Non-fiction: Sarah Moss: Scott’s Last Biscuit – the Literature of Polar Exploration (2006, Signal Books)
This is a book which analyzes interesting and relevant questions posed by the wealth of Arctic and Antarctic literature. I’ve read so much trivial and willfully boring literary analysis that its good to have a book dealing with the big questions, like the implications of people writing accounts of their own deaths.
The only downside is Moss’s annoying judgementality when it comes to some of the characters in polar exploration. Sometimes she’s entirely justified, but it seems a bit bizarre when she reads all kinds of weirdness into Nansen’s dismay at the fact that his crew was growing fat. Surely it makes sense that a crew should keep fit in order to better deal with any surprises that might appear out of the ice?