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Yearning for adventure, fellas? A book’s the next-best thing to being there. Read these ten top tales for armchair adventurers, and get a little vicarious excitement without endangering your hide! Hey, it’s a survival-of-the-smartest kind of world out there.

Coming of Age

“The Bear” by William Faulkner. Allowed at last to join the men on a bear hunt, a boy faces a venerable grizzly that has been the object of hunters’ quests for a generation.

“A&P” by John Updike. When two bikini-clad girls defy the dress code at the supermarket, a young employee there must decide where his loyalties lie.

Two by Ernest Hemingway

“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Alone on safari with his conniving wife and an unsympathetic hunting guide, Macomber must prove himself a contender or die trying.

“Big Two-Hearted River.” Fishing and camping in Michigan, war survivor Nick Adams seeks simplicity as he struggles with personal demons.

Literature for Real Men

“To Build a Fire” by Jack London. A man finds the elements more than he bargained for while hiking in extreme sub-zero weather toward a gold-mining claim in turn-of-the-century Yukon territory, with just a dog as his companion.

“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell. Getting shipwrecked is horror enough, but imagine washing up on an island whose only inhabitant is an aristocratic sportsman whose hunting prey of choice is . . . other men.

“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. In this classic story of the guilty conscience, a murderer cannot escape the sound of his victim’s beating heart.

Contemporary Westerns

“The Chimpanzees of Wyoming Territory” by Don Zancanella. Journal entries recount the adventures and the ruminations of a man traveling in 1860s Wyoming with a pair of performing chimpanzees – and his attempt to track the thieves who steal them.

And finally, your choice: “The Mud Below” or “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx (the only girl in the group!). The Pulitzer-winning author takes on the cowboy’s life in these tales from her collection Close Range: Wyoming Tales, but not in quite the way you’d expect. These are stories of obsession, passion, and unexpected consequence – and a darn fine read.