Top Five: Books About Survival

It’s top five Wednesday everyone. This week’s prompt was to come up with a book list for a class on [fill in the blank]. I chose a survival theme, but not just outdoor, in the woods survival. I tried to cover as many aspects of the word ‘survival’ as I could. I’ve put together a mix of research based, cheeky, and emotional reads that I think speak to all the different meanings ‘survival’ can have.

Ruthless River by Holly FitzGerald

This is a powerful story of survival in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, the Amazon Jungle. Ruthless River isn’t a manual on the technical aspects of survival. Holly FitzGerald takes us on a journey with her as her honeymoon turns into a battle for survival. After their plane crashes in the jungle, they build a raft and become hopelessly lost in the maze of tributaries that branch off the main river. This memoir is a fine example of the mental fortitude and toughness required to make it in such an extreme survival situation. Holly lets us in on her state of mind and shares the memories that kept her going and ultimately helped her get out alive.

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Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

Veil of Roses is a story of expat survival in a foreign country. Laura Fitzgerald is a twenty-seven year old Iranian that is sent to America by her parents in hopes that she will find a husband and a new life. She takes us along for the journey as she navigates freedom she has never known in this new to her world, often with hilarious results. It’s fascinating to see America through the eyes of someone from a world that is so different. By way of comparison, we also learn about Iranian culture along the way. Veil of Roses is also a story of forbidden love, and making difficult choices in the face of generational and cultural differences.

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Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Prozac Nation is an iconic memoir about surviving your own demons. Some critics say this book is self absorbed. I think it’s a highly accurate depiction of what depression looks like. It’s a self absorbed illness. You might even know you are being self absorbed, but find yourself unable to stop it. Your reality becomes warped and vastly different from real reality. That’s part of the illness. The last I read this book was in high school, but it still has a spot on my bookshelf for how much it spoke to me at the time. It inspired hope to see someone coming out of what I felt like I was going through. The book was made into a movie of the same name.

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

This one is a little different from the others on the list so far. Quiet is a research based book all about the science of being an introvert and how to use it to your advantage. It’s something of a manual for how to survive and even thrive as an introvert in a world that doesn’t favor you. It also goes into reasons and theories about why our society has come to favor extroverts like it has. Quiet has been on my list to read for a while, but I haven’t been committed enough to get too far in because of how dense it is. It is well written, but there’s a wealth of information packed into this one.

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Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown

Adulting is a cute book full of life advice on how to survive adult life, aimed at millennials. I have the first edition, but it looks like they’ve updated and added some content in a new edition. It has all the important information that your parents thought school should teach you, and that school thought your parents should teach you, so nobody ended up actually teaching you. There are sections on how to build your credit, be financially responsible, navigate the real job world, how to cook and keep up with your household. There are also some sections on personal relationships that may or may not be helpful.

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