Taiga tiger

For a good summertime action thriller, skip the Hollywood blockbusters and read The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival. Unless you’ve been supremely unlucky, it’s the closest you’re likely to come to being stalked by a tiger. John Vaillant’s book centers on the fragile peace between tigers and their human neighbors in Siberia, which lasted until some misguided hunters decided to hunt the animals. Big mistake. You don’t want to a piss off a 500-pound Siberian tiger (just read Valliant’s description of the animal’s powerful paws and jaws). These animals are crafty enough to learn an individual’s routine and then wait for him, say, on an outdoor mattress in the snow. Along the way, readers also learn quite a bit about Russia, the market for tiger parts in some countries, what tiger breath feels like, and get an introduction to an amazing animal that is quickly disappearing, with less than 500 Siberian tigers left in the wild.