Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica

by Sara Wheeler | Travel |
ISBN: 067944078x Global Overview for this book
Registered by WarEagle78 of Hoover, Alabama USA on 10/20/2003
Buy from one of these Booksellers:
Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT | Bol.com
17 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by WarEagle78 from Hoover, Alabama USA on Monday, October 20, 2003
A facinating travel book about the writer's adventures in Antarctica. From the book cover:

Accounts of [the epic Antarctica expeditions of Cook, Amundsen, Shackleford et al] alternate with Sara Wheeler's own adventures in Antarctica, where a motley crew of scientists, drifters and dreamers search for bacterial traces that might hold the key to life on Mars, harass penguins and seek to measure this still largely impenetrable land.

Sara Wheeler writes with humor, intelligence and infectious enthusiasm. Terra Incognita is a classic of its genre.

Journal Entry 2 by WarEagle78 from Hoover, Alabama USA on Monday, October 27, 2003
Offering as a bookring. PM me if you are interested! I'll need your state if US and your country if not US. Please let me know if you can/will ship internationally.

Journal Entry 3 by WarEagle78 from Hoover, Alabama USA on Saturday, November 01, 2003
Mailed today to Muzette to start the bookring! Here's the current order but please check back before sending the book forward -- others will be added if they ask.

Muzette in Canada
mytilusgirl in England
pikapolonica in Sweden
bookmaniac70 in Bulgaria
PenelopePitstop in Italy
Clawdia in Spain (asked to be skipped)
mamikaem in MO
SalDragski in TX
Kernow8 in England
Ilios in FL
pashmack in FL
arugh48187 in Minn
Ada2 in Australia
fleebo in Australia
muffin77 in Germany
ariuca in Spain
suefitz in CA <------- book is traveling to here (6/30/07)

WarEagle78 in AL <----------back to me!

Journal Entry 4 by muzette on Thursday, November 13, 2003
Just received the book. I have a 20 pages term paper to write this weekend... so I'll start probably on Monday. I can't wait.

Journal Entry 5 by muzette on Friday, November 28, 2003
I just finished reading the book. I had high expectations since I myself am dreaming of seeing Antarctica one day. What a great coincidence. On Sunday November 23, 2003 there was a total solar eclipse over Antarctica!

WOW! I really enjoyed the book. Traveling as often as I can myself, I could totally related with Wheeler's quest to relate "spiritually" with the place. I truly believe that a place can change you if you let it. She writes: “The silence was like the accumulation of centuries of solitude. I was shocked that such emptiness could inspire me with awe, but it did. It was the purest landscape, the granded, and, so it seemed to me, the most exalted. I had a powerful sense that I didn’t exist at all. The sublime grandeur of nature can strip away layers of the ego…”

In addition to being touched by her writing with regards to death and inner demons, I sould point out that her prose is also very funny at times and translates very well her adventures and mishaps in the South Pole, as well as the camaraderie of the Polies. She writes: "Outside the door, someone belched like the volcanic lake in Cameroon which emitted gases so poisonous that hundreds died".

The interest in this book also lies in everything that I learned with regards to polar exploration.

Thank you WarEagle78! I had a great time reading this book.

December 3, 2003
I just sent the book by surface mail!

Journal Entry 6 by Mytilus from Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom on Monday, January 05, 2004
Arrived back from Christmas hols to find this book patiently awaiting me. Will read ASAP. Thank you Muzette.

Journal Entry 7 by Mytilus from Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom on Friday, January 16, 2004
What a wonderful book! Not only is the subject of great interest to me, (combining the Antarctic and science) but Sara Wheeler is a compelling writer. Her use of language is wonderful and it is this, coupled with her humour which makes this book special, fascinating subject matter notwithstanding. I will certainly be keeping my eyes open for more work from this author.

I wonder if she ever met seismic man again...?

I sent this book sent to pikapolonica on 13th January '04. I do hope you enjoy this glorious book as much as I did.

