2020 began, and among my long list of resolutions for the year was to read at least 50 books by the end of the year. Making me have to read about one book a week. My first week assignment was “Into Thin Air”, composed by the brilliant journalist and adventure enthusiast- Jon Krakauer.
I usually don’t prefer non-fiction, I don’t find them captivating enough for my taste. But this book was one I was inclined towards reading ever since I watched Everest (yes, I watched the movie before reading the book). Another reason I was interested in this work of art was because I personally like adventure based, adrenaline rushing sports- giving me a sense of excitement about the idea of doing similar activities some time in the future.
Much like almost any other piece of non-fiction, “Into Thin Air”, too, had a bitter, slow start. But, once the book caught on, it had me transfixed, the way those high altitude climbers were, clinging to the face of that very, very high ice wall.
Into Thin Air is an account portraying the 1996 disaster at Mount Everest- in which eight climbers succumbed to the wrath of nature, and numerous others were stranded in the storm. What makes the book great is that it isn’t just a detailed account of how there was a disaster due to the commercialization of altitude chasing madness. It is a personal account. The author- Jon Krakauer was very much face to face with this tremendously dangerous, traumatizing event. Also, Jon being a detail oriented journalist, his account is truly a masterpiece, a masterpiece he lived, felt. He makes no attempt at leaving out the emotional aspect of his experience, his own guilt of how his actions and impromptu decisions may have caused the deaths of his fellow climbing colleagues.
Into Thin Air will give you a swing of emotions. The book seems is almost human, it has lived- faced life, at its worst, and at its best. You’ll be furious, you’ll smile, you’ll be sad, and you’ll be relieved. All these emotions towards the book itself. You’ll share mixed feeling towards the author too. Unlike fiction, you’ll see how his decisions and actions were, even though sometimes harsh, were all human. It is trult a fascinating, exhilarating, and sobering read.