Polar Attack.

On Soviet-Canadian treks to North Pole in 1988, 1992, and 1995, recounted by one of each of them.

p. 5: Misha was pondering his well-thumbed Russian-English dictionary. [Both were trying to learn the other’s language.]

p. 42, on Ward Hunt Island, off Greenland, their stepping-off point where they found two abandoned huts used first for military purposes and then by Ranulph Fiennes. A storm kept them in: Richard skins through our local library—too elegant a word for a pile of outdated books and magazines. The hut has become, if not a prison, then very like a doctor’s waiting room. Misha, our real-life physician, is broadening his vocabulary. He has discovered an issue of Penthouse Forum , but must pause every other paragraph to check unfamiliar verbs in the dictionary. Then he tosses the learning tools aside and begins to brood on dire scenarios. What awaits us on the ice?

[No indication that they had any books on their 1995 venture, though they did have TUBSAT and other navigational gear.]