Thank you Wareagle78.

Journal Entry 8 by pikapolonica on Monday, January 19, 2004
The book is here in snowy Stockholm and looks like a fabulous story. Thank you, Mytilusgirl and WarEagle78. I will write more when I have read it.

Update (Jan 21st): it didn't take me too long to read this, did it? :) What a fantastic book! I envy the writer the chance to travel to Antarctica, it is wonderful to experience something like that ... Hm, perhaps I should myself try to find an Antarctica-related project for my PhD? Well, before (and if at all) that happens, I will be certainly looking for other books by Sara Wheeler to satisfy my wanderlust.

The book is now on its way from the almost Antarctic-like Stockholm with -15C to bookmaniac70 in the warmer south.

PS: to prove the Antarctic conditions here: on the photo taken last Sunday are me and two friends walking on ice on the frozen Baltic sea in one of the bays around Stockholm. :)

Journal Entry 9 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Wednesday, February 04, 2004
I received the book today.I`m excited to have to read a book about something so exotic,so interesting! Antarctica has always been a target of my imagination.

I`m at the middle of two more books for various rays and rings so please bear with me,I shall try to start reading this one ASAP. And I shall keep you in touch how far my reading is going.

Thank you for sending this book!

Journal Entry 10 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Saturday, February 14, 2004
Started reading two days ago.

Journal Entry 11 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Sunday, February 15, 2004
I am in the middle of the book.IN my school years I was very interested in polar expeditions and read about Scott and Amundsen.Now I`m glad to be reminded about that feeling and admiration for the Poles.Most of all I like the spiritual aspect of Sarah`s journey to Antarctica.I was not aware that the eternal ice and whiteness give such awareness and inner calm.At the same time,I wished for more detailed explanation about practical life and coping with everyday activities in polar conditions...but I suppose there are already a lot of books written about it.Shall post upon finishing.

Journal Entry 12 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Friday, February 20, 2004
Well,I`m quite ashamed of myself but it seems I will not be able to finish the book.Somehow I cannot focus myself on it.I`m distracted by the switching between historical facts on Antarctica expeditions,and her stay.I don`t think the problem is in the book...rather I`m disconcentrated right now,having too many books to read.So,I`m going to mail the next one to receive the book.I`m glad that this book came my way.For me the feeling of bliss and inner calm experienced in Antarctica which she describes,is of much interest and I intend to look for other books as well on this subject.

Journal Entry 13 by PenelopePitstop from Melzo, Lombardia Italy on Friday, March 12, 2004
Arrived yesterday...
I'm really courious and will start it immediately.


Journal Entry 14 by PenelopePitstop from Melzo, Lombardia Italy on Thursday, March 25, 2004
I liked the story of the adventures of the author very much. Sometimes it was a little bit confusing to read this book because historical data and the current emotions of the author were quite mixed together. I don't have any background of the history of this continent so it was not really easy to distinguish and remember all the names of the various explorers.
Sarah Weehler writes in a funny way and that helped a lot :-D
I'm sending the book to arugh48187 because clawdia has a message in her shelf asking to be spkipped in all bookrings.

Journal Entry 15 by Mamikaem from Maryland Heights, Missouri USA on Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Received this April 6th - looking forward to it!

UPDATE: 5/25/04 - Finally to the top of my TBR file, I'm starting this one today!

Journal Entry 16 by Mamikaem from Maryland Heights, Missouri USA on Saturday, June 19, 2004
This was a very good read. I learned so much about Antarctica! It's sparked a new interest in me. However, I'm skimming through the last one-fourth of the book as I'm feeling the pressure of taking too long with this, along with an ever growing book of TBR book rings!

Mailed to Saldragski on 6/22/04.

Journal Entry 17 by SalDragski from San Antonio, Texas USA on Friday, June 25, 2004
Received today. Have one other to read then this one.

