On this day in 1901, 63-year-old Annie Edson Taylor climbed into a barrel and became the first person to survive a ride down Niagara Falls. In honor of this amazing feat, here are three books for readers who like to jump off of things, go faster than is reasonable, put themselves in harm’s way for “fun” or simply like to read about those who do.
“Absinthe and Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously” by William Gurstelle
This book is quite possibly the most unusual self-help and DIY manual in existence, providing instructions in risk-taking. Gurstelle argues that risk-takers are happier and more successful, and he includes a number of projects–from building rockets to throwing knives–to transform your life from dull to daring.
“Falling: How Our Greatest Fear Became Our Greatest Thrill” by Garrett Soden
Soden provides an historical overview of how Western culture has come to view a fall as fun or entertaining. Read about extreme sports, thrill shows, bungee jumping, skateboarding, rock climbing, roller coasters and more in this analysis of our surprisingly complex relationship with falling.
“The Full Burn: On the Set, at the Bar, Behind the Wheel, and Over the Edge With Hollywood Stuntmen” by Kevin Conley
In this work of immersion nonfiction, Conley closely examines the stuntman’s life: the history, the culture and the tricks of the trade, showing how–and why–stuntmen do what they do.