Screen Name Required

A screen name is required for sharing content on REI. Click here to create a screen name before continuing.

Set screen name

The Beauty of Books (and Calendars): Great Reads for Outdoor-Minded People

Dear fans of the printed word: If, like me, you pitch your tent in the philosophical camp where physical books are still considered cherished objects and viewed as a valid art form, here is a sampling of noteworthy outdoor titles, new or recent releases, for your consideration as the calendar guides us into the gleaming corridor of gift-gifting season…

My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir (100th Anniversary Illustrated Edition). A recipient of a 2011 National Outdoor Book Award, this handsomely illustrated, medium-format volume (10 ½" x 9 ¼") presents a 21st century makeover of Muir's first book, a journal of his initial travels in the Sierra, written in 1869 and first published in 1911.

Beyond the book's modern-day embellishments, it's Muir's prose that glows the brightest, as exhibited in this dawn-to-dusk recollection of a favorite campsite:

"The rose light creeping higher among the stars, changing to daffodil yellow, the level beams bursting forth, streaming across the ridges, touching pine after pine, awakening and warming all the mighty host to do gladly their shining day's work. The great sun-gold noons, the alabaster cloud-mountains, the landscape beaming with consciousness like the face of a god. The sunsets, when the trees stood hushed awaiting their good-night blessings. Divine, enduring, unwastable wealth."

LPThe Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World, by the Lonely Planet staff (second edition).

This classic tome from Lonely Planet has been updated for 2011 and is gorged with lovely photographs. A splendid armchair companion for anyone acquainted with wanderlust.

To get your kids jazzed about travel, Lonely Planet also offers a clever companion volume, The Not-For-Parents Travel Book

50Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills: 50th anniversary edition hardcover, by The Mountaineers, the respected Seattle-based outdoor club. (A softcover edition is also available.) A comprehensive text, updated for 2011, that covers seemingly every conceivable aspect of outdoor exploration, from food to first aid. For a stocking-stuffer, consider the Freedom of the Hills card deck, 52 legit playing cards (weighing in at a collective 3.5 ounces) that also offer quick-reference bits of sage advice, from The Ten Essentials to the basics of self-arrest to tips on staying safe during a lightning storm.

Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair (second ed.), by Park Tool. A popular, comprehensive guide to bike repair. Loaded with photos; a solid repair manual for almost any bike—road, mountain, commuter, BMX or comfort bike.

Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth, by Michael Sandler. A new edition of this popular guide to natural-motion running technique offers lots of useful advice to converts.

For Kids

kidsGo Wild: 101 Things to Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up, by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks. Tips for many outdoor skills, including how to start a fire without matches.

Teaching Kids to Love the Earth, by 4 parents. A collection of 186 be-kind-to-the-planet activities

Let's Go Chipper! Into the Great Outdoors (book/DVD/CD combo).  Targeted at the under-6 years old set. A colleague tells me her young relative loves to sing along with the CD and DVD. This item is due to arrive at REI stores and in the next few days. If it's not available right away, check back in a day or 2.

SCPhoto Calendars

• For nature photography fans: Sierra Club Wilderness, both the wall calendar and the spiral-bound engagement planner are perennial top sellers.

• Another eye-worthy 2012 choice for natural scenery: the Audubon National Parks wall calendar.

• For cyclists: the Velo News calendar.

• For runners: the Runners World calendar.

climb• For climbers: the Onsight Photography World Climbing calendar.

Posted on at 12:08 PM

Tagged: books, calendars and gifts

Ratings and Comments

(0) (0)
write a comment
You already voted on this.
Log in to comment or rate.

Hey T.D.,
Leslie here from Amber Lotus Publishing.
We were really psyched when REI picked up our Wanderlust calendar.
Would love to get your two cents on it...
... here's the link -

and a little overview:
Wanderlust: Trekking the Road Less Traveled wall calendar.
Spectacular photographs of less-traveled paths are paired with quotes from great walking enthusiasts past and present, including John Muir, Gary Snyder and Henry David Thoreau.

Flag as Inappropriate

Flagging Questionable Content Protects the Community at

In what way this content is inappropriate? Please check one:

More Details (Optional)

Submit answer


Unable to Post Comment

We were unable to post your comment at this time. Your opinion matters, so please try again later.

  • Most Recent
  • Most Commented

    No entries found

    No entries found