“If Antarctica were music it would be Mozart. Art, and it would be Michelangelo. Literature, and it would be Shakespeare. And yet it is something even greater; the only place on earth that is still as it should be. May we never tame it.”

~ Andrew Denton

My Musings

There are tourists and there are travelers and then there are those who go to Antarctica – quite aptly in the middle of nowhere or shall I say at the end of the world?

Antarctica! Who wouldn’t want to have a piece of that journey? Who wouldn’t want to know about a voyage to the frozen continent?

Imagine my excitement when I got an opportunity to read about such a one-of-a-kind experience. Quite understandably, it was with great enthusiasm that I sat down to read Anuj Tikku’s latest book, Antarctica Diaries.

Read on to know more about my thoughts on this book.

What to expect?

Expect a book that is a travelogue about the world’s most remote continent – Antarctica.

Expect a book that gives you an idea of what Antarctica is really like? how to get there? how much does it really cost? how perilous the journey is? what kind of precautions does one need to take? etc. You get to learn all this albeit a little vaguely.

Also, expect a book in which you get to read about the Antarctica experience of two travellers – the author Anuj Tikku and his fellow traveller Kavita Kumble.

Who can read?

Since the book is written in simple English, it can be picked up by any type of reader – beginner, intermediate or voracious.

 How good is the author’s writing style?

The author is quite candid when it comes to narrating his experiences. What I also enjoyed is the way the author writes in conversational English as opposed to very formal English.

The use of slang is considerably reduced in Anuj’s latest book and that is definitely a step in the right direction.

What I liked?

The extra effort that the author puts in educating the reader about Antarctica’s history and its fascinating wildlife is something that I thoroughly enjoyed.

It was a pleasure reading about the various types of whales and penguins that the continent is home to.

On the other hand, it was quite a shocking thing to know about the phenomenon called Whaling, that once flourished as an industry on the continent and which almost led to the extinction of whales.

It was also a little scary reading about the dreadful Drake Passage – one of the world’s most dangerous and choppy sea journeys.

Let’s talk about the editing

Antarctica Diaries is planned poorly and has a lot of editing mistakes; enough to put you off reading from time to time.

In addition to the editing, there is also the case with the layout design and general touch ups.

There is one chapter, which for reasons unknown, is included twice in the book. All this kind of upsets the reader who is looking for a quality read.

The complementary bonus

The outstandingly stunning and breathtaking pictures of the various legs of the journey, the wildlife, and the continent itself are probably the best part of the book.

They are just stunning! And they do a great job of capturing the essence of Antarctica.

What I did not like?

While reading the book, the reader does not get to know which portions have been written by the author and which have been written by the contributing guest writer.

Throughout the book, there are two distinct writing styles that are visible but with no explanations or notes – its all a big guessing game.

What could have been avoided?

Yet again, I read another nonfiction without an author’s note or introduction. Yet again, I find myself wanting for explanations and notes that were only to be found missing.

When it comes to nonfiction – be it any sub-genre – biography, self-help, travel writing, business & management – an integral and must I insist, mandatory part of the book should be an author’s note.

And because this is missing, I found myself looking for explanations where there were none.

The book starts randomly without telling us anything at all about the what, how, who, when and where of everything.

Is the book entertaining?

It will be wrong to say that Antarctica Diaries isn’t interesting. The subject in itself is such an interesting one that it is difficult to not feel curious about the book.

The book surely manages to hold the reader’s interest through its many chapters about Antarctica’s limited history, its stunning landscapes, its amazing wildlife, its extremely rough weather, and the sometimes-perilous journey that travellers are forced to undertake.

That being said, there are a lot of issues when it comes to the writing, planning, structuring and editing of the book that cannot be ignored and that play a crucial role in determining the overall quality of the book.

Pick it up

  • If you enjoy travelogues.
  • If you are looking for a rather short travel read.
  • If you are curious to read about a trip to Antarctica.

Skip it

  • If you don’t like travelogues or travel writings.
  • If you can’t stand poorly edited books.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Antarctica Diaries using the link below.