The Art of Discovery & Adventure

While poking around the new book shelves at the Library, I found a title that was as timely as it was fascinating.

Explorers’ Sketchbooks by Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Herbert details photographic examples of the journals created by explorers throughout history.  I was intrigued by the personal nature of some of the entries — words that described discoveries the explorers themselves encountered.   Some of the familiar names that popped off the pages were Roald Amundsen, John James Audubon, Charles Darwin, Thor Heyerdahl, and so many others.

One of my personal favorites in the book was the journal of Edmund Hillary, the New Ze32784264aland explorer, who with Tenzing Norgay, became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953, on a page with the heading, “The Summit,” Hillary wrote that he peeped out their tent and “indulged in the sensations of gazing over the world from our lofty perch.”

I like to journal and sketch.  Throughout the years I have sporadically maintained a personal diary.  I have created scrapbooks with magazine clippings that were embellished with drawings from my own hand.  I have detailed trips in marble-covered theme books.

More recently, I have returned to journaling and sketching and have plans to chronicle future adventures.  Explorers’ Sketchbooks was a beautiful book about the art of discovery.  I look forward to following the example of my fellow explorers.


Suicide in YA Literature

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the 15- to 24-year-old age group.  That’s an alarming statistic overall, but particularly sad for an age group that could have so much to live for.

Young adult literature addresses dark topics, including depression and suicide, and there’s been a noticeable increase in the the number of titles published that explore the topic. I nivenrecently read two books that tackle suicide and depression in very different ways, but both in a very forthcoming and head-on manner.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is about two teens who meet on the ledge of the bell tower at their high school.  Theodore is obsessed with death and how he might kills himself, while Violet, trying to escape the memories of her sister’s death, dreams of the future.  The two embark on a class project together, with Violet learning to surpass her grief and live life.  But Theodore’s issues grow and overpower his will to live.

In I Was Here by Gayle Forman, Cody is overwhelmed by grief when her best friend killformans herself by ingesting a bottle of cleaning fluid.  What ensues is a murder mystery into Cody’s investigation of her friend’s death—a journey into the seduction of suicide and the seductive online groups that encourage it.

Both titles were extraordinarily complex, but I Was Here is darker and more graphic in its approach.  In fact, the title has received many opposing viewpoints in the reviews, but is popular with the teen crowd, as are most books by Forman.  All the Bright Places is Niven’s first young adult novel, is a New York Times bestseller, and is soon to be a major motion picture