Touching the Void

By Joe Simpson,

Book cover of Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival

Book description

Extensive reading is essential for improving fluency
and there is a real need in the ELT classroom for motivating, contemporary
graded material that will instantly appeal to students

Based on the internationally acclaimed book by Joe Simpson, Touching
the Void is the compelling true story of a mountaineering
expedition which…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked Touching the Void as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

After years of vicarious adventure tales like The Coral Island and Treasure Island, as an adult I discovered a new source: true-life adventures. From the voyage of the raft Kon-Tiki to the epic trek by Robyn Davidson across Australia’s cruelest desert, my fascination with the human capacity for survival found a new revival. One of the most riveting books I’ve ever read in this genre is Touching the Void which, although non-fiction, is written in an extraordinarily poetic form by the two survivors, each of whom suffered terrible physical privations and even more terrible moral dilemmas while climbing in…

Mountain climber Joe Simpson’s amazing tale of survival has to be one of the most intense and riveting adventure stories ever published. Here’s the thing—even though I knew he survived his ordeal (because he wrote the book), I couldn’t help being on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it because it seems so impossible that this will end well for him. Simpson fell while hiking in the Andes mountains and his climbing partner was left with the impossible decision to cut the rope that attached them, leaving him behind. Simpson, with horrific injuries, had to…

The original – and many of the best – books about extreme sports are mountaineering books, dating back to a time before the phrase was even coined. This is one of, if not the best of the genre. Joe Simpson’s account of his extraordinary fight for survival after a fall in the Peruvian Andes takes no prisoners. It’s brutal and raw and a wonderful piece of writing. 

I’ve attempted a climb on Denali, the highest peak in North America, and know first-hand the inherent risks of climbing. In Touching the Void, Joe Simpson writes about two ambitious climbers who manage to make a successful first ascent on a route in the Peruvian Andes. On the descent, an accident forces one climber into making a terrible choice.  Riveting, heart-stopping, and utterly wrenching, I honestly could not sleep for several nights after reading this book. This story will make you think about ambition, morality, and the price of the choices we make.

From Kaylene's list on outdoor travel and adventure.

There is no traveling without getting lost. There is no adventure without taking risks. There is no mountaineering without danger. 

Until the early twentieth century, expeditions were mostly driven by the discovery of the last unreached regions of the planet, particularly the North and South Poles. This led to incredible sea adventures along the lines of Shackleton’s expeditions.  After the entire planet was mapped and claimed, adventurers raced toward unclimbed mountaintops. Mountaineering adventures became the modern-day explorations: Annapurna, Everest, K2, and all the mountains and climbing routes that remained to be named and conquered. Many expeditions had their tragic moments,…

From Jean-Philippe's list on exploration, endurance, and world expeditions.

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