Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary PaulsenThe funniest book I have ever read.
This stands among the rare books that will get you looks for laughing out loud in the middle of the airport. This is the true story of the author who, in dangerous ignorance, just up and decides to run the Iditarod. Its a story of essentially self discovery, but really, its completely and totally insane. The adventures are hilarious, and the journey is amazing.
There is only one way for a story about a full team of Iditarod -class sled dogs raring to go with nothing but a guy on a Schwinn behind them to end. That way is friggin funny. Well, and a little dangerous.
Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod
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For 17 days, he and his team of 15 dogs endured blinding wind, snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, sleeplessness, hallucinations—and the relentless push to go on. They crossed the barren, moonlike landscape of the Alaskan interior and witnessed sunrises that cast a golden blaze over the vast waters of the Bering Sea. They crossed the finish line, but it wasn't enough: Paulsen was obsessed and wanted to race again. Though the dangers of the Iditarod were legion, more frightening still was the knowledge that he could not stop racing dogs of his own free will. From the publisher.
Gary Paulsen credits librarians--particularly the one who gave him his first library card in a small Minnesota town--for turning his life around by introducing him to the power of the printed word. The Newbery, he says, transformed him almost instantly from starving writer to best-selling author. Escape to the homes and farms of relatives and his frequent treks into the woods of northern Minnesota. Paulsen gained the upper hand over his own alcoholism and has been sober since His books frequently involve a boy gaining a new sense of self-worth after surmounting some challenge. Usually, an adult mentor, often someone who has been injured in some way by life, aids the protagonist.
Woodsong is a book of memoirs by Gary Paulsen. The first half consists of Paulsen's early experiences running sled dogs in Minnesota and then in Alaska, and the second half describes the roads and animals he faces in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Paulsen opens his book with a vivid retelling of a story in which he watched brush wolves kill and devour a live doe in the woods. This event revealed the raw, unfabricated realities of nature to him. Paulsen recounts many incidents he has undergone with his dogs on their runs, including times he has been carried to safety by his sled dogs after breaking his knee on the trail, became violently ill in the midst of extreme cold conditions, and a variety of mysterious happenings in the Alaskan wilderness. In all of their adventures, he bonds closely with his dogs, particularly one named "Storm". Storm was an ideal dog that taught Paulsen many life values, including that the death of the doe his experience running his sled dogs taught him much about nature and life.