Sara Wheeler is one of the foremost travel writers in the world, and in this book, she takes on the seventh continent. Wheeler spent seven months in Antarctica, the first non-American to take part in the National Science Foundation’s Writers and Artists program, and in this narrative, she discusses Antarctic literature and how polar exploration has impacted British culture. It’s certainly an interesting and entertaining read, and Wheeler does an excellent job describing life in and the landscape of Antarctica.
In the Kingdom of Ice
Everyone was obsessed with Arctic exploration in the late 1800s, and in that vein, James Gordon Bennett, the owner of The New York Herald funded an expedition to reach the North Pole. As you might be able to guess from the title of the book, it never made it. Two years into the expedition, the pack ice won and the ship sank. The marooned crew began a desperate march across the ice in this harrowing tale of survival in the northernmost parts of our planet.
This modern classic, a National Book Award winner, is one of the definitive books about the Canadian Arctic, based on the author’s travels over the course of four years. Lopez accompanied geologists, biologists, archaeologists, and indigenous peoples’ hunting parties to come to terms with life and death in the frozen wilderness. If you want a sense of the vastness of this region, and how humans tie into it, this is a book you should pick up.
Up to This Pointe
Harper Scott’s name earns her immediate respect in Antarctic circles—after all, she’s related to the famed explorer Robert Falcon Scott. But it’s ballet, rather than Antarctica, that consumes the teenager’s life. But when things don’t go according to plan, Harper decides she needs some time away from the world and worms her way into a spot at McMurdo Station. It’s an unlikely premise, to be sure, but Longo makes it work with her emotional prose and vivid descriptions of Antarctic life.
I’ve had a fascination with the Arctic and Antarctica since I was a child (so much so that I visited the seventh continent a couple of years ago for a vacation). There’s something majestic about seeing ice in that way, especially considering it’s disappearing at an alarming rate. One of my favorite things to do when it’s really hot outside is to curl up with a book that brings these memories back. If you want to feel like you’re in a place surrounded by ice on the hottest days of the year, settle down with one of these excellent books about the Arctic and Antarctica and chill out.
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