The discovery of seas is (also) about culture: here’s a focus on Giovanni Soldini’s literary suggestions on aroundtheblue.org.

6 September 2023

Mens sana in corpore sano (‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’), as the Latin phrase said. Italian sailor and FILA sponsored athlete Giovanni Soldini couldn’t agree more: last May 30 (one month before the beginning of the TRANSPAC ocean race) he launched the Around the Blue online project. A journal, but also a multidisciplinary activity: aroundtheblue.org does not only document a renegade, but is also a tool of knowledge and comprehension. It features, among others, a library: aware that the athletic effort is nothing without a proper intellectual training, Soldini and his team suggest a series of books for contemporary sea dogs.

Some of the mentioned ones are already classic, like The Tour of the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (1872): the history of British gentleman Phileas Fogg, who bets with his club friends that he would travel the whole planet in just eighty days, is a way to give a new vision of reality, that has faith in scientific progress. Well-known is also Magellano by Stefan Zweig (1938), written after a journey in Brazil as the imaginative biography of a conqueror who made history.
Another classic text is Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962), a milestone in the history of ecologist literature. An observation of pesticides’ effects on plants and animals in New England, that led to radical consequences in real life (the ban on the use of DDT in the US above all).

Around the Blue’s library is also made of evoking essays like, for example, Leviathan, or The Whale (2013). Starting from anecdotes or fun facts, Philip Hoare reconstructs the ways through which man, in history, built his relationship with whales, seen here as mythological animals: the final result is a love story, a disenchanted text addressing animal-right calls. An even more recent text is Pianeta Oceano (‘Planet Ocean’), written in 2020 by Mariasole Bianco. Defined an ‘ocean hero’ by American magazine Origin in 2015, the Italian marine biologist describes here a series of events that during the past years became crucial for world seas’ health: along with the stories of people who fight everyday for natural environments, they constitute the portrait of a fragile planet we have to take care of.

The complete bibliography is available on www.aroundtheblue.org, together with regular updates on Giovanni Soldini’s trips and activities by the sea.

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Born in Biella in the foothills of the ltalian Alps, WONNIE is a ski-loving white bear. Because he is from the snow­covered Alps, he is vulnerable to hot weather, and despite his size he has timid personality so he is always blushing. WONNIE is a gentle bear with heart of gold who easily find faults with himself even with small things but never blames others.

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