3, 2, 1 … Mountains

Librarians recommend 3 fiction titles, 2 non-fiction titles, and 1 movie to challenge and inspire in time for International Mountain Day 2019.


The Rich Man's House by Andrew McGahan

Catalogue record for The rich man's house
What if… early in our region's European history, a mountain was discovered in the Southern Ocean that dwarfs Everest in every way?

What happens? This is an exploration of progressive mountaineering, a spooky literary thriller, a study of elemental spirituality, and a marvel of storytelling gathering momentum at a rapid speed as the pages fly by.

Why you should read it: McGahan was one of Australia’s most gifted and inventive authors and sadly, he died from cancer in early 2019. Released posthumously, this is his 11th and final contribution to the world of literature and is a masterpiece of contemporary fiction.

Thin Air by Michelle Paver

Catalogue record for Thin air: a ghost story

What’s it all about? A chilling ghostly mountaineering story about the horrifying monsters mankind can turn into when mother nature crushes all hope. Five men journey slowly into agonising isolation and paranoia.

Why should you read this? A thrilling chilling to the bone adventure/horror, a very entertaining read that'll have you up all night.

Who would enjoy this?  Are you a fan of horror? If you like modern renditions of historical mountaineering thrillers turned ghost story then this is for you!

H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness by Gou Tanabe (Graphic Novel)

Catalogue record for H. P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness

What is it? A stunning new interpretation on Lovecraft's classic Antarctic horror.

Read it for: The story zips along at pace, and the artwork is point perfect for depicting the landscape and the terrors unveiled.

Who is it for? For fans of existential horror and dread, and connoisseurs of the macabre.


No Friends but the Mountains by Judith Matloff

Catalogue record for No friends but the mountains

What's it all about? The mountains as a conflict zone - offering refuge to runaways, battle grounds for violent feuds, and secrecy for illegal practices such as drug trafficking and terrorism.

Why should I read this: For a fascinating insight into how conflicts originating from the mountains, affect our world.

Who might enjoy this? Fans of political travel writing, as well as those with an interest in social history and, of course, mountains.

Not to be confused with: the similarly titles No friend by the mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by visiting refugee writer and journalist, Behrouz Boochani.

To the Mountains: A Collection of New Zealand Alpine Writing

Catalogue record for To the mountains

What's it all about? The epic and often moving tales of New Zealand mountaineers, from the South Westland Māori guides, to the adventurers on Denali in Alaska.

Why should I read this? Learn more about mountaineering from the mountaineers themselves. These tales draw on the records, letters and even poems kept by an array of professionals and hobbyists .

Who would enjoy this? The armchair traveller, and adventurer, and anyone with interest in true Kiwi stories.


Mountain dir: Jennifer Peedom

What is it? A collaborative documentary project between the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Jennifer Peedom, chronicling the rich history between humans and mountains that test and challenge us, both physically and mentally.

Why you might like it: The orchestra's impressive dynamic score and Willem Dafoe's capacious voice carry you through some breathtaking visuals; a surprising introspective dive into our deep need to climb and conquer the highest peaks.

Also check out: 'Sherpa', a documentary about the sherpa community at Mount Everest and the aftermath of the deadly avalanche of 2014, also directed by Jennifer Peedom.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Christchurch City Libraries Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi