Non-Fiction: Deep Survival
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales is one of my favourite books and one that I re read yearly. It's a perfect example of how reading can allow speculative fiction writers, with a bit of empathy imagination and plenty of extrapolation to write realistically about being caught by an avalanche on the Moon, being in a ski-ing accident on your nearest icebound planet--Pluto maybe--trouble at sea, perhaps on the methane seas of Venus?
Getting lost in mountains, how to get ready for take-off from an aircraft carrier, wherever you take that one, and the myriad other death defying situations necessary to their stories.
Deep Survival is a good read also because Gonzales is a good writer. Exciting. Fast-paced. Good first sentences, something I've been studying this week. Every action-packed instance is explained clearly and analysed with regard to physical and neurological influences. Why and how people become blind to danger. Why some people don't. Evolution of emotional responses. How people react to fear and much more.
When writers talk about their ten must-have references, I always add this one in for myself.