Monday, June 12, 2006

Swimming to Antarctica (Lynne Cox)

As I've said before, I am not an open water person, but I do like to swim in the saltwater pool at my apartment complex. I like the pool because it's clean and not as chlorine-y as the one at the gym, and I especially like to be able to touch the bottom in case I get tired. In Swimming to Antarctica, Lynne Cox recounts her life in the open water, where she prefers the unexpected nature of long-distance swimming. Cox became the youngest person to swim the English Channel when she was fifteen (she also broke the current world record with that swim).

Cox's tone is conversational, and she absolutely loves what she does, which comes through in the writing. Her tone can become too matter of fact at times (such as that time when she was swimming in Africa and, oh by the way, when she was almost finished with her swim, one of the people in the water with her hit a shark with a spear gun, a shark that had its mouth open and ready to eat Cox). But I don't think Cox wants those kind of adventures to be the focus. Instead she explores how much work went into her preparation, and how even though her body was more well-suited to cold water than most people, she still worked very, very hard. This is a great book and definitely one I had trouble putting down.

Next book up: Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

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