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The Snow Tourist

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3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  103 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Part eulogy, part history, part travelogue, the author goes in search of the best snow on the planet. Along the way he explains the extraordinary hold this commonplace phenomenon has over us, and reveals the ongoing drama of our relationship with it.
Paperback, 280 pages
Published 2009 by Portobello Books (first published 2008)
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Juliet Wilson
Essentially Charlie English's book is a travel book, in which he aims to find the deepest and softest snow around the world and investigates the extremes of snowy weather. Consequently there are plenty of stories of avalanches and ski-ing accidents. More interesting for me were the chapters on gow the Inuits survive in extreme snowy conditions and on the shapes of snowflakes and the occasional nature observations.

The first chapter of the book focuses on the Inuit lifestyle, including details on
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Jemima Pett
A journalist takes multiple journeys, often back-to-back, to find out all he can about snow - which is really interesting! I also found it interesting that his wife still tolerated his travels even when he was away for the birth of their third child. Or maybe he was such a wuss about the first two she preferred it that way! Loved the history of ski jumping most :) Full review later.
Laura
Feb 10, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travelogue
A very interesting book about the author's fascination with snow. There is history, science, culture, tradition and travel in this book which is divided into chapters based around each trip made by the author in pursuit of the perfect experience of snow. The topics range from the molecular makeup of a snowflake and how that was discovered to igloo building, skiing and mountaineering.
Elizabeth
It is snowing again, so it seems appropriate to write this review now. This was another of the snow-themed books I read during Britain’s “Big Freeze.” I enjoyed it, and as a compendium of many disparate snow-related themes it’s quite fascinating—Charlie English’s rather crazed (and somewhat ill-prepared) snow-seeking trips set him up to discuss igloo-building, classical European paintings and modern snow crystal photography, climate change and ice age history, and the science of snowflakes and a ...more
Paul
Oct 25, 2013 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2014
Charlie English has a think about snow, so much so that he decides to visit places all around the world to see which has the most perfect snow.

His travels take him from Alaska to Scotland, Vienna to Vermont. Some times he takes his family, other time he travels alone. He visits the place with the greatest snowfall, Rainier near Seattle, which has had 93 feet of snow in one season. He also looks at famous paintings with snow scenes, and is mesmerised by some of the great works. He goes to Scotlan
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Alison
Oct 15, 2016 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a brilliant book. Not only does Mr. English cover sites of snowfall, but he covers history, art, and economic change due to snow. At first, I thought this would be a travel book, but it's much more than that. I loved reading about the artwork he studied in Vienna when he went to Vienna in the summer--the opposite time of year for snowfall. I also thought the history component like how Japanese artwork depicting snow was a result of it being opened to trade. I just read a book ...more
Edward H. Busse, III
Oct 23, 2011 Edward H. Busse, III rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-owned
I love snow so this was a natural for me. Mr. English takes his personal love of everything snow and goes on a journey across the Northern Hemisphere to discover it. He meets lots of interesting people along the way and learns how they interact with the snow. I liked this book a great deal because it was personal for the author. The book contained tons and tons of interesting facts/tidbits about snow - scientific, recreational, culture, mythology, art, history, militarily - a more than a few of ...more
Michelle
Jan 15, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is great!
I grabbed this book at random from the library shelf and I love it!
It's everything a nature experience on paper should be. The descriptions are well crafted, exciting and well written. I get caught up in the author's travel story and then suddenly realize that I just learned how to survive a blizzard, the history of the Inuit and how snowflakes are made.
Normally, as I read this type of travel-story book, I skip around and get bored after a couple chapters. I read this book fr
...more
Laura
Oct 01, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: non-fiction, nature
I really liked how the author kept his personal story integrated with the informative aspects of the book. Too much factual data and it becomes textbook-like and boring, too much personal introspection and it becomes self-indulgent; the author kept the perfect balance. I also liked the final chapter, "A Snow Handbook", which is simply a collection of interesting bits and pieces about snow that didn't fit anywhere. For example, there are lists of books and movies that are snow-related, quotes fro ...more
sisterimapoet
Jun 10, 2009 sisterimapoet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction10
Such apt reading. I started this on the day the snow fell, and assumed it would have melted long before I finished the book - I was wrong.

Glad I got to read it with the white stuff surrounding me. It helped to feel less resentful towards it while reading of someone's genuine passion for it. Although it felt a little odd when he talked about the lack of recent UK snow!

Nicely written throughout, and broken down into decent sections that didn't dwell to long on any one thing. Engaging prose that ge
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Paul Valente
An interesting book which looks at the phenomenon of snow from many different perspectives. English juxtaposes his discussions of art, culture, and the science and history of snow with his own adventures of climbing snowy mountains in Switzerland, building igloos in North Canada etc This does seem forced and by the numbers at times, but his writing is clear and honest and you emerge with a renewed sense of wonder of snow and its history, characteristics and influence on so many of our cultures.
Rachel
Jul 19, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by someone who loves snow, this book helped me appreciate snow a little more (something I need help with). The author travels to snow-significant places and intersperses his travelogue with facts and histories.
Laura
Dec 26, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting book about snow and the interesting places of extraordinary snow.
Elisa
Aug 24, 2011 Elisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggi
Lettura di per sè gradevole, ma devo bacchettare l'editore Donzelli per i troppi refusi, alcuni veramente macroscopici.
Ellie
Feb 22, 2010 Ellie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
An informative read about the history, science and cultural impact of snow. It's more interesting facts than 'story' so wouldn't recommend if you don't really like snow!
Lissie
Didn't actually finish reading it . . but that was because Spring arrived and I just couldn't bring myself to read about snow some more. As memoirs go this one is more original than most.
Nick
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May 18, 2014
Jessica
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Simon Ziegler
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May 25, 2014
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Nov 19, 2009
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Charlie English found his first journalism job in Peshawar, Pakistan. He later joined the Guardian, where he was head of international news from 2010 to 2013.

His first book, The Snow Tourist, was described as “a cracking read that deserves to be by the bedside of every keen skier and snowboarder” (The Economist). His second, The Storied City (published in the UK as The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu)
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