Tap Dancing on Everest

A Young Doctor's Unlikely Adventure

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Pub Date 02 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 02 May 2024
Globe Pequot | Falcon Guides

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Tap Dancing on Everest, at once riveting and reflective, explores the risks we take to become our truest selves. Mimi Zieman blazes an unexpected path from the daughter of immigrants raised in New York City to a 25-year-old medical student who becomes the doctor and only woman on a team attempting a new route on the remote East Face of Everest in Tibet.

In an outrageous plan, the team embarks without the use of supplemental oxygen, Sherpa support, or chance for rescue. When three climbers disappear during their summit attempt, Zieman reaches the knife edge of her limits, digging deeply to fight for the climbers' lives and to find her voice.

Weaving adventure and medicine in a feminist story of self-discovery, Tap Dancing on Everest captures the curiosity and awe of a young woman as she faces down childhood messages to stay small and safe and ventures into the unknown.

Tap Dancing on Everest, at once riveting and reflective, explores the risks we take to become our truest selves. Mimi Zieman blazes an unexpected path from the daughter of immigrants raised in New...

A Note From the Publisher

Mimi Zieman is an author, physician, speaker, and reproductive rights advocate. In addition to Tap Dancing on Everest, she has co-authored sixteen editions of Managing Contraception.Her recent play, The Post-Roe Monologues, has been performed in multiple cities and her writing has appeared in The Sun Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Newsweek, Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, NBC News THINK, The Forward, and other publications. PriorOB/GYN roles include Director of Family Planning Emory University School of Medicine, Chief Medical Officer Planned Parenthood Southeast, and member of CDC committees writing guidelines for U.S. contraceptive care. Zieman has spoken nationally and internationally and has been interviewed by multiple media outlets. See more at www.mimiziemanmd.com.

Mimi Zieman is an author, physician, speaker, and reproductive rights advocate. In addition to Tap Dancing on Everest, she has co-authored sixteen editions of Managing...

Advance Praise

Tap Dancing on Everest is gorgeous. It is so full of joy, zest and fun and yet with some profound thoughts. Once started you cannot put it down. I hope it is a huge success – it certainly deserves to be.” —Sir Chris Bonington, author of Everest the Hard Way, knighted for his services to mountaineering

“With a poetic vision that is staggering in its honesty and beauty, Mimi Zieman brings readers into the heart of a Himalayan ascent, guiding us along some of the unexpected pathways that intense adventures can trace in both body and mind.” —Katie Ives, author of Imaginary Peaks: The Riesenstein Hoax and Other Mountain Dreams 

“Mimi Zieman’s book is an ideal alchemy of grit and grace. The lessons Zieman learns on the mountain are important lessons for us all. A wild and deeply satisfying journey.” —Emily Rapp Black, author of The Still Point of The Turning World

“Mimi Zieman is brave, tough, and impressive when on Everest, and lively, engaging, and funny when on the page. After returning from her climb, she says she was 'very grateful for ceilings.' I myself, am grateful for her vivid recounting of all her journeys.” —Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings

“The story takes place on a frozen summit but is bound to melt your heart. The courage that drove her to this unlikely adventure permeates her candid recounting of her breathtaking tale.” —Etgar Keret, author of The Seven Good Years

“The small band that formed the Everest ’88 team will be remembered as free spirits who went to the unknown and embraced the true spirit of adventure, a far cry from today’s narrative on Everest, and an essential addition to mountain literature. In Tap Dancing on Everest, expedition doctor Mimi Zieman brings to life the toll experienced by non-climbers on an expedition, what it was truly like not knowing if her teammates would return, and ultimately, what it took to heal their wounds. While recalling her tap-dancing days, this book is also a metaphor of a different kind of tap dance, that of survival on the roof of the world.” —Norbu Tenzing Norgay, Vice President of the American Himalayan Foundation, and son of Tenzing Norgay

Tap Dancing on Everest is that rare book that manages to capture the adrenaline rush of a thrilling adventure and the gut-wrenching pathos of an epic tragedy. Mimi Zieman is telling a story that readers will be unable to put down—not just about life and death on the world’s most dangerous mountain, but about how we, as human beings, too often have to put ourselves in extreme danger to feel fully alive. I was utterly captivated by this story. You will be, too.” —Steve Almond, author of All the Secrets of the World