Journal Entry 18 by SalDragski from San Antonio, Texas USA on Saturday, July 17, 2004
Could not get into this book. Read like a history book instead of a novel.

Journal Entry 19 by Kernow8 from Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom on Friday, August 27, 2004
Arrived today - thanks for shipping it to England, SalDragski. I'm looking forward to reading this!

Journal Entry 20 by Kernow8 from Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom on Monday, November 01, 2004
Quick update - I haven't forgotten about this and am reading it now. Will send to Ilios within the next week or so. More soon...

Journal Entry 21 by Kernow8 from Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom on Monday, November 08, 2004
Fabulous book. I'm a big fan of travel writing anyway, but I particularly enjoyed this one. Wheeler researched her trip in minute details - the reading list is enormous (I've photocopied the bibliography so that I can delve deeper into the snow and ice at some future time) and I loved the way it included fiction and poetry as well as the explorers' and scientists' accounts. I also appreciated her writings about the spirituality of the place and the way it brought her inner peace. I'll look out for more of Sara Wheeler...

Thanks wareagle78 - this is now in the mail on its way back to America, for now.

Journal Entry 22 by Ilios from Tampa, Florida USA on Sunday, November 14, 2004
Just got this book! I didn't know what it was at first because there's no cover, but I think I am going to enjoy it a lot. I love traveling and books about travel. I have a couple of rings in front of this one, but I'll start reading it as soon as I can. Thanks for sharing this!

Update 2/15/05
I apologize for the delay in getting to this book. It is the next book on my TBR pile and I am really looking forward to reading it. Grad school has completely eaten my reading time, so I am slower than usual. Thank you all for your understanding.

Update 3/13/05
I am enjoying the book very much. It reminds me of Amir Klink's books (he is a Brazilian adventurer who spent a year in Antartica in his ship, which was caught in the ice on purpose - the name of the book is Paratii). While I am going through the book, I'll contact the next BXer, to speed things up. Thank you for your patience!

Journal Entry 23 by Ilios from Tampa, Florida USA on Monday, April 11, 2005
This was a very good book. I thouroughly enjoyed this feminine perspective on the exploration of Antartica. Sara Wheeler also did an outstanding job at presenting different obscure scientific experiments in an approachable way, explaining their conclusions and the possible benefits for us all.

I also enjoyed her recounting of the early expeditions and her analysis of the different personalities that made the Polar age. It made me want to read more books about the subject.

Thank you so much for sharing this!


sending to pashmack today! Enjoy!

Journal Entry 25 by pashmack from Lake Worth, Florida USA on Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Arrived in today's mail. I'll start reading later tonight. Thank you!

Journal Entry 26 by pashmack from Lake Worth, Florida USA on Sunday, May 01, 2005
What an entertaining and informative book. I had no idea how woefully ignorant I was/am about Antarctica and its history. I did find myself wishing for photos, though, so I tracked some down on the net:


Thanks, WarEagle78 for sharing this wonderful adventure. It will be off to the next reader once I receive the address. (mailed on 5/4/05)

Journal Entry 27 by arugh48187 from Edina, Minnesota USA on Monday, May 16, 2005
Found this one in my mailbox this morning. I have a couple of bookrings in front of it, but I should get to it soon. You can keep track of its status via my bookshelf.

Journal Entry 28 by arugh48187 from Edina, Minnesota USA on Friday, June 24, 2005
Can't say I was overly thrilled with this book. I did finish it, but it took me forever. I too had some confusion regarding all of the different explorers. They all got thrown at me is just a few pages and having no background in Antarctic history, they got all mixed up. I enjoyed the bits about Sara's experience and wish she had just stuck to that. A couple of laugh out loud moments were when she said that somebody took their wife on their journey south and being the young airhead she took nail polish; only to have it freeze. Hee! I also liked it when he said that they hung up their clothes by licking a corner and holding it up to a wall until it froze there.

I just have one question. Why is it when people are away from home and stationed somewhere working for long periods of time that they suddenly morph into drunken sots? I have never understood this phenomena.

