One beautiful aspect of reading is that it affords us the opportunity to experience vicariously things that we might never do in real life. And sometimes we’re satisfied and sometimes we long for more.
For example, on the one hand, as much as I like to keep my options open to pursue new adventures, I can say with some certainty that I will never climb Mount Everest in this lifetime. Reading INTO THIN AIR, Jon Krakauer’s gripping account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, was more than enough climbing excitement for me.
By contrast, THE ELEPHANT WHISPERER, Lawrence Anthony’s narrative about how he rescued a herd of “rogue” wild elephants and became friends with them, made me want to go on an African safari. I’ve never really considered going on a safari before: it seems like something only rich people and Ernest Hemingway would do. But Anthony’s description of life on Thula Thula, a game reserve in Zululand, South Africa, makes it seem magical. And dangerous. But magical.
His story of how he developed a relationship with these elephants, who had been poorly treated by other humans, is by turns suspenseful, stunning, and moving. As someone who knew virtually nothing about elephants before reading this book, I was amazed at their almost mystical communication skills. For details—and a poignant experience—you should read the book.
(PS—Many thanks to my friend Linda Brown for the gift of this book!)