre that keeps pulling you back? 

There is so much to love in this genre! We get the excitement of an outbreak of flu or ebola or zombies, then the complete breakdown of society as people struggle to survive, preppers getting ready for what they know is coming and dealing with survival, ordinary people trying to learn to adapt to a scary world, the military getting ready for a dangerous mission to rescue a scientist with a cure or get rid of the zombies...there are so many scenarios in these different disasters that I never get bored with it. Road trips, rescue missions, dodging zombies on supply runs, terror, tension...lovely!

4) What's the book that started your love for your favourite genre?

Hmm, this is tricky...my first book that was apocalypic was Stephen King 'The Stand' back in the 90's or something but my obsession with these books really began when I discovered prepper fiction which has the disasters, the preparing for it and adapting after it, and is generally very fast paced. The first of these I read was:


5) If you had to recommend at least one book from your favourite genre to a non reader/someone looking to start reading that genre, what book would you choose and why?

I don't make recommendations except to my dad who has similar book tastes to me. So I'll adapt the question and say that if you like books that show you before during and after a disaster, take a look at Darrell Maloney and Franklin Horton. If you like zombies try ZA Recht and Michael Stephen Fuchs who write awesome scary ass zombies at a pace that you won't believe!

6) Why do you read?   

I've always loved diving into new worlds and adventures, and there is nothing like when you find that brilliant book that makes you forget everything else! There is so much choice in books and so much to experience...why would I NOT read???!!! 

Thanks to Beth for posting her tag answers on  https://betwixtthesepages.wordpress.com/
and now I tag anyone interested in doing the tag. If you do, please tell me in the comments section so I can visit your post!

Book Review: Just for the love of it by Cathy O'Dowd


This is the original hardback edition and it tells the story of Cathy O'Dowd's first three Everest expeditions: her successful ascent of the south col route in 1996 (becoming the 1st South African to climb Everest), her unsuccessful attempt on the north ridge route in 1998 and her successful return in 1999 (1st woman in the world to climb Everest from both sides).

My Review: 
Cathy does not waste time talking endlessly about her childhood and youth, which I was pleased about. She starts with brief mentions of a few early climbs that she did before reading about a South African contest to recruit women for an attempt on Everest. She is brutal about her opinion of the other women she was competing with and describes how those on the shortlist went on a final selection hike on Kilimanjaro, during which she and Deshun are chosen for Base Camp.

It is probably a good time to point out that the South African expedition to Everest in 1996 are blamed in other books for failing to assist in the disaster rescue and that leader Ian Woodall was not liked by any other expedition leader. I'm not going to go into any of that in this review. I am talking in this review about what is happening within this team at war, the quality of the writing and storytelling, not going moral or deciding if people are lying. I'm mentioning it in case others who have read Into Thin Air etc comment on me not talking about the allegations here.

The first obvious thing about the Everest team is that they were not a team from the start. The men, with the exception of Bruce, did not like the way that Ian was running the team and were in rebellion. This seems to be accepted by all sides though opinions differ as to who was right. Based on Cathy's opinion, the others were said to complain about sponsorship duties, the equipment, how Ian was handling things and about the expedition in general. The journalists who were with the team to send reports did not get on with Ian either. Cathy indicates that Ken was unfit, rude, racist, bigoted and complained about everything as he didn't want that assignment. I need to point out that the jounalist in question wrote his own book with his side of the story which I haven't read so I can't comment on who is right. Either way, morale was low before they started.

One thing in the book which is verified by another book is the ongoing saga of the team doctor Charlotte. Cathy claims that she was always going off without telling people where she was going, so that when she was needed to treat someone, she could never be found. It is also claimed that she neglected her patients, was always late, upset the Sherpas by dressing in skimpy clothing and never did what she was told, leading to her being fired several times before reaching Base Camp. At Base Camp, Charlotte was looking to climb with a different team and asked Goran Kropp, a solo climber, to be put on his expedition which he agreed to on the condition that she had a permit before climbing. On finding out that she went into the Icefall with no permit, he kicked her out and a liason officer ejected her from Base Camp. This was in his book and it backs up what the South African leadership said about Charlotte, so it looks clear that she was indeed a problem.

Charlotte's alleged affair with a married climber is said to have got the other climbers on her side, leading to the other men quitting the expedition. It did not provide a good start for the remaining team members. I will be talking about the Everest expedition itself in my review of 'Free to Decide' the book about the 1996 Everest trip written by Cathy and Ian.

After the 1996 expedition Ian and Cathy set up their own climbing company and decide to do another climbing competition to select new team members for an attempt on the north face of Everest. Selection takes place on Aconcagua but at Everest Base Camp, Cathy and Ian are not impressed that the chosen climbers and Base Camp manager quit because of the cold weather, altitude and conditions! It kind of makes you wonder what they thought they were signing up to...5 star hotels and a beach holiday? For Cathy, all of this pales in comparison to being confronted by a dying climber high on Everest.

I found this book to have lots of interesting detail and Cathy tells the story clearly in a way that non climbers like myself can understand . With her description of the landscape and conditions, it is easy to imagine yourself there and what it must really be like. I enjoyed the book and I liked getting some background to the in fighting in the South African team.

Read June 2016. 
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Book Review: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer


A bank of clouds was assembling on the not-so-distant horizon, but journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer, standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, saw nothing that "suggested that a murderous storm was bearing down." He was wrong. The storm, which claimed five lives and left countless more--including Krakauer's--in guilt-ridden disarray, would also provide the impetus for Into Thin Air, Krakauer's epic account of the May 1996 disaster.

My Review: 
This is an updated review, written after I've read more books on the 1996 Everest disaster and had a chance to compare and contrast the accounts of survivors.

