Captain Scott – Ranulph Fiennes

Captain Scott - Ranulph Fiennes
Captain Scott – Ranulph Fiennes

Disliking Ranulph Fiennes’s writing style, I gave up at the point Scott’s first expedition to the South Pole (the Discovery Expedition) ended in 1904.

Perhaps the pointedly pro-Scott style was necessary to counteract / correct the negative portrayals of Scott published in the 1980s and 1990s; but it’s the “I know better”  interjections that irritate the most, just as they did in Jim Perrin’s Shipton and Tilman.

Publisher webpage: Captain Scott – Ranulph Fiennes

Touching The Void – Joe Simpson

Touching The Void - Joe Simpson
Touching The Void – Joe Simpson

Another South American-set autobiography that’s taken me far longer than it should to get round to reading. Ever since Hazel and I embarked on the Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit, I’ve thought, “I really ought to read Touching the Void.” – after all, we circumnavigated the Andean peaks concerned.

Joe Simpson’s account of the first ascent of the West Face of Siula Grande, which he and climbing partner Simon Yates made in 1985, gives one of the most vivid insights into the emotional experiences – the highs and the lows – that accompany climbing, and motivate those who spend time in the mountains. Touching the Void also illustrates just how quickly triumph can turn to peril, and just how deep your personal reserves of mental and physical stamina need to be once risk turns into reality.

Definitely time to see the film*, and to listen to his Desert Island Discs.

Amazon Link: Touching The Void – Joe Simpson

* How can I have missed this?! Touching the Void Live in Concert at the Barbican in London in June [2017]

Chile: Travels in a Thin Country – Sara Wheeler

Chile: Travels In A Thin Country - Sara Wheeler
Chile: Travels In A Thin Country – Sara Wheeler

I don’t know why I sometimes hesitate over reading Sara Wheeler’s travelogues – I always love them.

In Chile: Travels in a Thin Country, we see South America’s thin country from top to bottom (and back up again to Santiago) in the company of 30/31 year old Sara and a collection of Chilean and gringo men (and a scattering if wives and girlfriends), from all walks of life – ex pat and nuns, truckers and policemen, academics and backpackers, Central Valley descendants of conquistadors and descendants of dispossessed Indian tribes.

Wonderful.

Publisher’s webpage: Chile: Travels in a Thin Country – Sara Wheeler

Bound – Benedict Jacka

Bound - Benedict Jacka
Bound – Benedict Jacka

Diviner mage Alex Verus is in deep trouble: on the run from a death sentence passed by the Light Council on both him and Anne, his only way out is to accept Dark mage Morden’s ‘offer’ to work as his aide, and Richard Drakh’s ‘suggestion’ that ex-apprentice Alex return to work for him.

Arachne’s guidance to search for a dreamstone leads Alex and Anne, Luna and Varim to a deep shadow world, and deeper into the murky politics of the UK’s magic-wielding mage society.

Keep them coming!

Author’s webpage: Bound – Benedict Jacka

The Baklava Club – Jason Goodwin

The Baklava Club - Jason Goodwin
The Baklava Club – Jason Goodwin

Back to nineteenth century Istanbul, in the company of Yashim the eunuch who is also a bit of a sleuth – although not much of a eunuch it appears as you head towards the end of the book.

In The Baklava Club our Ottoman Detective grapples with Italian revolutionaries, a Polish Prince and a Catholic priest, as well as the valide and a visiting daughter of a Decembrist exile.

Publisher page: The Baklava Club – Jason Goodwin