Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod

by Gary Paulsen

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Winterdance 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
laytonwoman3rd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book nailed me to my chair for the afternoon, but I felt like I was racing through it pulled by a team of sled dogs running for pure joy. This is Paulsen's story of his naive preparations for, and first experience of running the 1100+ mile Iditarod in 1983. Fascinating, moving, hilarious, terrifying. We should be grateful that a diagnosis of heart disease stopped him from running after his third start; he would either have died out there somewhere, or simply become so obsessed with the race, at one with his dogs, that he never would have written this beautiful book for the benefit of mere humans.
andrewfahler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
very good.lots of madness!
nm.fall07.j.barrett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book about running the Iditarod
lieslmayerson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as a gift from my friend Kim with a message that said she just knew I would enjoy it. And enjoy it I did. A wonderful outdoor adventure, this book presents one team's story of running the Iditarod. I knew very little about the Iditarod going into the book, but have a completely new appreciation for the race. While I have no aspirations of running it myself, I really do think you have to have a certain madness to do so, I appreciate the want to. And, as a dog lover and admirer, I really liked the team nature of these dogs doing what they were bred to do. Truly impressive. I would reread this book and would recommend it to lovers of nature and challenge and especially to dog lovers.
Sovranty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It will be difficult to put down this comical book, as you read of one man's journey from novice to experienced Iditarod competitor. Get an emotional and visual picture of what the competitors - human and canine - go through during this race. It is sure to leave you satisfied.
horomnizon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book from the very first page and found myself laughing out loud at several points. Paulsen's ability to step outside himself and paint a picture of what he must have looked like being constantly dragged around by these dogs that he had very little (if any) control over. There was also a moment or two when I just about cried. The whole story is interesting and not just about one man's craziness, but of his relationship with the dogs and how together they survive this brutal race - only to want to do it again.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Exciting, humorous, full of life...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
KarriesKorner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Award-winning children's author, Gary Paulsen, has another life besides just being a children's author. He draws on his experience as an avid outdoors man to write his amazing books, i.e., Hatchet, Brian's Winter.Within the first couple pages of Winterdance, Paulsen is careening around in the Minnesota back woods on a sled that is being pulled by a pack of dogs. The book could end right then and there as he goes off the edge of a cliff, but he manages to survive and so do all his dogs. That somehow inspired Paulsen to decide that he wanted to run the ultimate of dog sledding events -- The Iditarod. He titles his book, The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod because he knows how crazy this pursuit truly is. Yet he begins his preparation as his wife questions his sanity.There begins a remarkable journey. He has to acquire the appropriate dogs to pull his sled, he has to train himself for the hundreds of hours of running, he has to prepare himself for the lack of sleep and a lack of food. While all this sounds like a trip through Hell, Paulsen tells his tale -- or tail -- in a hilarious and incredible voice. Laugh out loud as you read about him racing through the night woods and being sprayed by skunks so many times he can't even open his eyes by the time he pulls up to his house in the dawn-breaking hour. For awhile he's riding around in a VW bug as his dogs -- some of them as insane as he is -- are pulling him around as if he was in a Radio Flyer red wagon.As the time draws near to the start of the Iditarod, Paulsen and his dogs are ready. His description of the beginning of the race is hilarious as he and his dogs run through people's backyards in an effort to find the course! The reader realizes how high the stakes are when he describes the possibility that he could be running along for hundreds of miles, only to discover that he's on an ice flow as he and his dogs pitch off the edge and into the ocean -- never to be heard from again. As he writes about the Burn, and all the other aspects of the race, you will feel all the ups and downs of actually running the Iditarod yourself. One minute you're laughing hysterically, the next minute you're on the edge of your seat trying to read fast enough to know whether he's going to die. Of course in a rational moment you know he doesn't die -- he's gone on to write dozens of books since he published Winterdance. But it's easy to forget that when you're in subzero temperatures, being pulled by 12 crazy running dogs and facing down an angry moose that is about to attack!I was literally up until 2:00 in the morning last week -- on a weekday with work looming ahead of me in a few short hours, laughing. And this was the third time I've read this book!It's no surprise to me that this book won an Alex Award years ago. Now, whenever someone asks me to recommend a good book for someone who doesn't like to read, I recommend this one! Given that I've read it three times and recommended to no less than 50 people, there has been plenty of time for me to hear back from all those reluctant readers and not one has come back to me to tell me that they didn't like it. In fact, everyone I've recommended it to has come back to tell me how much they loved it, especially the part about Paulsen eating the moose chili. Yep, that's the part I was laughing about at 2:00 a.m. Pick up this book and laugh out loud!
