10 Must-Read Tales of Survival

Ten of the most captivating survival stories in literature. What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments so we can add to our bookshelf.

THe Martianwant_to_read_buttonSix days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal.


Lord of the Flies by William Goldingwant_to_read_buttonA plane crashes on a desert island, and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued. By day they inhabit a land of bright fantastic birds and dark blue seas, but at night, their dreams are haunted by the image of a terrifying beast. As the boys’ delicate sense of order fades, so their childish dreams are transformed into something more primitive, and their behaviour starts to take on a murderous, savage significance.


Life of Pi by Yann Martelwant_to_read_buttonAfter the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a 16-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger.


The Lifeboatwant_to_read_buttonLifeboat is the story of Grace Sachs, an enigmatic young woman whose life is forever altered when the ocean liner on which she is honeymooning mysteriously explodes. Her husband secures her a place on a lifeboat with a group of strangers, but they soon realize their boat is over capacity and that they must reduce their numbers in order to survive.


Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoewant_to_read_buttonFor more than 270 years, readers everywhere have been fascinated by the young fool who ran away from wealth, security, and family for a rough life at sea, then came to his senses too late, alone on a tropical island — alone except for cannibals, that is, and God.


The Old Man and the Seawant_to_read_buttonTold in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.


Roomwant_to_read_buttonTo 5-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up. It’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.


Into the Wildwant_to_read_buttonIn April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.


Lost in the Junglewant_to_read_buttonFour travelers meet in Bolivia and set off into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, but what begins as a dream adventure quickly deteriorates into a dangerous nightmare. And after weeks of wandering in the dense undergrowth, the four backpackers split up into two groups.


127 Hourswant_to_read_buttonOn Saturday, 26 April 2003, Aron Ralston, a 27-year-old outdoorsman and adventurer, set off for a day’s hike in the Utah canyons. Eight miles from his truck, he found himself in the middle of a deep and remote canyon. Then the unthinkable happened. A boulder shifted and snared his right arm against the canyon wall. He was trapped, facing dehydration, starvation, hallucinations, and hypothermia as night-time temperatures plummeted. Five and a half days later, Aron Ralston finally came to the agonising conclusion that his only hope was to amputate his own arm and get himself to safety.

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