Thursday, January 8, 2015

The top ten winters in literature

At the Guardian Richard Hirst tagged the top ten winters in literature, including:
The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

There emerged towards the end of the 19th century a mini-industry based around polar exploration, and no voyage was complete without its heroes’ bestselling diaries and memoirs. The most enjoyable of these remains The Worst Journey in the World, a title which is no mere hyperbole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, one of the survivors of Scott’s doomed 1910 expedition, wrote the book as a means of overcoming what would now be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder. There is more than a touch of the absurd – the core of the narrative focuses on a perilous trek in search of a penguin egg – and in many ways Cherry-Garrard’s entirely needless suffering foreshadows that slouching towards Europe in the guise of the first world war. But what makes it such an engrossing read is his almost hallucinatory attention to detail: the frozen-rigid clothes limiting his movements, the blisters in his fingers turning to ice, and the maddening wide-open twilight of the Antarctic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Worst Journey in the World is on Max Jones's top ten list of books about exploration, the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on navigators, Ian Marchant's top ten list of books of the night, and the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five books on winter.

--Marshal Zeringue