Books for lyrical journeys of pilgrimage in landscape, the sea and ice and the true north. A list in progress.

January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment


Winter Count – Barry Lopez
The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World – Robert McGhee
The Island Within – Richard Nelson
The Norton Book of Nature Writing – ed. John Elder and Robert Finch
This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland – Gretel Ehrlich
A Woman in the Polar Night – Christiane Ritter
Sea Ice: An Introduction to its Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology – David N. Thomas
The Magnetic North: Notes From the Arctic Circle – Sara Wheeler
True North: Travels in Arctic Europe – Gavin Francis
Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic – Karen Oslund
The Arctic: An Anthology – Elizabeth Kolbert
The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule – Joanna Kavenna


Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories: The Biography of an Ocean – Simon Winchester
Hard Water – Jean Sprackland
Plainwater – Anne Carson
The Last Great Sea: A voyage through the human and natural history of the north pacific ocean – Terry Glavin
Passage To Juneau: A Sea and Its Meaning – Jonathan Raban
Islands: A trip through time and space – Peter Conrad


The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot – Robert Macfarlane
Sightlines – Kathleen Jamie
Nightwalk: A journey to the heart of nature – Chris Yates
To the River – Olivia Laing
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland – Sarah Moss
A Field Guide to Getting Lost – Rebecca Solnit
Mazes and Labyrinths – W.H. Starr Matthews
The Labyrinth: Symbol of Fear, Rebirth and Liberation – Helmut Jaskolski


Shallow Water Dictionary – John Stilgoe
Hard Water – Jean Sprackland
The Poetics of Space – Gaston Bachelard
Atlas of Remote Islands – Judith Schalansky
On Being Blue: a Philosophical Inquiry (colour blue) – William H. Gass
You are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination – Katharine Harmon
From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association – Kris Harzinski
Everything Sings. Maps for a Narrative Atlas – Denis Wood
The Dictionary of Imaginary Places – A. Manguel
A Dictionary of Northern Mythology – Rudolf Simek

Suggestions welcome


January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

In a normal world everything is falling apart. In the arctic circle there are no seasons or delineations of time like we experience, afternoon, then evening, then night. The sun doesn’t rise in the east, set in the west, sometimes it sets where it rose.


January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

A Voyage of Discovery, 1819

Made under the orders of the Admiralty, in, His Majesty’s Ships, Isabella and Alexander, for the purpose of exploring Baffin’s Bay and inquiring into the probability of NORTH-WEST PASSAGE.

By John Ross, K.S. Captain Royal Navy





Iceberg, an insulated mountain of ice.

A Floe, a piece of ice of a considerable size, but the extent of which can be distinguished.

A Patch, a number of pieces of ice overlapping and joining each other.

A Stream, a number of pieces of ice joining each other in a ridge on any particular direction.

Loose Ice, a number of pieces near each other, but through which the ship can make way.

Sailing Ice, a number of pieces at a distance, sufficient for a ship to be able to beat a windward among it.

Brash Ice, ice in a broken state, and in such small pieces, that the ship can easily force through.

Cake Ice, ice formed in the early part of the same season.

Bay Ice, newly-formed ice, having the colour of the water.

Hummocks of Ice, humps of ice thrown up by some pressure, or force, on a field or floe.

Heavy Ice, that which has a great depth in proportion, and is not in a state of decay.

A Lane, or Vein, a narrow channel between two floes or fields.

Beset, surrounded with ice, so as to be obliged to remain immovable.

Nipt, caught and jammed between two pieces of ice.

A Tongue, a piece projecting from the part of an iceberg which is under water.

A Calf, a piece of ice which breaks from the lower part of a field or berg, and rises with violence to the surface of the water.

A Barrier, ice stretching from the land ice to the sea ice, or across a channel, so as to be impassable.

Land Ice, ice attached to the shore within which there is no channel.

Sea Ice, ice within which there is a separation from the land.

Download the book. Warning for colonial descriptions of First Nations people.

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