Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Favourite books

Okay, so Chris Priestley and Paul May have ploughed a furrow that I'm just going to have to follow in my own inimitable style. No photos of much cherished books gathering dust on portly book shelves here, just cold crisp web images of books that I have enjoyed not just once, but have returned to for second, third and sometimes more helpings.

Sara Wheeler's 'Terra Incognita' comes under the second helping category, I would have probably read it more times had I not lent it out, and not surprisingly I didn't get it back. The book follows Wheeler to Antarctica under the Writers and Artists programme,where the lone writer(Woo1) spent six weeks living with, and observing the various international teams based in this most inhospitable, beautiful and thought provoking of landscapes that this overpopulated planet has to offer.

Wheeler offers a funny, moving and detailed description of her experiences, and for me the most interesting and effecting are the passages that hark back to the golden age of Antarctic exploration. She effortlessly opens up a chilling portal to the ghosts of the men who strived to conquer the most challenging environment on Earth, wearing little more than what you or I would wear on a nippy winters day.

Inspirational, sad, and truly barking mad! This and her other book 'Cherry', about the life and adventures of Apsley Cherry Garrard, who wrote 'The Worst Journey in the World', kept me riveted, entertained, and always wanting more.

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