20 Books About Antarctica That Will Have You Booking A Trip Like, Now

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Antarctica is one of the top places I want to go everywhere. For not liking winter that much, almost everywhere I want to go is cold and snowy: Iceland, Greenland, Antarctica, and Churchill, Manitoba.

But close to the top is also Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark, then Argentina/Chile which can get pretty cold, and Mongolia which does, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate winter at all, I just don’t want too much of it. But, being in Arizona this winter, all I’m thinking about now is snow so I figured what better time for a post about books set in Antarctica?

That’s also why I’ve been on a Nordic and winter kick. But it’s also just the season. So sit back, grab a book (or four), make some hot chocolate, and start dreaming about the days you’ll be spending with all those cute penguins.

  • If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free.  Get that Audible deal here.
  • If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd!  You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot.
  • If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
  • Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Get that deal here.
  • Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
  • Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.

No Horizon Is So Far: Two Women and Their Historic Journey across Antarctica

Liv and Ann are the first women to cross Antarctica and this is the story of their experience. It follows their planning and their trek from the Norwegian sector to McMurdo Station. To get there, they walked, skied, and ice sailed across 1,700 miles of ice for almost three months, pulling their 250-pound supply sledges in temperatures as low as -35°F.

I would love to read this one because it’s two things I love: Antarctica and a human-powered journey.

Skiing Into the Bright Open: My Solo Journey to the South Pole

After 745 miles in fifty days of skiing solo, Liv finally arrives at the Amundsen-Scott base in the early hours of Christmas morning. For almost 41 years she has been dreaming of the South Pole and in 1994, she reached her goal.

This is the story of her exhausting and exhilarating experience of being the first known woman to ski unsupported to the south pole alone. I would love to read this one, too!

Alone in Antarctica

While Felicity didn’t walk on her journey, she was the first woman and only the third person ever to ski across the entire continent of Antarctica on her own. 

She did the whole thing without the help of parasails or kites, unlike her two predecessors.

She had to face the possibility of hypothermia and unseen cracks in the ice below, along with emotional vulnerability thanks to hallucinations caused by the vast sea of white and lack of stimulation to her senses. 

This is an inspiring tale of Felicity battling loneliness and her own vulnerabilities as a human.

Terra Incognita

It’s cold, windy, dry, and unbelievably beautiful. It’s captured the hearts and minds of scientists and explorers for centuries.

This is about the call of the wild and Sara spending seven months in Antarctica living with scientists. It captures the spirit of the continent beyond the furthest reaches of our imaginations.

I honestly don’t know what this is about, but I really want to read it.

Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083

Five fourteen-year-olds are in a desperate situation and chose to participate in Antarctic Survivor, a show to recreate the doomed first attempt to reach the South Pole by Robert F. Scott with the potential to change their lives, for better or worse.

I read this one earlier this year and while it’s not one of my favorite dystopians, it was a fun read. I think it’s middle grade so keep that in mind for the kind of writing to expect in this.

Race to the Pole

In 1911, Captain Robert Scott and his rival Roald Amundsen conquered Antarctica. The continent claimed Scott’s life and he became the subject of legends and scrutiny, alike.

The is the story of his fatal journey told by modern-day explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who offers an account of Scott’s motivations and aspirations for the pole.

This is the perfect Antarctica book for history buffs and anyone that likes books about explorers.

Forgotten Footprints: Lost Stories in the Discovery of Antarctica

This is a mix of history, geography, myth, and personal truth on the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, and the Weddell Sea.

It’s a collection of photographs and stories from scientists, adventurers, whalers, aviators, and more who drew the first maps of the continent.

Mind Over Matter

This is the story of Ranulph Fiennes’s ninety-seven-day, two-man journey, unsupported, across Antarctica.

This is the same Ranulph from a couple of books above this one and sounds interesting, especially if. you’re a fan of human-powered journeys.

The Last Place on Earth

The south pole was the most coveted prize at the beginning of the twentieth century and this shares every detail of the race to get there first.

This is a gripping account of the history of the race to Antarctica, capturing the adventurous ambition of the era. This is another great option for history buffs.

Among Penguins, a Bird Man in Antarctica

At 22-years-old, after graduating college, Noah Strycker was dropped at a remote Antarctic field camp with two bird scientists, and three months of frozen food. Their subjects? More than a quarter-million penguins.

