"A man who cannot admit to an afternoon sleep is a man who might struggle with the concept of reading novels for pleasure. Instead, he preferred biographies, or the new book about Darwin. You would be startled to learn how often a new book about Darwin comes out. He liked accounts of doomed Antarctic expeditions, of Everest seasons during which the social fabric collapses. There is a bookshelf in my parents’ lounge dedicated to this considerable collection. My mum calls them the Beloveds. It is unclear whether she means the books themselves, or the people they are about. I think the people. My dad has started many conversations with the words, “You know how I feel about Darwin”. Indeed I do know. His feelings about Shackleton are more ambiguous, less furiously admiring. Scott and Mallory, ditto. Still, he loves them all."