Monday, April 14, 2014


One of the things that I really enjoy about some of the books that we have read is the pictures that are often included. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and often these pictures help me to process and contextualize many of the descriptions that the authors have included. I think that the pictures have helped me to engage better with the book and the (usually survival) stories of the characters. The maps are great, but what good is a map with a 50 mile/inch scale when we are dealing with the intricacies of life on a mountain or in the arctic and antarctic.

What I don't like about how many of the books are structured is the cluster of pictures in the middle of the book. When these exist I often have to return to the description of the scene being described to contextualize where it falls within the story. I think that Blum's Annapurna does the best job of utilizing pictures to help the reader engage with the story and the day to day processes of the expedition members. The pictures are integrated into the pages and help the reader to see, not just read about, what was happening on the mountain. We know that Shackleton took many pictures because he sold the future rights to the pictures to help finance the expedition. I don't get why Lansing chose to include art drawings of the expedition and a random boat at sea instead of more pictures of their "incredible voyage." I understand that these are not designed to be picture books but I would like to see authors integrate more visuals into their books.

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