Memorial Hall Library

Armchair Travel: 7 Continents in 14 Books

For all the benefits of traveling with none of the hassle, check out some of these books that are set across the world's continents and written by authors local to their settings. With fiction and nonfiction, science fiction, biography, and more, there are plenty of ways to experience a new place or revisit one you already know. Travel around the world with your library card!

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	Alone in Antarctica
Alone in Antarctica
by Felicity Aston

In the whirling noise of our advancing technological age, we are seemingly never alone, never out of touch with the barrage of electronic data and information. Felicity Aston, physicist and meteorologist, took two months off from all human contact as she became the first woman -- and only the third person in history -- to ski across the entire continent of Antarctica alone. She did it, too, with the simple apparatus of cross-country, without the aids used by her prededecessors, two Norwegian men who each employed either parasails or kites. Aston's journey across the ice at the bottom of the world asked of her the extremes in terms of mental and physical bravery.

	South Pole Station
South Pole Station
by Ashley Shelby

Do you have digestion problems due to stress? Do you have problems with authority? How many alcoholic drinks do you consume a week? Would you rather be a florist or a truck driver? These are the questions that decide who has what it takes to live at South Pole Station, a place with an average temperature of -54°F and no sunlight for six months a year. Cooper Gosling is adrift at thirty, unmoored by a family tragedy and floundering in her career as a painter. So she applies to the National Science Foundation Artists & Writers Program and flees to Antarctica where she encounters a group of misfits motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own.

	The boy who harnessed the wind : creating currents of electricity and hope
The boy who harnessed the wind : creating currents of electricity and hope
by William Kamkwamba

One of the coauthors tells his engaging and inspiring true story of hope, tenacity, and imagination, in which as an African teenager he built a windmill from scraps, creating electricity for his village and a better life for himself and his family.

	Lagoon
Lagoon
by Nnedi Okorafor

A famous rapper, a biologist, and a rogue soldier become world protectors after first contact with an alien ambassador results in global chaos and an attack that threatens humanity with mass extinction. 

	Our women on the ground : essays by Arab women reporting from the Arab world
Our women on the ground : essays by Arab women reporting from the Arab world
by Zahra Hankir

19 Arab women journalists speak out about what it's like to report on their changing homelands in this first-of-its-kind essay collection.  A growing number of intrepid Arab women, whose access to and understanding of their subjects are vastly different than their Western counterparts', are working tirelessly to shape more nuanced narratives about their homelands through their work as reporters and photojournalists. Their voices have rarely been heard on the international stage--until now.

	Wolf totem
Wolf totem
by Rong Jiang

A best-selling work in China is set in the 1960s on the eve of the Cultural Revolution and follows the spiritual journey of Beijing intellectual Chen Zhen into the world of the nomadic Mongols, a dying culture that honors the endangered Mongolian wolf and follows a philosophy about maintaining a balance with nature.

	Dark emu : black seeds : agriculture or accident?
Dark emu : black seeds : agriculture or accident?
by Bruce Pascoe

In this seminal book, Bruce Pascoe uncovers evidence that long before the arrival of white men, Aboriginal people across the continent were building dams and wells; planting, irrigating, and harvesting seeds, and then preserving the surplus and storing it in houses, sheds, or secure vessels; and creating elaborate cemeteries and manipulating the landscape. All of these behaviors were inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag, a convenient lie that worked to justify dispossession.

	The swan book : a novel
The swan book : a novel
by Alexis Wright

Having grown up in a polluted dry Australian swamp where her adoptive mother fills her head with fantastical stories, Oblivia Ethelyne is whisked away by Warren Finch, Australia’s first Aboriginal president, who makes her his First Lady and confines her to a tower in a lawless southern city.

	The motorcycle diaries : notes on a Latin American journey
The motorcycle diaries : notes on a Latin American journey
by Ernesto Guevara

A chronicle of the author's seven-month motorcycle journey throughout South America reveals the beginning of his transformation into a dedicated revolutionary.

	The Remainder
The Remainder
by Alia Trabucco Zerán

Santiago, Chile. The city is covered in ash, a deceased mother is lost in transit, and three children of ex-militants face a past they can neither remember nor forget. Intense, intelligent, and sensitive to the shape and weight of words, this remarkable debut presents a new way to count the cost of a pain that stretches across generations.

	Embers : one Ojibway's meditations
Embers : one Ojibway's meditations
by Richard Wagamese

In this carefully-curated selection of everyday reflections, Richard Wagamese finds lessons in both the mundane and sublime as he muses on the universe, drawing inspiration from working in the bush, sawing and cutting and stacking wood for winter as well as the smudge ceremony to bring him closer to the Creator. Honest, evocative, and articulate, he explores the various manifestations of grief, joy, recovery, beauty, gratitude, physicality, and spirituality -- concepts many find hard to express.

	Last night in Nuuk
Last night in Nuuk
by Niviaq Korneliussen

This debut novel from a young author weaves together the lives of five young people living in Greenland's capital: Fia, who has recently sworn off men; Amaq, struggling to cope with her past; Inuk, forced to escape after political scandal; and Ivik and Sara, who must confront a transition in their relationship

	The Balkan Express : Fragments from the Other Side of the War
The Balkan Express : Fragments from the Other Side of the War
by Slavenka Drakulic

One of Eastern Europe's most important writers presents a collection of essays that explore how ordinary people respond to the situation in the former Yugoslavia and question the role of ordinary Yugoslavians in the conflict.

	Odysseus abroad
Odysseus abroad
by Amit Chaudhuri

Amit Chaudhuri charts a day in the life of two Indian men -- a twenty-two-year-old student trying (and failing) at being a poet and his bachelor uncle, who has been living in genteel poverty for nearly three decades -- as they explore London, the city they now call home. A wistful and beguiling work of fiction, the novel follows nephew and uncle on one of their weekly forays about town, as they ruminate on their situations, the art of living, and each other.
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