Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Book Review...Not an april fools' joke, eh. i really did read a book.


Beyond the Horizon by Colin Angus.

For the last few times they've awarded the Order of Canada, I checked the list of recipients for one Colin Angus. Each time he was snubbed. I was dismayed because Angus, in my opinion, has been one of Canada's greatest explorers of the late 20th century and early this millenium, if not all time.

He's published 2 other books on his accomplishments: Amazon Extreme (first descent of the Amazon from it's source) and Lost in Mongolia (the first ever full length descent of the river Yenisey - fifth longest river in the world - in Siberia).

His latest book, Beyond the Horizon, describes his 2 year quest to be the first person to circumnavigate the globe by using human power alone.

Admittedly, the writing is not as smooth as Amazon Extreme, where the story is told through a ghost writer. But, I tend to prefer stories told by adventurers themselves. Angus spends most of the first half of the book somewhat pre-occupied with documenting the breakup of the expedition team (complete with email exchanges) which slowed down the pace of the story. However, when he focuses on the topic, he just brings us along for the ride. Where he really has me riveted is the second half of the book, the crossing of the Atlantic by row boat. His writing style really picks up. The prose turns lean and mean as he turns up the tension and absurdity of the task at hand up a few notches. And throughout the book, his self-deprecating humour just cracks me up.

I really liked this book (from a research and entertainment point of view). Can't wait until he writes about his next adventure.

Rating: 4 overdue notices out of 5.

5 comments:

Steve H. said...

We try and avoid awarding the OOC on the basis of insanity.

bubba said...

Angus is a national hero and role model.

Steve H. said...

You should nominate him for the OOC, Bubba. Nomination is the first step and somebody has to do it. Make sure to use lots of flowery adjectives and tie in global warming somehow. They love that at Rideau Hall.

I'll support it with the GG and drum up some publicity, maybe take a grip and grin pic or two. Might make me look more "outdoorsy".

bubba said...

Second thoughts, didn't you install one Lord Conrad Black into the order? Maybe we should find Mr. Angus something more honourable, like lifetime calgary public library member...

Steve H. said...

Lord Black got OOC'd back in 1990 by He Who Shall Not Be Named. I think Barbara Amiel wrote up the nomination. That was before global warming, so she made sure to make a big deal about some charity or other that Black was giving money to.

I was all set to nominate Angus for the Darwin awards when he started rowing across the Atlantic. But then he went and survived and all.