Foothold on Antarctica: The First International Expedition (1949-1952) through the Eyes of its Youngest Member.

Swithinbank was a member of this largely Norwegian expedition. He’s not a natural writer but the story has its share of adventure and danger which he reports in a rather dry style. He gives some information about reading among his colleagues but nothing on what he himself read.

p. 75, describing his accommodations at Maudheim: opposite my bed I made a desk out of a box lid. There was no space for a chair, but the edge of the bed served the purpose. Bookshelves of box wood lined the high end of my cabin. The temperature at floor level was sometimes -5ºC, so I kept my boots on during the day. At head height, however, the temperature was comfortable

p. 144, during storm on sledging journey: We stayed in our tents, Valter and I writing up ntes, Ove and Peter reading paperbacks.

p. 161-62: Now, with darker evenings, we had to light a candle o read by or write up notes. Peter [Melleby] read avidly and had leaned to carry enough books. When he had finished whatever Norwegian books he had brought, he simply started on my books in English and, when those ranaout, went on to Valter’s and Ove’s books in Swedish. While he and I spoke Norwegian all the time, he could read English books as fast as I did. He wasundoubtedly the most erudite man on the expedition when it came to translating idiomatic English into Norwegian….

p. 177, on newspapers brought by the relief ship, the Norsel.

p. 183-84; Norsel had brought a year’s supply of Aftenposten and Svenska up to the day the ship left Oslo. Throughout the winter, Bjarne dutifully placed a daily newspaper on the breakfast table. It was exactly one year out of date, but that did not concern us because we had missed the whole year’s news. Like people arriving at work anywhere, the day’s news gave us much to discuss. Although there was nothing to stop; us raiding the store to peer into the future, cheating was frowned upon.

p. 190, when Alan Reese needed an eyeball removed he had to use the remaining eye: Alan was made to read a book the very next day. He found it uncomfortable but said it did not hurt.

p. 191 and 195, two good pictures of full bookshelves at the base.