Cold, Colder, Coldest

During the colder months, some folks like to read about tropical climates and warm days. I have a tendency to want to read about places that are even colder than where I am.

Enter my obsession over books about Antarctica. I don't know that I'll ever get to visit there, but I do love to read about it, both in fiction and nonfiction. While there is a vast body of literature about Antarctic explorers such as Amundsen, Shackleton, and Scott, my reading about the cold continent tends to be about modern folks--scientists and other curious types--who have recorded their time there and are often studying the (few) animals that live there, along with other studies including climate change, the earth's history, and even the possibilities of life on Mars. I've also been particularly interested in women's stories of Antarctic travel, since, as short as our human history has been with the continent, women's history there is even shorter.

Here are some of my favorite books about Antarctica and other cold places:

Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent  by Gabrielle Walker--I just started this one, and it's a great combination of history, current science, and personal experience.
Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long Distance Swimmer by Lynne Cox--lots of interesting information about what our bodies do to survive in the cold.
Wondrous Cold: An Antarctic Journey by Joan Myers--beautiful photographs!
No Horizon is So Far: Two Women and Their Extraordinary Journey Across Antarctica by Liv Arnesen & Ann Bancroft--an adventure story about skiing across the continent.
On the Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Gretchen Legler
Polar Obsession by Paul Nicklen
Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places by Bill Streever--covers lots of different cold places all over the earth.
The Ice Cave: A Woman’s Adventures from the Mojave to the Antarctic by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
Antarctica: An Encyclopedia from Abbott Ice Shelf to Zooplankton
Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica by Sara Wheeler

This Wild Silence by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
Whiteout, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2, Greg Rucka--graphic novels with adventure and intrigue in the cold and darkness of Antarctic winter.
The White Darkness, Geraldine McCaughrean

So, instead of turning up the heat to warm up, try reading about someplace that's even colder than where you are!

Written by Becker on February 26, 2013


Anonymous on February 27, 2013


Thank you Becker, I will have to keep these in mind

Anonymous on February 27, 2013


Becker, You are the second librarian who has recommended "Swimming to Antarctica" to me. I will have to check it out.

Becker on February 28, 2013


I hope you do check out Swimming to Antarctica--really fascinating. The same author also has a short book called Grayson, about a time she was swimming off the coast of California and came across a baby whale that had lost its mother--she swam with the whale for hours while folks tried to find the mom & reunite them.

CathyJ on February 28, 2013


BBC 3 Radio recently aired a documentary called, "A Brief History of Being Cold" that included interviews with authors who've written about winter. Maybe something you'd enjoy? Here's the link:

Gina on February 28, 2013


I am obsessed with Antarctica as well! Great recommendations, Becker! For older children, there is also The Winter Pony by Iain Lawrence which is told from the point of view of one of the ponies used by Scott on his quest to reach the South Pole.

Anonymous on February 28, 2013


Good to hear about your obsession over new places and one should have such a thing in themselves and I hope you soon get to visit your dream.
soins oxygène

Hill on March 22, 2013


Thanks for the recommendations! "No Horizon is So Far" wasn't my cup of tea, but I'm really enjoying "Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait..."

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