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127 Hours

127 Hours

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
THE “EXTRAORDINARY” (Booklist) #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER—THE “HARROWING” (The Washington Post) SURVIVOR’S MEMOIR YOU WILL NEVER FORGET

Aron Ralston, an experienced twenty-seven-year-old outdoorsman, was on a day’s solitary hike through a remote and narrow Utah canyon when he dislodged an eight-hundred- pound boulder that crushed his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. Emerging from the searing pain, Aron found himself completely stuck. No one knew where he was; no one was coming to rescue him. With scant water and food, and a cheap pocketknife his only tool, he eliminated his options one by one. On the fifth night, wracked by delirium and uncontrollable shivers, Aron scratched his epitaph into the rock wall, certain he would not see daylight.

Yet with the new morning came an epiphany: if he could use the rock’s vise-like hold to break his arm bones, his blunted pocketknife could serve as a surgeon’s blade. . . .
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  • Pocket Books | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451617702 | 
  • October 2010
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Read an Excerpt

Between a Rock and a Hard Place ONE “Geologic Time Includes Now”
This is the most beautiful place on earth.

There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, known or unknown, actual or visionary. . . . There’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment. Theologians, sky pilots, astronauts have even felt the appeal of home calling to them from up above, in the cold black outback of interstellar space.

For... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for 127 Hours includes discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. Environmentalist and writer Edward Abbey is something of a hero to Aron Ralston, as Ralston states right near the beginning of his book. “We each hold Edward Abbey—combative conservationist; anti-development; anti-tourism, and anti-mining essayist . . . as a sage of environmentalism [and who said]: ‘Of course, we’re all hypocrites. The only true act of an environmentalist would be to shoot himself in the head. Otherwise he’s still contaminating the place by his mere presence.’” (pp. 11–12) Where does Aron stand on this particular philosophy? Do you agree with Abbey that we ruin the natural environment by our mere presence within it?

2. How do the two girls, Megan and Kristi, respond to meeting Aron Ralston? What are their initial reactions to him? Why does he refuse their invitation to attend their gathering? What must he do first?

3. In Aron’s confrontation with the black bear, we see evidence of extraordinary bravery. “All I could do was keep hiking, hope I didn’t founder in the snow, and see more

About the Author

Aron Ralston
Photo Credit:

Aron Ralston

Aron Ralston, a native of the Midwest, retired from a career as a mechanical engineer at age twenty-six before moving to Aspen, Colorado. Since his accident, he has completed his unprecedented project to climb the fifty-nine Colorado peaks of more than 14,000 feet, alone, in winter. His first book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, was a New York Times bestseller and was adapted into the major motion picture 127 Hours by Danny Boyle. Today, as a father of an infant daughter and four-year-old son, Aron lives in Boulder, Colorado. He continues to travel the world for both adventure and to share his story. Follow his journey at AronRalstonSpeaker.com.

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