Caught By The Sea – by Gary Paulsen (1994)

Author Gary Paulsen is best known for his fictional wilderness survival books. Most of his books are written kids or young adults, most notably “Hatchet” and the books that continued the story. In all, the man has written over 200 books! His books are generally slim and thin, often being about 100 pages long, making them perfect for reluctant readers or people who just don’t have time to read a 400-page novel or a 500-page biography.

In addition to his novels, Mr. Paulsen has written some autobiographical books, using the same small-book format. These books don’t try to cover every point of his life, but focus on a slice of his life.

The book “Caught By The Sea” recalls his fascination with the ocean as a young man. He decided to buy a boat, and teach himself to sail it. I was laughing as he told of his first attempts to even get the boat out of the harbor. Most people would have hired someone to teach them, and taken someone along to help with the early attempt to sail. But Mr. Paulsen, being the lone adventurer that he is, thought he could figure it out by himself.

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The Story Of My Life – by Helen Keller (1902)

Helen Keller’s autobiography has been on my “must-read” list for a long time, and I am finally reading it. As it was written more than a hundred years ago, it has that old-fashioned style of great detail as well as a vocabulary that far exceeds what we would use today. While reading Helen’s account of her own life, I was amazed at her intellect and understanding. How could someone who could neither see nor hear learn so much? Most folks with perfect hearing and vision will never come close to learning and doing as much as she did.

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