“[This] story touched me deeply.” —Dr. Tom Hornbein, author of Everest: The West Ridge, and high-altitude medicine researcher

“What would lead a young female medical student from New York City who lived a life of shoulds and expectations to join an unaided climb up Everest as the team doctor? That young woman was Mimi Zieman and, in her memoir Tap Dancing on Everest, she unravels what brought her to that mountain years ago. In beautiful prose, Zieman brings us into her family’s Jewish immigrant roots, her city childhood, her dream to become a dancer, and how climbing and adventure helped her reconcile her past with the woman she became.” —Ann Hood, author of Comfort: A Journey Through Grief 

“The best ascent of Everest in terms and style of pure adventure.” —Reinhold Messner, the first man to solo Everest, and the first to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen along with Peter Habeler

“From page one, Tap Dancing on Everest draws you into the heart-stopping world of mountaineering. An engaging narrative rich in details and vulnerability, the story captures the adventure in reaching beyond one's comfort zone and into the unknown." —Johanna Garton, author of Edge of the Map: The Mountain Life of Christine Boskoff

“A captivating story, seldom told, about what it’s like to take care of Everest climbers from the perspective of a feisty expedition doctor. This page-turner is a must-read for real and armchair adventurers everywhere.” —Stephen Venables, author of Alone at the Summit and first British man to summit Everest without oxygen

“Climbing Everest was not on Mimi Zieman’s bucket list. But after a lifetime of trying—and often failing—to 'follow the rules' of growing up a good Jewish girl with the right body, the right boyfriend and the right personality, the challenge of the vast mountain calls her…By turns gripping and charming, tragic and joyful, Zieman’s rocky, ultimately revelatory journey shows how the true triumph of the summit is the discovery of her calling.”—Allison K Williams, author of Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book

“Mimi Zieman's compelling and very personal memoir recounts with warmth and insight how her father survived the Holocaust, her challenging childhood, her courage and determination in the face of continued obstacles, and the passion and persistence that bring her to the roof of the world.” —Arlene Blum, author of Annapurna: A Woman's Place 

Tap Dancing on Everest is gorgeous. It is so full of joy, zest and fun and yet with some profound thoughts. Once started you cannot put it down. I hope it is a huge success – it certainly deserves...

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ISBN 9781493078431
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Featured Reviews

A steady paced climb towards Everest… one step at a time. Fresh air, adventure, & new beginnings! Set goals, and reach for the stars or in this case for Everest!

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This is the story of what you can do if you push yourself beyond all of your self doubts and fears.
Starting in her childhood and working up through her degree in medicine, this memoir is delightful in that it is not simply about the summit.
It is full of hope - and absolute grit - and will stay with you long after you put the book down.

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Thanks to Globe Pequot, Falcon Guides for providing this book for review consideration via NetGalley. All opinions are my own Tap Dancing on Everest by Mimi Zieman, MD. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Tap Dancing on Everest, is a memoir surrounding the climb of medical student Mimi. Strapped with her anxiety, feelings of inadequacies, and her strong Jewish heritage ie. grit. We see Mimi life through her eyes and how she gets to the point of trekking Mt. Everest with a rag tag group of people.

Mimi internal monologue is something we can all relate too, this compact story was a breeze to get through, something I couldn’t put down as I read through Mimi adventures— someone who felt that she was not the adventurous type turned out to be the most adventurous person!

Her monologues regarding her gender and how she fit in the group was something I related too, I felt that all women can understand the plight of being the only woman in the room and feeling alone.

I enjoyed this story, especially the fast pace in some parts, in other chapters I felt like the internal monologue tended to drag I think I was just too excited to get to the “good part”.

Overall I sincerely enjoyed the novel. And would recommend this to anyone who wants a short but meaningful read. #review #arc #books #bookstagram #book #booklover #reading #bookworm #bookstagrammer #read #bookish #booknerd #bookaddict #booksofinstagram #bibliophile #instabook #love #bookshelf #readersofinstagram #TapDancingonEverest #NetGalley

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Thank you to Globe Pequot, Falcon Guides and NetGalley for sharing this ARC!

