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I had a hell of a time writing my Outside Online story, Before Cheryl Met Oprah: 5 Other Outdoor Adventure Memoirs by Women. When I pitched it, I’d had an idea of the books I wanted to include in the list, but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t overlooking anything crucial — and as I googled and cruised the library stacks and asked friends and colleagues for recommendations, the job got harder and harder. Turns out I was tapping into a seriously rich vein.

Here are some of the female-authored outdoor adventure books that didn’t wind up on the final Outside list, but which have definitely landed on my personal To-Read list:

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A couple of quick notes: First, this past Friday at World Hum was devoted to “Up in the Air,” the travel-themed movie that looks set to tear up the awards circuit this year. It was adapted from a Walter Kirn novel of the same name, which Jim and Mike have been keeping tabs on since World Hum was brand new. (Among other things, the novel is the source of one of our main themes – “Airworld.”)

Here’s our coverage:

Beyond Airworld – A look at “the bittersweet challenge of the traveler’s life”

A video interview with director Jason Reitman and author Walter Kirn

A whole whack of links related to the movie, the book and Airworld in general

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but here’s hoping it makes it this far north.

Second, I’m thrilled to see that a travel book has FINALLY made its way into the What is Stephen Harper Reading? project. If you’re not familiar, WISHR is author Yann Martel’s one-man effort to make our illustrious Prime Minister more appreciative of the arts – or, in his own words, “to make suggestions to his stillness” – by sending him a series of carefully chosen books. The latest? “Tropic of Hockey” by former Rheostatics frontman Dave Bidini. Here’s what Martel had to say in his accompanying letter to the PM:

Tropic of Hockey is about one man’s love for the game and his quest for its soul. This quest leads him to places where you wouldn’t expect to see ice hockey. And as different as those places are, the spirit of the game, by Bidini’s reckoning, burns with the same intensity as it does in his rec league in Toronto. He finds in Harbin, northern China, in Dubai, in Miercurea Ciuc, Transylvania, the refreshing purity of a game that is not mere entertainment but a way of meeting and being, hockey as culture rather than business, “the spirituality of sports, sports as life,” as he puts it at one point.

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a couple of years now, so thanks, Yann Martel, for the reminder. (And for the effort to expand Prime Minister Harper’s stillness, too.)

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