Reading Together

damien's picture
Submitted by damien on

Evenings are for inspiration. One of the activities we are doing towards this end is to read books together. But not just any books.

My children love fantasy books, books about knights, castles, ninjas, magic, fantastical odysseys... anything with a good rollicking adventure (as I am sure most kids do). I am fine with them reading this stuff on their own, but when it comes to our family reading time, I am looking for something real. I am looking for stories about real people in the real world, in our time, living unconventional and adventurous lives. I am especially looking for stories about families. I don't want them to grow up thinking that life is only interesting in imaginary worlds, or eras gone by, but that there is excitement, adventure, and things worthy of living for going on right here and now. I want them to know that there are people just like us who are doing it.

The latest book we just completed is called Zero Days:

"Zero Days" is the true story of how two middle-aged Californians and their daughter hiked the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail in 2004. Published by Wilderness Press in Berkeley in 2008, "Zero Days" tells the tale of the trail from the viewpoint of author Barbara Egbert, photographer Gary Chambers and 10-year-old Mary, aka Scrambler, as they learned which family values could survive six months of blisters, dirt, and extraordinary exertion amidst some of the world's most spectacular scenery.

One of my dreams is to do a long distance thru-hike with our family. We have been casually talking about this for about a year and a half now. I figured reading about someone else doing it would be a good next step. So far, I am happy to report that after reading the book we aren't deterred yet. Whether or not we could ever logistically make something like that happen remains to be seen. Maybe I am a little crazy, but I like to dream big and see what transpires ;-)

Looking for some inspirational winter reading?

Now that we have finished the book, I would like to give it away! I am going to give it away to one lucky commenter. There are a few strings attached to this offer:

  • You must read this book aloud together as a family. If you don't have kids yet, then just reading aloud to your spouse will do. If you aren't married yet, then read it aloud to your fiance, or girlfriend... or parents... ? Just don't read it alone!
  • You must give away the book when you are done. Pass it on to the next person so that they can be inspired and encouraged. Try to give it to someone who would appreciate it. If you don't know of anyone, pass it on to one of the other commenters on this post. Lets try to encourage more families to read adventure stories together.
  • After you have finished reading it, come back here and leave a comment to let us know how it went.

The deadline for entries will be in one week, midnight on Friday January 29th.

Do you have any book recommendations?

We would love to hear about any books that you would recommend. Do you know of any good stories about people (especially families) doing interesting things in our time? Let us know!

Update February 1, 2010: Congratulations go out to Granola Girl who was randomly selected as the winner. We look forward to hearing back from you after you have read the book.



I have been reading selected

I have been reading selected chapters from Joe Kurmaskie's books "Momentum is your Friend" and "Mud, Sweat and Gears" to my kids. Some (many) of the chapters deal with issues that might be innapropriate or boring for my 6 year old. Both books are very positive tales of family adventure. "Momentum" is Joe's account of riding a bike/trail-a-bike/trailer with his two sons across the US and "Mud, Sweat and Gears" is an account of a family tour (including a 1 year old) across Western Canada.
Both books are very inspirational, especially for bicycle obsessed dads.


I am only 2/3 of the way

I am only 2/3 of the way through it, but Mud, Sweat and Gears has lots of good "I love my wife stories" in it (boring for the kids) as well as some good adventure stories. Momentum is your Friend had more adventure but lacked the crucial wife/mom element.


I'd love to read the book.

Doing a thru-hike of the AT, PCT or CD trails as well as cycling across the U.S. are both on my "life list." My kids (both 9) love hiking and camping, but I'm not sure they're quite up for a 1,600+ mile jaunt.

Perhaps the book will inspire them.



Zero days

I would love the opportunity to read this with my family and then to pass it on...what a great idea!! I have been trying to come up with more ways to spend quality time together as a family. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts about reading stories of real families and adventures, not just imaginary. You have already inspired me. Thank you!!

PCT fun

It's been my dream to hike the PCT ever since I was a ranger on the Inyo National Forest (east side of the Sierras, south of Yosemite--the PCT goes through it). Now that I have kids, I think about doing it with them one day. They are only 1.5 and 3, so it will be a few years, but it would be so fun to read about a family that did it.

I'll give it away on my blog, if I win!

Thanks for passing the book along to someone.


My father, brother, and I hiked 2/3 of the PCT one year when my brother was 13 and I was 12. It was awesome. My father was a Hot Shot for the forest service and spent time making topographical maps when he was in college. We learned so much. Our family is currently planning on starting long distance hikes with our son at about 9. The Barracuda really wants to do the AT like his father did.

It is so great that you are reading aloud as a family. What an incredible way to talk about stories, writing, and adventure. Passing the books along is a wonderful idea as well!

What a great giveaway with

What a great giveaway with wonderful rules. We read aloud as a family (kids 12, 9, 4, 3) though the little ones aren't interested and make it hard to read about their talking. Still, I think it is good they are in the room with us. We haven't read any real life adventure books though that is a GREAT idea. I'd love to hear some of your other suggestions. Our last great readaloud was The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Highly recommended though I was crying too hard at the end to continue and had to let my husband take over.

Great idea

Thanks for your generous writing. Each time I visit adventure in progress I'm inspired to work more towards our family doing adventure together. Honestly there's been a bit of an adventure diet here with our kids ages and injury so inspiration is just what we need.

thanks for the

thanks for the recommendation. it isn't one i have heard of and we have a lot of hiking, climbing, and adventure books. our family is slowly finding our way back to a lifestyle we used to have and wish we still had. we are a bit stuck with employment and blah blah blah, but the spirit is still there. my brother recently hiked the entire tahoe rim trail (parts of which overlap with the PCT, which he has also hiked big chunks of.) hiking with kids would take us a lot longer in a single stretch, but we have hiked sections of it at different times.

sorry i am just seeing this

sorry i am just seeing this post, but i think you and renee would love to read your kids BUD AND ME, a true story about two young boys who crossed the country BY THEMSELVES in the early 1900's. we loved it!