Many people look down on this particular form of literature, labeling it as mereescapism. I really don't know why; trying some, any escape is quite legit to me. Happily, many of the best authors agree with that, even those who also wrote other stuff. Some keep to their forte, which is just fine, too. The funny thing to me is that they often seem to be yearning more for adventure than their average reader. Take guys like Desmond Bagley or John D. MacDonald, who sometimes seem to try acting out their Heroes' role.
Like in all literature, there's much horrible stuff on the market. Why even consider those preposterous, racist, sexist and often downright stupid books? But I always do insist upon a measure of plausibility. Which is why I have this personal blacklist to avoid future spending of my dear money on them no-goods.
Yes, I fully agree, not everybody would call these things "Adventure books". I infuse thrillers to make the mixture even richer and headier, who cares about categories, really?
Here's a shortcut alphabetical list to all those on this page
but I'd advise browsing
Desmond Bagley - Lee Child - Arthur Conan Doyle - Peter Fleming - C.S. Forester - Ernest K. Gann - Joseph Garber - Jan de Hartog - Carl Hiaasen - James Hilton - Hammond Innes - Rudyard Kipling - Jack London - Gavin Lyall - John D. MacDonald - Herman Melville - Alain René le Sage - Robert Louis Stevenson - B. Traven - Mark Twain - Jules Verne - H.G. Wells - Yoshikawa Eiji
Not only adventure novels, but some rattlin' good ones!
Ernest K. Gann
ErnieGann is best known for his aviation stories, but there's much more to him than that. Many of his adventure books, especially, have been filmed.
You're cordially invited to check him out.
People have been putting him down, saying he
Jan de Hartogmerelywrote boys' books for grown-ups. Petty spoilsports.
Of course, when you're happy enough to have been reading him, you know he wrote many other things as well, or even better. But there's no denying, and why should I — he did write great adventures.
Aha! Caught you, huh? You never heard of him. Now ain't that a real shame.
I only read one book of his, Brazilian Adventure ; but recently more have been reprinted.
Peter Fleming was an English film critic who in the early 1930s joined an expedition to search for Colonel Falwell, an explorer who had disappeared in the interior of Brazil. He takes much delight in describing the gang he belongs to as a bunch of bungling nincompoops on a demented mission, not sparing himself. Very funny and great reading.
Colonel Falwell also figures in Tintin's Broken Ear.
Joseph GarberPicked up my first one, Vertical Run, and started searching for the rest at once. Alas, there are only four—they're all good.
That first one starts of with a guy arriving at his office to start work and everybody, but absolutely and I mean it, everybody starts to try killing him. Intriguing, huh? He really writes and plots well, read him!
He died in 2005, so get 'em as long as they're around.
One small crumble to get your taste buds craving for more: his main character needs some glue which he gets by taking some gum stuck to the underside of a seat—and chewing it.
The only book I've read by this guy is Gil Blas de Santillano , a delightful picaresque novel (I won't blame you for not yet knowing this means
Alain René le Sageabout knaves—only knew the Dutch word myself.) I'm sorry I never read more.
Yoshikawa EijiThere's only one book of his I ever got a chance to read, well, five plus one, come to think of it: Musashi, about the legendary samurai who even wrote a book himself on the art of warfare. No doubt Musashi is right: never give your enemy a chance. But who needs war?
His character certainly comes across much more sympathetic in Yoshikawa's books, which read like a Japanese Jan de Hartog (with the one same fault: too mystic for me.) Kurosawa owes this man a lot... Grand and sweeping. They compare it with Shogun and Gone with the Wind, but both have so much less class than this one, it's pitiful. To give you one example, the leading character somewhere has to kneel down and apologize to a carpenter's square after having stepped on it. Right. I'm yearning for more.
[Urinating monk exclaims:] That feels good! Am I one with the universe, or is the universe one with me?
(If you, too, have always wondered what a Crytomeria tree looks like, here's one.)
The Way of the Samurai
The Art of War
The Way of the Sword
The Bushido Code
The Way of Life and Death
In the early 1950s Inagaki Hiroshi turned the book into a trilogy
for Toho Films, starring Mifune Toshiro. It's really fine.
I Musashi Miyamoto
II Duel at Ichijoji Temple
III Duel at Ganryu Island.
A Book of Five Rings
the classic guide to strategy - if you really want to win.
It's not every day you see a shipload of munitions dedicated to the service of God on the banks of the Thames.
He could squeeze a dollar until it cried uncle.
colonialwriter still has a large following in India (just like P. G. Wodehouse.) He's good. His most popular seems to be Kim , and that's well-deserved but still debatable, if there were any accounting for tastes.
Humor, maybe? You may have a point. But there are so many other categories he fits in as well. In short, the guy may not fit in anywhere—for which I love him madly. But he did write great adventure novels: the Tom Sawyer novels (yes, there are more than the one you've read); the immortal Huckleberry Finn . (And don't forget Life on the Mississippi .)
I read a religious comic book. All about Samson yanking down that temple. Samson looked like Burt Reynolds. Delilah looked like Liz Taylor. The temple looked like the Chase Bank.(The Green Ripper)
thinkabout human beings as
the gods, to give you one reason to check him out. Hint: try The Call of the Wild . One of his best is the short story The Seed of McCoy , with its great punch line.
Miraculous Travels; still, travels.
CHAPTER ONESQUIRE TRELAWNEY, DR. LIVESEY, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17—, and go back to the time when my father kept the 'Admiral Benbow' inn, and the brown old seaman, with the sabre cut, first took up his lodging under our roof.
The Old Sea Dog at the 'Admiral Benbow'
Shangri-Lato one of the finest Kinks songs (on their Arthur recording.) The theme of travelers stranding in an isolated place, here Tibet, is nothing new, but it's a pretty good book. Very popular with the aging New Agers, I shouldn't wonder. What ruined the taste for me is the racism in it—only white people can make it to the Superman state.
No offense, but these guys, to my exquisite taste, are too blatant, too machine-produced, too obnoxious or preposterous, or too whatever. In some cases, too plainly bad-written.
I prefer to read books I can enjoy.
— These I read, sometimes, when I'm in the mood, when they come free: (I may not even spell 'em right... so sorreee!)
Arthur Hailey — Michael Crichton — Alistair McLean — Alexandre Dumas — H. Rider Haggard
(— And these, and then some, I avoid like the plague. Now, really: Robert Ludlum — Alexander Kent — Tom Clancy — Clive Custler — Robert Ruark)