Book Reviews

Review #4: Antarctica

To live up to the ‘globetrotting’ part of the GLOB, here’s a review for one of the many places on Earth that I’m dying to explore – the continent of Antarctica. I found this book in a used bookstore and was immediately taken by the purple cover and title (short, sweet and to the point). I find Antarctica absolutely fascinating and beautiful so this book by Gabrielle Walker was perfect for me!

Antarctica
Antarctica by Gabrielle Walker, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2013, 388 pages

Dust jacket synopsis:

Antarctica is the most alien place on the planet, the only part of the earth where humans could never survive unaided. Out of our fascination with it have come many books, most of which focus on only one aspect of its unique strangeness. None has managed to capture the whole story – until now.

Drawing on her broad travels across the continent, in Antarctica Gabrielle Walker weaves all the significant threads of life on the vast ice sheet into an intricate tapestry, illuminating what it really feels like to be there and why it draws so many different kinds of people. With her we witness cutting-edge science experiments, visit the South Pole, lodge with American, Italian, and French researchers, drive snow dozers, drill ice cores, and listen for the message Antarctica is sending us about our future in an age of global warming.

This is a thrilling trip to the farthest reaches of earth by one of the best science writers working today.

Thoughts:

Who doesn’t want a beautifully written modern-day story of adventure and exploration when so much of the planet has been mapped? Antarctica is part history-book, part science log, and part travelogue that all works together to introduce the wild continent at the bottom of the world. And it’s awesome.

I’ve really gotten into reading non-fiction again, and I’m getting the itch to travel so was the perfect thing to read to satiate my hunger for adventure!

You know a book is good when I’m constantly taking notes about things to look up later and actually want to read the notes at the end! I’ve always been fascinated by Antarctica and it’s definitely at the top of my list of places I must visit, so I was deeply intrigued when I picked this book up. It’s wonderfully written, in such a way that a non-science-brained person like me who still likes science can understand and remain interested the whole way through. Excerpts from the diaries of the heroes of the age of exploration – Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton – are interspersed with anecdotes from 21st century scientist-explorers as well as the author. The way Walker describes things makes you want to jump on the next flight south and see everything for yourself. She also manages to instill the right amount of fear about the effects global warming is having on the continent to make you sit up and want to do something about it. There is absolutely nothing I could criticize about this book, and I would recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the mysterious and beautiful icy world at the bottom of the planet.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My big life goal is to explore every continent, and that includes Antarctica. Until I can cobble enough money and time together to go, I’ll just have to live vicariously through this incredible book!

Happy reading!

x Lauren

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