Jon Krakauer is asked to go on a commercial Everest climb to write an article for a magazine. What begins as an assignment turns into disaster when his team and several others are caught high on the mountain during a savage storm that will claim lives. This is the personal experience of a man who survived while watching disaster unfold around him and he is not shy at pointing the finger at those he felt were in the wrong. He was on the team of experienced guide Rob Hall, a man with an excellent record for success and safety, who was under pressure for a successful year with a journalist writing about what was happening on the mountain. Rob has a newer younger rival Scott Fischer leading a rival team which adds to the sense of getting results to prove that your team is the one to sign up to. It was a friendly rivalry that that fatal consequences.

I was gripped, disgusted, shocked, appalled and saddened as I made my way through this amazing book. The author has a real gift for enveloping you in the story and sweeping you along on a wave of emotion, caring about those who died, were injured, who survived. The reader feels as if they are there on the frozen slopes, battling the cold and fatigue, running out of oxygen and simple brain function and wondering if they are going to get out of this alive. Bad decision making, poor planning, a brutal storm and summit fever combine to take the lives of people who could have survived if the basic rules of safety had been followed. That is the real tragedy-it could have been prevented.

The author looks at a lot of things in this book which I'll give you an idea of here without telling the whole story:
-lack of Everest experience in Rob Hall's guides or 8000m climbs by clients
-inexperienced climbers slowing everyone down
-bottleneck cost hours of time which led to people running out of oxygen and getting down too late
-nobody fixed the ropes needed ahead of the final climb causing huge delays
-having a journalist raised the stakes and others did not want to talk to him or be written about
-lack of planning led to extra trips up for Scott Fischer to help his team prior to final push
-Doug Hansen quits but Rob Hall gets him going up again, which dooms them and Andy Harris
-turnaround time never set or enforced
-lack of oxygen supplies and systems not working
-Beck Weathers abandoned for hours instead of being helped down
-poor radio contact between guides and with other camps

Other things covered in the book are the accidents involving Sherpas in the early part of the expedition, the deaths of a couple of people before the summit push and mistakes that the author saw in who was chosen to join the team and how he evaluated their climbing skills. Not all of what he had to say about his team and rival teams were complimentary and some of it was challenged in other books. There also seemed to be friction between Scott and Anatoli over decisions made with Anatoli indicating that clients had to have the ability to climb or not be there at all, instead of having their hands held by Sherpas.

The Russian guide Anatoli Boukreev comes in for a lot of criticism in this book by the author for doing his climb solo, without oxygen and not assisting any of his team up or down the mountain. In other books, he is treated more sympathetically. Lou Kasischke in his book After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy—One Survivor's Story indicates that Anatoli was not in favour of doing the climb on that day and said so, and that he spent time on the mountain fixing ropes that others were meant to have fixed. If he did something wrong, blame can then be placed at his team leader for allowing him to do his own thing. I'm not going to further comment until I read his book The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev which is on my tbr. It must be pointed out that whether you think he did wrong on the climb based on this book, he did risk his life to save others later on during the search. What I did find appalling was the treatment of Beck Weathers, who was found several times not far from camp but who was just left to die without even trying to save him. Bringing him the short distance to a tent to give him a chance seemed the least they could have done, and he was then abandoned overnight with nobody looking after him because they gave up on him a second time. The fact that this man survived is a damn miracle as seen in his book Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest by Beck Weathers It makes me sadly ask the question-had they brought Yasuko Namba to the tent when they first found her, could she have lived? It is heartbreaking to think of that.

I have sympathy for anyone who made mistakes during the confusion and fear in the storm, and you have to factor in the oxygen shortage and mental impairment of being at such high altitude when judging the actions of people. I think unless you have experienced that environment, you can't really know what it is like and its easy to shove blame around. The heroes of this book who surrendered their own ambition for the summit to help the victims deserve a special mention here as well, like the IMAX team.

Now, the team accused of doing nothing to help in the crisis was the South African team led by Ian Woodall. I was outraged in this book that any team could withhold a working radio and supplies that could save lives to keep them for their own summit bid later, when others like IMAX gave up everything they had. Having since read other books including their own account of the events, I found myself somewhat confused by what part they really played. Yes I imagine their own account has to be looked at with a degree of suspicion as it would be written for damage control and to restore their reputation while some books don't even mention the South Africans. The general thoughts of most people involved was that they refused to help and that their leader was unwilling to cooperate with other teams before and during.

BUT. There are several things that really concern me. Amateurs who have no business being on that mountain are a danger to everyone-the Sherpas, the guides and their fellow climbers. I firmly believe that you should not be given a permit to climb unless you have proved yourself to a certain standard first. It won't stop the deaths on Everest as accidents and illnesses will always occur but it might reduce it. Experienced guides made bad decisions that cost lives because they didn't stick to their own rules so future guides MUST enforce this however sad it is for those who are turned back before the summit. I can understand the appeal and lure of the mountain. I have always wanted to go to base camp to photograph the mountain, and I'm addicted to watching TV programmes and reading books about these amazing mountains and the expeditions on them. But until the amateurs realise that it is not a game, until proper regulation comes in to police the expedition leaders and their clients, I'm afraid we are going to be reading a lot more disaster books like this one.

Other books about this disaster include:

Doctor on Everest: Emergency Medicine at the Top of the World - A Personal Account of the 1996 Disaster by Kenneth Kamler
The Death Zone: Climbing Everest Through the Killer Storm by Matt Dickinson
Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season by Nick Heil
The Storms: Adventure and tragedy on Everest by Mike Trueman
Everest: Free to Decide by Cathy O'Dowd 


re-read June 2016
star rating photo: 5 Star Rating 5stars.jpg