Here, he recounts the reality of life at the end of the world with penguin mummies, hurricane-force blizzards, and day-to-day life in below-freezing temperatures while diving into the world of science, obsession, and birds.

Beyond Cape Horn

This is the story and experiences of the crew of Le Dauphin Amical as they sail across the Atlantic from Punta Arenas, Chile to Cape Town, South Africa, and finally to Los Angeles.

While this isn’t directly about Antarctica, I think it would still be interesting since it’s in the area. And a sailboat!

Alone

Richard Byrd was already an international hero when he set out on his second Antarctic expedition in 1934. His plan was to spend six months at the bottom of the Earth to study weather patterns and indulge his taste for peace and quiet.

Things went wrong early on as he was alone on this isolated ice with no hope of release until soring and he started experiencing mental and physical illness.

By the time he discovered he was being poisoned by a defective stovepipe leaking carbon monoxide, he was already in a monumental fight to preserve his life and sanity.

Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent

Antarctica is the most alien place on the planet and the only one where humans can’t live unaided.

This is the story of life in Antarctica, sharing what it really feels like to be there and why it draws so many different types of people.

We get to experience cutting-edge science, travel to the south pole, lodge with a variety of researchers, drill ice cores, drive snowdozers, and really see life on the ice.

Madhouse at the End of the Earth

This is the story of the epic adventure as the Belgica’s passengers made a voyage to the icy waters of Antarctica.

A series of costly setbacks gave them two options: turn back or push forward.

They sailed on and relied on two young officers whose friendship blossomed in captivity and the ship’s first mate, the soon-to-be-famous Roald Amundsen.

Together they plan a last-ditch effort to escape the ice. It will either etch their names in history or doom them to a fate at the bottom of the ocean.

The Atlantis Gene

A mysterious structure is found buried in the ice of Antarctica. Meanwhile, in a lab in Jakarta, revolutionary treatment is discovered by an Autism researcher.

The discoveries aren’t what they seem but will set off a race to unravel the deepest secrets of human existence.

The Impossible First

Before December of 2018, no one had ever crossed the landmass of Antarctica alone with no support and was totally human-powered.

But Colin O’Brady was determined to change that. It was made even more intense as a head-to-head battle with Captain Louis Rudd, a British polar explorer that also wants to be the first to finish the journey.

In the sub-zero temperatures, he starts out pulling a sled weighing 375 pounds in complete isolation and through a series of near-disasters over the next two months.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Bee aces school and is promised a trip to Antarctica, but Bernadette, her agoraphobic mother, disappears.  Now Bee sets out to find her on an epic adventure to Antarctica.

How the Penguins Saved Veronica

Veronica is eighty-five years old and estranged from her family. She wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to.

One day, she sees a documentary about penguin research in Antarctica and won’t take no for an answer when she tells the scientists she’s coming down there.

Once there, she convinces the team to rescue and orphaned baby penguin who becomes part of life at the base and starts to open Veronica’s heart.

Soon, her grandson Patrick comes down to make one last attempt at getting to know her and they, along with the scientists, learn more about family, love, and connections.

Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration

On January 17, 1913, alone and near starvation, Douglas Mawson, the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition was hauling a sledge back to camp. Now, he’s plunged through a snow bridge and is dangling over an abyss by the sledge harness.

He hauled himself to the surface and crawled back to camp. Along the way, he realized the soles of his feet completely detached from the flesh beneath.

He staggered back into camp, entirely unrecognizable, on February 8.

Read more survival stories here.

The Dark

A&E Kate North has been knocked out by a personal tragedy so she jumps at the chance to be the emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica. The previous doctor died in an accident on the ice.

It’s the perfect opportunity for her but as darkness and winter descend, she starts to suspect his death wasn’t an accident at all.

I got this one and can’t wait to read it! A thriller in Antarctica, specifically a locked-room mystery, sounds so perfect.

Have you read any of these books about Antarctica? Which ones? Any other Antarctica books I should check out, especially fiction or more recent adventure books?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a cheesehead at heart currently residing in the Sunshine State. You can probably find me reading, watching Forensic Files, or both.

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