Confession: I am weirdly obsessive about learning all that I can on mountaineering, particularly on Everest, even though it is absolutely 100% something I will never, ever do (voluntarily, at least!). When I find books about this subject I snatch them up - there is something so fascinating about the risk and also reward that is found on mountaineering. This book is no exception! Tap Dancing on Everest is an incredible look into Mimi Zieman's experience not only as a woman navigating this treacherous journey but also in discovering a sense of self along the way.

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"Tap Dancing on Everest" is Mimi Zieman's memoir, focusing on finding her place in the world as a Jewish doctor, framed through hiking expeditions in the Himalaya. As someone who's recently binged Everest nonfiction, this book seemed right up my alley. It was refreshing to see an Everest book told from a woman's perspective - the male perspective on climbing Everest has been told endlessly, and it was wonderful to see a different approach. The focus on Mimi's youth was unexpected but welcome. All told, this is an excellent book to pick up, whether you're a casual Everest fan or a lover of memoirs. Five stars.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for a review.

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I want to first thank net galley for offering this book to read this is how I can't was able to read it.
So this book is about a young woman and her experiencing life in the mountains, in Colorado, tibet, Nepal and eventually Everest. Amid all this adventure she was also attending medical school.
She went to Everest as part of an expedition team as the team doctor. She took a leave from medical school to be on this team and had it approved. Her background is she's Jewish and She shared her experience growing up with her family and what they had experienced as Jewish people immigrants and livi ng in the United States. There were 2 things in this book that I love to read about one is other cultures and her jewish background and her experiences as a child and their beliefs and traditions were fascinating to learn about. The other aspect of this book is Mt Everest and I have read numerous books about Everest and it fascinates me that people put their lives on the line for an adventure and the things that they have to do and experience in being around that mountain. So I have read several books about Everest and I love them all. I love this book because of those 2 items, learning about her background and also experiencing what she experienced in tibet as a backpacker and as a single woman. While she was at Everest even though she didn't actually climb it she was close enough to experience and endure what her friends her climbers were enduring. The only criticism I would have for this book is that at times she interwove her background into what she was doing at the time, then she would go back to a story from her childhood but at times it was confusing because the two stories may or may not relate to each other. I am familiar with books where they go from past to present and back-and-forth but it's clear in those books, it's not clear in this one, it suddenly just throws the story in and sometimes it didn't really match with what was going on with her at the time so I thought that the mixing of the 2 past and present was confusing at times. But overall I thought this is a well written very interesting and fascinating book about a woman a young girl really just looking for adventure and eventually finding her voice and her self- worth.

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Mimi Zieman, a young medical student, joins a group of climbers as the doctor and the only woman in the group as they try a new route on the east face of Mt. Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen. As the weeks tick by and three of the climbers disappear for days, Mimi grapples with her feelings of inadequacy and anxieties about what she wants out of life.

As someone who has read many, many books on climbing Mt. Everest, I felt that this book explored something different. Instead of the POV of a climber, we get the POV of someone who is in charge of keeping the crew alive in the harshest of environments. While I felt that it took a while to get to the climb itself and then breezed through it quickly, I did feel that the writing was solid and the story was compelling.

Thank you, NetGalley, Globe Pequot, and Falcon Guides, for providing me with a free, electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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My mother first is kind of a scary place for me. I don't like heights so anytime I can read about somebody going up. There is something I enjoy reading. I appreciated Dr. Mimi Zieman sharing her story, and how it really shows how dangerous Everest could be. But I appreciated the feel like I was on the adventure with her. It was written well and I never was bored when I read this.

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Thank you NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read Tap Dancing on Everest! I always love a good adventure book, especially set in faraway places. As expected, I enjoyed reading about the summit itself, but I also relished in the story of Mimi's self-discovery. As a woman it is always nice to read about other women's moments of finding themselves because it always looks so different.
I think my favorite part of this book is when Mimi found her voice. Albeit loud and demanding, she found it which to me is the most important part of this story. Kudos to you, Mimi!

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*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the free book!*

I'm absolutely fascinated by mountains in general and Everest in particular. I lack the stamina and training for serious mountaineering, but I love climbing mountains and hiking. "Tap Dancing on Everest" is part memoir and describes Zieman's participation in a 1988 Everest summit attempt as the medical professional (and only woman!) even though she was, at the time, still a student. The book also talks about her family, her Jewish heritage, her personal struggles and upbringing - how she ended up on Everest really. With the smart framing device, lots of suspension is created. An absolutely fantastic read I could barely put down. The only criticism I could find was that the last chapter felt rushed and didn't give me the closure I needed after the intense chapters near Everest. I would've liked to know a bit more about the aftermath of the expedition. But maybe it's another book? What a thrilling read in any case.

