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Arctic Glass: Six Years of Adventure in…

Arctic Glass: Six Years of Adventure in Alaska and Beyond

by Jill Homer

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The book is comprised of blog entries and does not flow very well in book form. I tried to read the book and enjoy it but I found its repetitiveness frustrating and the writing style to be much too casual and unpolished. I love Alaska and adventure writing but this was a difficult read that could not hold my attention. The writing and chapters need to be tightened up significantly. I understand that this is a personal memoir but the stories are much too self-centered. The topics and style need to be varied a bit to eliminate the repetitiveness of "I, I, I..." and the same story of riding a bicycle in snow with only slight variations. I wanted to like the story but I was frustrated with its vast imperfections. Significant editing would greatly change the book's presentation and flow to make it much more engaging. Then and only then can readers care for the author and her trials and tribulations. ( )
  hlnicaise | May 9, 2013 |
Arctic Glass is drawn from Jill Homer's blog about her adventures competing in (mainly) winter biking and running races. Jill is a person who thrives on challenging herself in extreme conditions as well as someone who needs to be outdoors in wide open spaces on a regular basis. Because the chapters consist of blog entries, the book as a whole felt somewhat disjointed. Towards the end it felt like I was reading about the same thing over and over again with the exception of a change of venue or date. Overall, this book is an interesting look in the world of racing under extreme conditions. A copy of this book was given to me through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway. ( )
  jo2son | Dec 9, 2012 |
this was quite a fascinating book. i have 4x4 through so many of these places and been to so many of the places mentioned, well except for alaska and nepal anyway. it was very interesting and she does a good job of really putting you there with her. i will have to look up the other writting she has done. ( )
  dekan | Nov 15, 2012 |
This is a collection of essays that Jill Homer wrote as a journalist in Homer, Alaska. Good stuff, but her essays are heavy on endurance and endurance sports. Although well written, I found it to drag a little. ( )
  JDC2012 | Nov 6, 2012 |
There are lots of great sports and activities centered around snow.. but biking? I would have thought this possible under perfect conditions with special tires but that is not what Jill Homer writes about in these essays. I was reminded of an old exchange, only with a twist:
Question: “why climb a mountain… with a bike in the snow?”
Answer: ”because it’s there”
It’s also difficult, painful and dangerous. The “why” question fades as we read through the journey and begin to understand the drive and beauty. The writing style is easy and light…sort of friendly. Potentially life threatening situations are diffused as we know the author survives to write and continues biking! There are vivid descriptions of the scenery, people and the author’s mind set. Every chapter is headed with one great photograph. Although I don’t feel I could undertake a 100 mile trek through the snow at sub-zero temperatures in the dark, I am motivated to take a nice long bike ride or hike in the mountains!
I loved reading this book. Cold snowy landscapes draw me with a strong force and I love to find books that take me there. Arctic Glass took me to places I might never see (at least on a bike!) and I got to feel like Lucy in Narnia with the crunch of snow under my feet. ( )
  suniru | Nov 6, 2012 |
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"Arctic Glass: Six Years of Adventure Stories from Alaska and Beyond" is a collection of essays from the Web site "Jill Outside." Jill Homer's intent with her lifestyle blog was to document daily adventures from the perspective of a nonathletic, small-town journalist who recently moved to Alaska. The blog quickly took on a life of its own, drawing readers from all over the world, who encouraged her to pursue a burgeoning interest in the extreme sport of snow biking. What followed is a transformation that few could have predicted -- Jill's development into an athlete who completed a 2,700-mile mountain bike race and crossed three hundred and fifty miles of Alaska's frozen wilderness under her own power. The following is an excerpt from the book, an essay about the roots of a deep-set desire: "Why?" Personally, I have never been all that interested in getting on a podium. I'm sure I would enjoy it were I ever to achieve it, but instead I continue to seek out races that are way over my head and glean satisfaction from simply surviving them. It would be logical for me to choose shorter, more surmountable goals, then work on my speed, work on my skills, perfect my strategy and finish knowing I did the very best I could do. But that whole approach seems so mechanical to me -- not that there's anything wrong with it, but it's just not who I am. I view my cycling not as mechanics, but as art. I don't want an instruction manual. I want a blank canvas, as clear and wide as the summer sky, that I can imprint with my joy and sorrow, and color with my blood, sweat and tears. Then, long after the race is over, and long after the race results have been relegated to the deepest regions of the Internet and the instruction manual has been rewritten, the experience is still permanently rendered in my heart -- a work of knowledge and beauty. "Why?" It's easy for me to say I race for fun, but I don't. Yes, I do think biking is fantastically fun. But if I was purely interested in fun, I would spend my holidays on fair-weather joy rides, taking in front-country scenery and sipping cold drinks on a beach. Instead, I take the hard way into the back-country, purposefully experiencing discomfort along the way. I could say I do this for my health, but battering my muscles and bones amid physical extremes, not sleeping and stuffing my stomach with refined sugars isn't doing my body any favors. I could say I race for personal challenge, but that's not entirely true either. Trying to build a bicycle or learning Spanish would be challenging for me, but I don't spend my time immersed in challenges that are actually useful. Instead, I go out and destroy bicycles, and grind my body into the dust, and cry out in pain and frustration and get back on the bicycle and do it again. I pay a lot of money to do this. I allot a large chunk of free time and vacation to this -- all because of these beautiful works of art. These works only I can see. These works that I can never forget. And I cherish the hard moments, the moments of despondency and unhappiness. I cherish these moments because they're intense and real, like bold, red brush strokes through a life of placid beige. And then, when the placid beige gets me down, as it sometimes does, I close my eyes and see the flickering green aurora that filled the sky the night I bonked on the Iditarod Trail ... the night I was so scared and weak that no movement before or since has been as difficult ... the night I was so overwhelmed and uncertain that I wasn't entirely sure I would survive. And the green waves of northern lights were so bright that they still reflect warmth and joy in my heart, two and a half years later. "Why?" I want to take the image of something impossible to me and make it real, make it possible, just for the sake of creation. In that, I feel a glimmer of what it's like to fully live.… (more)

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