cataylor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Funny, heartwarming story of Gary and his sled dogs as they prepare for and run their first Iditarod. Makes the reader feel the connection to the snow and the dogs and the experience of the race. Wonderful!
BoundTogetherForGood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Want to feel as if you've raced in the Iditarod? Read this book! Crazy!
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have taken only one dog sled ride in my life, but it was up the Snowmass ski mountain in Aspen. Had I not taken that ride, I would have been skeptical of many, if not most, of the anecdotes in Gary Paulsen's "Winterdance." Having experienced the exileration and power exerted by a good team of sled dogs, I don't think he even exaggerates.In Paulsen's story, the dogs love to run and to pull. They train with 75 mile runs, averaging 10 miles per hour. The big, nasty dogs love to fight, and may even begin eating their foe before a fight is over. The Iditerod is an incredible hardship for both man and dog. They must cross most of Alaska in winter, over mountains, over sea ice, and down the Yukon River, where the temperature reaches -65 Farenheit in 50 m.p.h. winds. As you might imagine, the mushers are sort of local heroes in Alaska, and they get some support on the route from Fairbanks to Nome, but most of the way they are completely alone with their dogs. Paulsen says he got the most from his dogs when he began to live and sleep with them, almost to become a dog. The book is a terrific read--for guys. My son loved it and gave it to me. My wife is less enthused, as I suppose is Paulsen's wife about his attempt.(JAB)
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Warning... this is definitely not a book to read with either a full bladder or in a location where silence is a virtue. It has to be one of the all time most hilarious books I have ever read, bar none. Paulson's inside look at what it takes to prepare for the premier Alaskan sled dog race, the Iditarod, is a pull-no-punches romp. Skunks, omnivorous canines, the exponential mathematical calculations necessary for figuring pulling power; all this and a fine, tongue-in-cheek story-telling style -- well, let's just say that even if you're not familiar with Paulson, or the sport of dog-sledding, this is still a page-turner. Honestly, the man was an accident that didn't wait long to happen, and still he kept going! The language can get a bit raw, but give this to the more mature of your young adult reluctant readers, boys or girls -- my experience suggests they'll come back for more.
donkeytiara on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
...the FUNNIEST book i have ever read, hands-down. Read it. It will teach you about running dogs without you even knowing it. Then you can get your own team like he did...and......and....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the book Winterdance by Gary Paulsen, Gary Paulsen runs the Iditarod. In the book I like how he talked about what he did before the race. Also I liked how he described the race and the cold wind of it. It was a book that made me keep wanting to read more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The wind was whipping at his face as he mushed the dogs through the thick snow. That is just one struggle Gary Paulsen faces in his book, WinterDance, which is about the adventures of mushing dogs. This book is about Gary’s life and how he sacrificed a lot to move to Minnesota and train for the annual dog sled race in Alaska, called the Iditarod. Gary sacrificed everything to move to Minnesota and run dogs in the long winters there. Over the course of the book, he realizes many things about himself that he never knew. He learned very much about animals and living creatures as well. He learned to be one with the dogs and one with nature. He also discovers that sled dogs are very magnificent creatures. I enjoyed this book because I love the wilderness and the adventures of running dogs. I would recommend this book to teenage boys who enjoy wilderness and adventure because it is about a man who struggles in the tough winters of Alaska.
