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Summer holiday reading

February 15, 2011

Best way to pass time

I’ve read some great books this summer. All are for pleasure but some are also directed towards my research in outdoor adventure activities.

Four Fish: The story of fishing and what’s left to eat by Paul Greenberg. This is a must read for everyone who eats fish, loves fishing or is concerned with our oceans. It is well-written, about four species of well-harvested/farmed fish; salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna and the relationship of humans to these species. It has made me much more aware about what a precious resource fish are – do I really need that can of tuna? – and how we are well on the way to collapsing many fisheries.

Life at the Extremes: The Science of Survival by Frances AshCroft. This is a great concept – exploring the extremes the body can go to, from how deep a diver can go underwater to surviving extremes of heat and cold. But I felt it sort of fell a bit flat at the end as the author strays too far in trying to impress with all the research she has done, some of which – the stuff about animals and organisms – would have been better left out.

Voyaging the Pacific: In search of the South by Miles Hordern. I really enjoyed this understated book, which  I ‘borrowed’ from my Dad’s bookshelf. It’s about an English guy, who has lived in New Zealand for several years, and solo sails his 28-foot sloop from New Zealand to Patagonia and through the Pacific Islands. He vividly describes what it is like sailing alone and intersperses the adventure with looking at the history of sailing. I haven’t done any sailing but I got a good idea of the pleasures and lowlights of it from this book.

Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thorton. This has to be among my favourite books of the year (actually finished it last year). Thorton is a sociologist/journalist who investigates the mysteries of the contemporary art world. She did hundreds of interviews over several years and organises the book into different aspects of the art world, including The Auction, The Crit (art school critiques), The Art Fair, The Studio Visit, The Biennale and The Magazine. I loved the way she structured the book (would like to do something similar for adventure) and  covered the areas in such depth.


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