Adventuring with a Book

by Alyssa Yenzer

Adventuring with a Book

By Jared Richards, Adult & Teen Services Assistant Supervisor

Every adventure starts with a good book, at least mine do. When a potential adventure is presented tome, the first thing I do is look for a book. I’m generally not one for spontaneity – I’m not going to jump in headfirst without first figuring out how deep the water is. I like knowing what I’m getting myself into, and how to get out of it.

I will admit I’m fairly liberal with my use of the word “adventure.” Not to the extent that “awesome” or “amazing” get thrown around, but I don’t restrict the definition to something unusual or hazardous. I’ve had some pretty great, mundane adventures. My working definition for an adventure is any activity, preferably a fun one, that has an unknown outcome. Like going to the grocery store after they’ve rearranged the aisles, or going left instead of right on a poorly-marked trail. I would classify those as adventures that are more on the mundane side, and they don’t necessarily require a book. So let’s go bigger.

I discovered “Out on the Wire” by Jessica Abel when looking for books about podcasting. A podcast is basically an on-demand radio show that you can listen to whenever you want,wherever you are. “Out on the Wire” gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the most popular narrative storytelling shows on NPR are made. For fans of “This American Life,” “The Moth,” “Snap Judgment,” and “Serial,” Abel’s book offers insight into how these shows craft their stories, as well as the nuts and bolts of recording audio and then editing those recordings. It may be surprising, but “Out on the Wire” is actually a graphic novel, and that is the perfect medium for breaking down all of the technical information found in this book, making it fun and far less overwhelming. It is also a great book for anyone interested in starting a podcast, because you’re given tips and the lessons learned by some of the most popular podcast creators.

Starting a podcast and broadcasting it to the world is an adventure that can take place from the comfort of your own home. Let’s scale things up a bit now and look at international travel. Again, I’m not one for the hazardous types of adventure. You won’t find me jumping off bridges or climbing Mount Everest, but I would say, within reason, international travels falls within my limits.

Lonely Planet has a series of books called “Make My Day” that include destinations like Barcelona, Paris, and Tokyo, to name a few. The pages of these books are cut into three tiles,the top representing the morning, the middle is the afternoon, and the bottom is the evening. This allows each period of the day to be mixed and matched independently. Lonely Planet gives you their top three perfect days, but you have full control to create your own perfect day. Combine these with a Fodor’s travel guide, which goes into far greater detail, to get the most out of your adventure.

And for the seriously adventurous among us, why not take the reins and fly yourself to your destination? Given the time of year, you might feel compelled to take that literally, but you’ll need to pump the brakes on that sleigh ride. That jolly fellow is probably pretty busy, and I doubt he has any spare reindeer. Alternatively, why not grab the figurative reins, and learn how to fly an actual plane?

The Student Pilot’s Flight Manual” by William K. Kershner covers everything from your first flight to flying at night or cross-country. One of the most interesting bits of information is a list of the types of fields you may have to land in during an emergency, listed from good to very poor. At the top of the list is a pasture, but it is noted that you should land as far away from any cows as you can because they like to eat airplane fabric. Who knew?

This is the perfect segue into a lengthy discussion of all the culinary adventures you can embark on, thanks to our substantial cookbook collection, but with that whetting of your appetite, I’ve run out of time. So, whether you want to create the world’s next viral podcast from the comfort of your home or you want to fill up your passport, the Manhattan Public Library can help you along the way. Come on down and start your next adventure by checking out a book.