Sawbill More than 1 year ago
“Winterdance,” what a delightful title!  It brings to mind images of sleighs cutting through powdery fluff, a bonfire surrounded by red-cheeked revelers, or even bunny rabbits dancing under a full moon. Gary Paulsen’s “Winterdance” is misnamed. His book is not about dance. It’s about violence, brutality, death and triumph despite lethal challenges, fear, and maniacal stupidity.   “Iditarod insanity” would be a better choice, or “Torture: the Iditarod.” And the best title would be “Love dogs; become a dog.” Paulsen’s “Winterdance” is a well-written tale of his foray into the world of dog-sledding--culminating in his insane Iditarod experience. He first learns how to handle a team of racing dogs. The results are hilarious and are some of the best scenes in the book. I must say that Paulsen’s wife Ruth is the most patient woman on earth, or perhaps she’s a saint. When he decided to move out of the house to live with his dogs full-time I my jaw dropped. What a wife! While living and sleeping at eye-level with his wild canines, snarling and biting like the most vicious dog, he determines to enter the famous Alaskan sled-dog race.  A virginal idiot, he plunges in where few are brave enough to enter, and by God’s grace, lots of luck, and sheer stubbornness completes the 1,112 mile race (with an extra 120 miles  added on by his ignorance) through -60 degree weather, a blizzard, and death defying crashes down mountain slopes. He eats food inedible for humans, looses a pound a day, and hallucinates through the blinding white trail. He’s tempted to join the Inuit people and never return to “civilization” again. The book is a pleasure to read. Paulsen, as many know, is a great writer, both for children and adults. The story has the feel of an unreliable narrator. Surely he’s bull s****ing us—or is he? Was all he experienced real, hyped or untrue?  Surely it is real in his mind.  And accounts written by others (although nowhere nearly as entertaining as Paulsen’s) seem to back up his wild tale. The Iditarod is a life changing adventure, both physically and mentally. Those who survive come home a different person. Paulsen’s mind was forever altered by sledding through the fierce Alaskan wilderness. He returned to “civilization” a transformed person. He had become a dog. That’s only way to survive the Iditarod.  Hardly a dance at all. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although it was interesting and a quick read, it will not be considered great literature.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lou-baby More than 1 year ago
I have read this bood twice and, in time, I will read it again. I have bought several copies for friends. This is a truly inspiring book that will warm your heart. Everybody is familar the Iditirod, but few know much about it. After this, you will watch any special on TV that deals with this unique race.
IdahobookwormDT More than 1 year ago
Just like participants in the Iditorod have to stick with it, this book will reward you with humor and adventure, if you stick with it. I really enjoyed learning more about the Iditorod and all that goes into it, from reading this mini-biography by Gary Paulsen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A laugh out loud, entertaing, and gripping book. Gary Paulsen writes about the comical struggles that he faced while training for the 1,150 mile race in Alaska. He brings to life the brutal reality of the Iditarod, the magnificent beauty of Alaska, and the unique relationship that develops between man and dog. Overall an excellent book!
MsBerri More than 1 year ago
I laughed, cried, and wondered with awe as I read this book. Buy it. Read it. Now. Only problem is I keep giving away copies to friends (who also fall in love with it). Then I have to resupply. Maybe I should buy in bulk.
gingergargoyle More than 1 year ago
this is a humorous read for anyone, but if you are thinking of teaching your dog to sled or cart you really should read this book. Paulsen gives a good acct of what its like to teach dogs ... from the beginning of the lifestyle to the ultimate challenge of running that Last Great Race - the Iditirod@ Even if this is a sport you aren't sure you're interested in, you will really appreciate the non-shellaced look at running dogs ... and all that can go wrong (foxes come to mind ... giggling just thinking of that part). You have GOT to read this book