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Wow! What a read. The story that Mimi tells of her childhood and journey toward adventure, exploration and freedom is riddled with tragedy, rampant sin seen throughout the world, beauty, amazing opportunity and a desire to follow the rules and yet also rebel. It is not written in a perfectly chronological way but is easy to follow along with and actually feels a lot like the way you would remember your own story- leaping from one memory to the next, only to go back to another memory from a previous time. Her descriptions of different sights and feelings were compelling and gave a good picture- whether good or terrifying. There is quite a bit of sexual content, most not explicit but there are some strong word pictures. She talks about religion but seems to not adhere to a certain religion but rather relates things to being spiritual. It was interesting to hear of her cultural experiences, the ways in which she experienced nature, and ultimately her journey with the men who climbed the East Face of Mount Everest.

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I knew I wanted to read this as soon as I saw it. I love the mountains and have always been fascinated by Mount Everest. This was a fantastic memoir. It was gripping, well-written and relatable (not in terms of hiking Mount Everest but in terms of their personal struggles)! This was an inspiring read and I would definitely recommend!

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I recently had the pleasure of reading "Tap Dancing on Everest" by Mimi Zieman, and I must say, it was an absolute delight. This memoir takes readers on a captivating journey through Zieman's life, particularly her experiences leading up to and during her trek up Everest in 1988.

Zieman's storytelling abilities are truly exceptional, as she beautifully weaves her personal experiences with introspection and profound revelations. As I read, I found myself laughing, tearing up, and connecting deeply with Zieman's thoughts and emotions. Each supporting character she introduces along the way serves as a touchstone, contributing to pivotal moments in her life.

What struck me the most was Zieman's strength as a woman, which shines through despite the challenges she faced in her youth under the influence of dominant figures like her mother and grandmother. Her determination and character development are deeply rooted in her cultural heritage, and her insights drawn from her Jewish background added an extra layer of depth and relatability.

The preparation and culmination of the Everest expedition were particularly gripping, leaving me invested and yearning for more. Through Zieman's experiences, I felt inspired to embark on my own journey of self-reflection. One quote that resonated deeply with me was, "Now I understand that courage is about moving forward despite fear."

Having read numerous books about expeditions to Everest, I can confidently say that "Tap Dancing on Everest" stands out on multiple levels. Even as someone who is not an avid hiker or climber, I connected deeply with Zieman's story. Her feminine voice, without being overtly feminist, brought a refreshing perspective. I also appreciated her vulnerability in addressing the stigmas women face, such as body dysmorphia. Most importantly, Zieman's authenticity and unapologetic storytelling truly shaped her into the remarkable person she is today.

I wholeheartedly recommend "Tap Dancing on Everest" to anyone in search of an inspiring and thought-provoking read. This is a book that deserves a place on every bookshelf, and one that I intend to gift to the important women in my life. It has undoubtedly earned its well-deserved five-star rating.

Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC.

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Wow! What a beautiful memoir!

This is more than about Mimi’s time at Everest, you get glimpses of her childhood, family and heritage. Transitioning from childhood through adulthood. A true self discovery memoir that I found inspiring.

I find family dynamics and reflection fascinating which I would say was about the first half of the book. The second half was more focused on the climb and how unique for it to be from Mimi’s POV as one who will tend to any medical situations and not as a climber. I felt like I learned a lot in a short amount about climbing/Everest and it sparked a new curiosity for me and I’m already seeking other books in this niche genre.

Thank you Mindbuck Media Book Publicity
Releases 4/2

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This was a good memoir. I liked her talking about her overcoming her own fears and grappling with self-doubt. I enjoyed this book.

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Extremely interesting memoir of a young mdical student with an amazing passion for the outdoors and excitement. Her story was enthralling and could not be put down. I was mesmerized by this book. This is an amazing story of mountain climbing and her help in assisting the climbers. Incredible read.

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Facing down Everest, advocating for those lost climbers, Zieman gained the confidence that comes from knowing your own strengths. And that's the message. The author is also a physician, playwright, speaker, women's advocate, and an adventurer. I'd add badass but not sure the review will make it through.