I have been trying to contact the next reader, but am having no luck. I will keep at it until I get somebody to respond with an address. Thanks for sharing.

Released 13 yrs ago (6/30/2005 UTC) at Post Office at 153rd and Garrett in Apple Valley, Minnesota -- Controlled Releases



Sending out to Ada2 who is the next reader. Happy reading!

Journal Entry 30 by Ada2 from North Avoca, New South Wales Australia on Sunday, October 30, 2005
This book has taken a VERY long time to reach Australia! I've actually had it now for about 6 weeks (sorry I didn't journal when it arrived!) - but looking at the last entry date it could have been to Antarctica and back before it reached me.

I have had several attempts to engage with this book and have finally given up. I found the writing to be disconnected - it never seemed quite sure if it was a history or a biography or a journal or a semi-fictionalised account or an attempt to be all of those things. Sometimes that mixture of styles works, but it didn't work for me here unfortunately (though some have enjoyed it).

The historical accounts in particular distanced me - I am familiar with much of the history of Antarctica and generally never tire of re-tellings of it, but I did tire of the accounts here. More enjoyable was when Wheeler wrote about other people and situations she herself encountered. I wished I could just find those bits and avoid the dry history lessons.

Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy being transported to the cold Southern regions.

Will send it on to fleebo this week.

Journal Entry 31 by Fleebo on Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Received in the mail today. Thanks, Ada2 and WarEagle78. I will get to it ASAP, but I do have two hefty bookrings ahead of it.

Updated 26 April: Oh no, I hadn't realised that I have had the book for so long... if you are desperate to move it along please PM me.

16 May: On its way to muffin77, mostly unread. It should arrive in 3-4 weeks. I flipped through it at speed and it just didn't pull me in. Thanks anyway.

Journal Entry 32 by Muffin77 from Leipzig, Sachsen Germany on Monday, May 29, 2006
Arrived safely - thanks a lot for letting me read the book.
edit (oct 2006); I am very sorry that the book is still stuck at my place. due to health problems I was not able to do anything BC-wise for a too long time. anyway, now I am reading (and enjoying) the book and also *ariuca* is already PMed for her adress.


First of all I am very sorry that I kept the book so long!!!! it wasn't a bad read although the book could have been finished after part I and II, I think. The last pages were a bit challenging... anyway, I sent the book on to Spain this morning. Thanks a lot again *wareagle* for letting me read it!

Journal Entry 34 by ariuca from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Sunday, November 12, 2006
Picked up last Friday from the post office. Thanks a lot for sharing and sending the book!

Journal Entry 35 by ariuca from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Thursday, May 10, 2007
First of all, I'm sorry for having kept the book for so long. I just can say it was very hard for me to get interested and focused on the story... Real life-facts in Antarctica were curious and interesting but Sarah Keller's writting did not like me too much.
Thanks anyway wareagle78 for sharing it. I've just Pmed suefitz for her address.

Journal Entry 36 by ariuca from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Saturday, June 30, 2007
I'm sorry I couldn't send this book before, but it is now in its way to suefitz. I've mailed it this morning.

Journal Entry 37 by Suefitz from Saratoga, California USA on Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Sorry for the delay - I had a pile of books that were for an August swap (you don''t open until then) and I had put this in that pile.

I have received and will start reading asap.

Journal Entry 38 by Suefitz at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, April 26, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (4/26/2008 UTC) at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



Releasing after months of being kidnapped.

Journal Entry 39 by WarEagle78 from Hoover, Alabama USA on Friday, May 02, 2008
Home again! After 4-1/2 years and ten countries on four continents, this bookring is completed. It came home, a bit weary and smelly, stuffed full of postcards from far-away lands, just like the traveler it was from the author's inception. Thanks to everyone - those who read it and enjoyed it, and also to those who couldn't "get into" the story but faithfully moved it along. I think this volume deserves a rest.

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.