Winter reads: the latest books taking in pistes, poles and snowy peaks
Find a spot by the fireside and wrap yourself up in this season’s latest titles taking in the peaks, poles and pistes.
1. The history book: Antarctica: A History in 100 Objects
Sourced from polar institutions worldwide, items showcased range from snow goggles adopted from Inuit technology by Roald Amundsen and his men; a bust of Lenin installed in the heart of Antarctica by the Third Soviet Antarctic Expedition; the Polar Star aircraft used to complete the first trans-Antarctic flight; and ice cores containing more than 800,000 years of climate history. There’s also an examination of the frozen beard as a symbol of Antarctic masculinity. Conway, £25.
2. The non-fiction epic: Himalaya: Exploring the Roof of the World
Veteran historian John Keay draws on a lifetime of exploration and study with a vivid biography of the Himalayas. A place that’s fascinated scholars and mystics, sportsmen and spies, colonists, pilgrims, botanists, mapmakers and mountaineers, the Himalayas is also a place of farmers and traders, and yet it remains one of the world’s last great wildernesses. With the impact of climate change, Keay asks if Himalayan life as we know it might cease to exist. Bloomsbury Circus, £30.
3. The thriller: Where Blood Runs Cold
Nothing inspires a blood-chilling narrative like a ski trip to Norway. At least according to Giles Kristian, the British-Norwegian author who was moved to write his latest book after crosscountry skiing there. The thriller follows Erik and his daughter on a long-awaited ski trip, where they witness a brutal murder and flee for their lives across the snow, chased through the mountains by masked men on snowmobiles.
One to read with the chalet door firmly shut. Penguin, £7.99.
4. The photography book: The Alps 1900: A Portrait in Colour
A lavish gift for the mountain-lover in your life: the beauty of the Alps is showcased via photochromes, photographs, travel posters and colour postcards of the 19th and 20th centuries. In vicarious style, tweeds and felt hat on, cross high alpine passes at St Gotthard; climb Mont Blanc; marvel at crystal-clear lakes in Switzerland; explore the Engadin and then retire to grand hotels in Gstaad, Grindelwald, Davos, St Moritz and Cortina. Taschen, £150.
5. The memoir: Landscapes of Silence: From Childhood to the Arctic
Anthropologist and filmmaker Hugh Brody weaves story of growing up in Derbyshire in the shadow of the Second World War, with tales of distant landscapes including a kibbutz in Israel and the Canadian Arctic where, in the total silence of the tundra, he learnt what it was to be alive. This is a bold work of anthropology, autobiography and philosophy born from years spent with Arctic communities. Faber & Faber, £20.
Published in the Winter Sports 2022/23 guide, distributed with the December 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)
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