Books to help cool our brains!

Ah, ski-ing. That will take our minds off the sweltering weather. If this looks a bit tame, Powder,

Ah, ski-ing. That will take our minds off the sweltering weather. If this looks a bit tame, Powder, by Patrick Thorne, suggests trying The 50 Greatest Ski Runs on the Planet Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mind you, would we really fancy going to a place where the temperature falls regularly to -92C? Ooh!

When the sun's high in the sky and covering cloud has vanished, we need something to take our minds off the heat. Thank goodness books are there to transport us to other places. Steven Russell offers a selection to take us somewhere cooler

Wild Swimming: 300 Hidden Dips in the Rivers, Lakes and Waterfalls of Britain, by Daniel Start, Wild Things Publishing

When it's hot, water is the answer. If you want to go more hard-core than a swimming pool, try the great outdoors (though do be careful). This book also includes information for children and families, ideas for pubs, campsites, boat trips and weekend trips – and suggestions about safety.

Ice Station Zebra, by Alistair MacLean

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A cold war thriller set somewhere perishingly cold – surely enough fictional intrigue to divert us from talk of hosepipe bans and the state of our brown grass?

Station Zebra is a British meteorological outpost on an ice floe in the Arctic Sea. When it suffers a dreadful fire, an American nuclear-powered submarine is sent to rescue the survivors. Then we learn the station is actually a sophisticated listening post waiting for any Soviet nuclear missile launches. Is one of the survivors a killer? What do you reckon?

Cool Drinks for Hot Days, by Louise Pickford; Ryland, Peters & Small

This is what we need: a selection of thirst-quenching coolers, juices, cocktails, slushies and shakes. There's everything from Moroccan Iced Mint Tea to Virgin Banana Colada. Having friends round? Try a Mandarin Caprioska, Mint Julep or Classic Margarita. Let's get the party started.

How to Get to the North Pole… and Other Iconic Adventures, by Tim Moss, How To Books

Reminds us of the East Anglian joke. How do you get to the North Pole? Head for Cromer and don't stop. This doesn't hint at how to have an adventure, it really does tell you how to do it – from raising funds for an expedition to explaining how to cross a desert.

Sorry, we're meant to be avoiding hot places. Well, this book tells us how to get to both the North and South Pole (as well as sailing the Seven Seas and rowing across an ocean). If we're not that brave, we can just daydream we're Indiana Jones.

Powder: The 50 Greatest Ski Runs on the Planet, by Patrick Thorne, Quercus

If the North Pole is small beer in your eyes, how about tackling long descents, big verts and challenging pistes – with stunning scenery (and cool weather) thrown in for free? – from Alaska and Norway to Antarctica. It's billed as the ultimate bucket list for any snowsports enthusiast, beginner or expert, though we imagine near-novices would have to gain a lot of experience before they really set foot on the most breathtaking runs the world can offer.

Hamlyn All Colour Cookery: 200 Super Salads, by Alice Storey, Hamlyn

We're on safer ground in the kitchen than out on the slopes. This does what it says on the Tupperware box, offering 200 varied salads for every occasion – including healthy summer salads and exotic fruit one. There are clear instructions and easy-to-follow recipes. Who knew there were at least 200 salads you could make?

Cold: Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures on Earth, by Ranulph Fiennes, Simon & Schuster

The title itself is enough to send a shiver down the spine and Sir Ranulph Fiennes isn't a man who pussyfoots around. He's spent much of the past 40 years in conditions of extreme cold, losing many fingers to frostbite.

The Arctic, Antarctic and our highest mountains are still some of the most dangerous areas of the globe. This book looks at how man has over time tried to explore them – men such as Cook, Weddell, Amundsen and Shackleton.

And then there's Sir Ranulph himself – including the first crossing of the Antarctic during winter. Temperatures dropped regularly to… -92C.