Monday, December 20, 2010
"It is July first and fifty-one degrees above zero. I stand poised on a gravel beach at the western edge of Prudhoe Bay, three hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, and a mile of silt-laden water separated me from what is left of the ice. The Inupiat - the Eskimos - call in aunniq, rotten ice, sea ice broken into unconsolidated chunks of varying heights and widths, like a poorly made frozen jigsaw puzzle. A few days ago, the entire bay stood frozen. During winter, it is locked under six feet of ice. Trucks drive on it to resupply an offshore oil production facility. If one were insane, or if one were simply too cheap to fly, or if boredom instilled a spirit of adventure, one could walk north to the North Pole and then south to Norway or Finland or Russia. Temperatures would range below minus fifty degrees, not counting windchill." ... Opening lines of Cold by Bill Streever
Recently I was on the Sony site looking at the Sony Reader Pocket Edition, noticing that it is now discounted $30 through Christmas, and saw a video of a Martha Stewart segment of her TV show where she talked about what she was reading. Books I'm Reading is now a regular feature on her blog, and during this segment of her show she announced her new reading selection, which she reads on her Sony Pocket Edition, and it was Cold by Bill Streever. What better kind of book to read at the beginning of a cold snowy winter! (OK, maybe something called Warmth...) It sounded interesting and sure enough after checking it out of the library (remember that Philadelphia Library card I told you about for ebooks? Another great gift for the ebook reader you know), and beginning to read it I was hooked. I have not finished it yet, but I am really enjoying Bill Streever's writing. There's an easy flow, and like a favorite teacher who could make dirt interesting, Mr. Streever succeeds in making what could be a dry travelogue of experiences, so interesting. Here's the synopsis of the book...
From avalanches to glaciers, from seals to snowflakes, and from Shackleton's expedition to "The Year Without Summer," Bill Streever journeys through history, myth, geography, and ecology in a year-long search for cold—real, icy, 40-below cold. In July he finds it while taking a dip in a 35-degree Arctic swimming hole; in September while excavating our planet's ancient and not so ancient ice ages; and in October while exploring hibernation habits in animals, from humans to wood frogs to bears.
A scientist whose passion for cold runs red hot, Streever is a wondrous guide: he conjures woolly mammoth carcasses and the ice-age Clovis tribe from melting glaciers, and he evokes blizzards so wild readers may freeze—limb by vicarious limb.
If you'd like to read Cold by Bill Streever, right now it's $7.99 for your Kindle, Nook, or Sony eReader. And about that Philadelphia Library Card? Here's my original post about it, with links to find out more information. Remember, you are checking out ePub books, and that means Kindle owners are out of luck. And of course, Cold is also available in paperback or hardcover too!