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On the Bookshelf: Into Thick Air
Date of Review: 
Jessica Blair
Green Globetrotter

Some thrill-seekers yearn to walk upon the peaks of Earth’s highest points. Jim Malusa, however, is not like most thrill-seekers. Equipped with a bicycle, sleeping bag and occasionally well-insulated beer, he chronicles his adventures as he rides to the lowest geographical point of each continent.

His tales appear in “Into Thick Air,” published by Sierra Club Books, a travel narrative that so accurately paints an image of these deep depression hideaways, readers may feel they’ve experienced them first-hand. From Death Valley to Lake Eyre of Australia, Malusa humbly traverses to the “bellybutton” of every continent but Antarctica, whose lowest point is buried under 15 miles of icy glacier.

Along the way, he encounters such oddities as devilish dingoes and carnivorous chupacabras, smokes sheesha in Africa and sings to Russians. And through it all, he provides a captivating glimpse into the life of an intrepid traveler, riding for the thrill and coincidentally, a freelance gig for Discovery online.

A smooth and enjoyable read, this is a book for lazy summer evenings or lengthy airport delays that allows your mind to wander right along with Malusa. With a dose of humor and humility, it’s an endearing story that you’ll want to pass on to a favored friend.

Find it at your local bookstore or http://www.sierraclub.org/ ($16.95; Copyright 2008)
Posted by Jessica Blair at 6/23/2008