This story makes you want to find your own adventure so that your life can also be a badass through life.

If you have ever bristled when advised to play it safe, plan ahead, ask permission (gag!), and more - this book will help you understand why your gut was right.

When I was reading this book, I kept thinking: I want my daughter to grow up to be like this. To give yourself permission to take a risk and trust that the risk is the adventure. If you feel a calling, you don't need to stop the path you're on.

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Mimi Zieman describes one of the most challenging experiences a person could have on Earth. Climbing Mt. Everest usually has some tragic stories about death and despair. Despite less severe consequences, the climbing team described by Zieman in Tap Dancing on Everest has a better story than others. It is a story about a young woman who is studying to be a doctor. She is invited by her close friend and former intimate partner to join a team as medical support. They travel through rural regions of Nepal and high into the Himalayas. Zieman often refers to her childhood and her family heroes to help her persevere and overcome challenges. With many details of personal trials and developing conviction, she tells of her journey with her team. They experience challenges and have very close calls that could lead them to disaster. But the medical conscience of Zieman seems to choral everyone into soulful and spiritual unity that is so often expressed by pre-climb ceremonies and prayer sessions.

If you like to hear about mountaineers and you can get over the expected consequences, this story uses a different approach for coping and it describes a different approach to reaching the summit.

Thank you to Mimi, Net Galley, and Falcon for this Advanced Reader's Copy.

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For more reviews and bookish posts visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Tap Dancing on Everest: A Young Doctor’s Unlikely Adventure by Mimi Zieman is a memoir of a medical student acting as a team doctor on a climbing expedition. Dr. Zieman is a practicing physician, writer, and speaker.

I enjoy books about mountain climbing and have always been fascinated by Mt. Everest. When I started this book, I didn’t know I’d heard about this specific expedition, attempting to ascend Everest’s East Face by a new route.

What makes Tap Dancing on Everest by Mimi Zieman is that it’s told from the perspective of a support person, not a seasoned climber. Ms. Zieman, a third-year medical student, joined the expedition to hone her skills (with the school’s permission) and have an adventure.

The story is not that of the expedition, per se, but that of a strong-spirited, independent woman alone with a bunch of macho men in the Himalayas. Her journey from the concrete jungle of New York City to Colorado to Nepal is engrossing.

The author’s perspective on being the only woman on the expedition, and that on the human body is very interesting and enlightening. Like many of us (men as well) she had body image issues, but unlike many of us, she also had to deal with crude solutions to serious health issues in a place as remote as another world.

The only thing I found strange is the opening chapter. This is where the young medical student is awaiting the climbers to come back, knowing something went wrong. Her story is interesting enough, there was no need for a “hook” to keep me reading with unanswered questions.

If you want a book about climbing, this isn’t it, but it’s a fantastic memoir of a mountaineer. The support personnel on these expeditions don’t get enough credit and appreciation, which they certainly deserve.

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This book really stands out among the many volumes on Everest and the Himalayas that I have read. Written by a woman who is not a professional climber, it has a very different tone and feel. Most accounts of mountaineering expeditions focus on the adventure itself, here the climb is only described in the last part of the book. Instead, the author recounts in detail her unlikely path to it - from a difficult upbringing as a child of Jewish immigrants in New York City, with all the survivor trauma inherited from her parents, to battling her eating disorder and inferiority complex, to studying medicine and training to be a doctor. It can be a painful, emotional read at times.

She doesn't shy away from the gruesome details of trekking in the Himalayas either - I think both her gender and her medical training made her much more open about the realities of high mountains, including the physiological ones. If you felt intimidated after reading Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, I don't think you'll ever decide to climb an 8,000er after reading this book. Of course, she is writing about a time before commercial climbing began (this shift is well chronicled in another forthcoming book, "Everest, Inc"), so she faced many more challenges than today's tourists.

If you are interested in mountaineering, I think this book will give you a new, original view of the Himalayan experience.

Thanks to the publisher, Globe Pequot, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

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This kind of book is why I love memoir—I was transported to a time and place utterly foreign yet found myself relating to the themes—grief and loss, sexism, family trauma, and overcoming adversity. If this had just been the story of this extraordinary trek to find lost climbers, it would have been incredible. But this book offers so much more. An inspiring portrayal of a transformational journey.

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