Curious – New Travel Picks for June

Curiosity is celebrated by a few of this month’s picks. As Quiet Los Angeles reveals, curiosity may not be satisfied by the spectacular, but in small meditative acts and perceptions. Curiosity may also lead to darker realities that are often erased from tourist culture, explored with intensity in titles as divergent as The Fires of Spring, Zoroaster’s Children and The Interior Circuit.

Syndetics book coverWalking through spring : an English journey / Graham Hoyland.
Walking Through Spring follows Graham Hoylands journey as he creates a new national trail, walking with the Spring from the south coast in March up to the border with Scotland, which he reaches on the longest day: the twenty-first of June. He connects a labyrinth of ancient footpaths, marking each mile by planting an acorn and drawing a path of oak trees that stretch through the English countryside. Hoyland draws inspiration from the vast literary landscape as he watches the season unfold across the country. What does Spring mean? Is it really getting earlier every year?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe travels / Marco Polo ; translated and with an introduction and notes by Nigel Cliff.
“Marco Polo’s voyages began in 1271 with a visit to China. Afterward, he served Kublai Khan on numerous diplomatic missions in the Far East. His subsequent account of his travels offers a fascinating glimpse of what he encountered abroad: unfamiliar religions; new customs and societies; the spices and silks of the East; the precious gems, exotic vegetation, and wild beasts of faraway lands. […] Marco Polo’s book revolutionized Western ideas about the then-unknown East and remains one of the greatest travel accounts of all time.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe curious map book / Ashley Baynton-Williams.
“Ashley Baynton-Williams has unearthed a wide array of the whimsical and fantastic, from maps of board games to political ones, maps of the Holy Land to maps of the human soul. In his illuminating introduction, the author also identifies and expounds upon key themes of map production, peculiar styles, and the commerce and collection of unique maps. This incredible volume offers a wealth of gorgeous illustrations for anyone who is cartographically curious.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPerth : a guide for the curious / edited by Terri-Ann White.
“Where do you find a city’s soul? Terri-Ann White draws together an eclectic group of Perth people in this collection to share their insights on a rapidly evolving city. From an architect’s perspective on heritage to a historian’s ruminations on Perth’s swampy origins; from a walk down streets that don’t exist to Noongar place names; from the union movement to public art to criminal Perth to conversational Perth, this book encourages new encounters with the city.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fires of spring : a post-Arab Spring journey through the turbulent new Middle East / Shelly Culbertson.
“The ‘Arab Spring’ all started when a young Tunisian fruit-seller set himself on fire in protest of a government official confiscating his apples without cause and slapping his face. The aftermath of that one personal protest grew to become the Middle East movement known as the Arab Spring — a wave of disparate events that included revolutions, protests, government overthrows, hopeful reform movements, and bloody civil wars. This book will be the first to bring the post Arab Spring world to light in a holistic context (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQuiet Los Angeles / Rebecca Razo ; photographs by Mark Mendez.
“Following from Quiet London, Paris and New York, comes Los Angeles, the next in the series discovering quiet places in the midst of some of the busiest cities in the world. These guides offer both visitors and locals a chance to enjoy the quiet side of these lively cities, to find places off the beaten track, explore enticing small museums or enjoy peaceful gardens. They offer the promise of somewhere to relax and recuperate, to have coffee and cake or a restful spot to unwind, away from the hustle and bustle.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe interior circuit : a Mexico City chronicle / Francisco Goldman.
“In the summer of 2013, when Mexican organized crime violence and death erupts in the city in an unprecedented way, Goldman sets out to try to understand the menacing challenges the city now faces. By turns exuberant, poetic, reportorial, philosophic, and urgent, The Interior Circuit fuses a personal journey to an account of one of the world’s most remarkable and often misunderstood cities.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZoroaster’s children and other travels / Marius Kociejowski.
“Attracted to society’s outcasts–as it is these, he argues, which point towards an underground of conformity that will not contain them–Kociejowski offers ain these essays glimpses of locales as diverse and seemingly divergent as Prague, Tunisia, Moscow, Aleppo and Toronto, among others.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Santiago pilgrimage : walking the immortal way / Jean-Christophe Rufin ; translated from the French by Martina Dervis and Malcolm Imrie.
“Whenever I was asked: ‘Why did you go to Santiago?’, I had a hard time answering. How could I explain to those who had not done it that the way has the effect – if not the virtue – to make you forget all reasons that led you to become involved in it in the first place.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMother tongue : my family’s globe-trotting quest to dream in Mandarin, laugh in Arabic, and sing in Spanish / Christine Gilbert.
“Gilbert was a young mother when she boldly uprooted her family to move around the world, studying Mandarin in China, Arabic in Lebanon, and Spanish in Mexico, with her toddler son and all-American husband along for the ride. Their story takes us from Beijing to Beirut, from Cyprus to Chiang Mai, and explores recent breakthroughs in bilingual brain mapping and the controversial debates happening in linguistics right now.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Search for Home – Recent History Picks for May

This months picks are full of intersecting pathways and updated perspectives. A recurring thread seems to be on the pursuit of ‘home’, and questioning what it might mean.

Syndetics book coverBenazir Bhutto : favored daughter / Brooke Allen.
“The story of Benazir Bhutto, the first woman to lead a Muslim nation, seems lifted straight from Greek tragedy. This account illuminates Bhutto’s tragic life as well as the role she played as the first female prime minister of Pakistan. Brooke Allen approaches Bhutto in a way not many have done before in this taut biography of a figure who had a profound effect on the volatile politics of the Middle East, drawing on contemporary news sources and eyewitness reports, as well as accounts from her supporters and her enemies.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSlow burn city : London in the twenty-first century / Rowan Moore.
“London has become the global city above all others. Versions of what is happening in London are happening elsewhere, but London has become the best place to understand the way the world’s cities are changing. […] Moore makes a passionate case for London to invent new ways to respond to the pressures of the present, from which other cities could learn.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn wartime : stories from Ukraine / Tim Judah.
“Urgent and insightful, Tim Judah’s account of the human side of the conflict in Ukraine is an evocative exploration of what the second largest country in Europe feels like in wartime. Making his way from the Polish border in the west, through the capital city and the heart of the 2014 revolution, to the eastern frontline near the Russian border, seasoned war reporter Tim Judah brings a rare glimpse of the reality behind the headlines.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe slave’s cause : a history of abolition / Manisha Sinha.
“Received historical wisdom casts abolitionists as bourgeois, mostly white reformers burdened by racial paternalism and economic conservatism. Manisha Sinha overturns this image, broadening her scope beyond the antebellum period usually associated with abolitionism and recasting it as a radical social movement in which men and women, black and white, free and enslaved found common ground in causes ranging from feminism and utopian socialism to anti-imperialism and efforts to defend the rights of labor.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe weight of shadows : a memoir of immigration and displacement / José Orduña.
“Tracing his story of becoming a US citizen, José Orduña’s memoir explores the complex issues of immigration and assimilation. […] A trenchant exploration of race, class, and identity, The Weight of Shadows is a searing meditation on the nature of political, linguistic, and cultural borders, and the meaning of “America”.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe battle for home : the memoir of a Syrian architect / Marwa al-Sabouni ; foreword by Roger Scruton.
“From Syria’s tolerant past, with churches and mosques built alongside one another in Old Homs and members of different religions living harmoniously together, the book chronicles the recent breakdown of social cohesion in Syria’s cities. With the lack of shared public spaces intensifying divisions within the community, and corrupt officials interfering in town planning for their own gain, these actions are symptomatic of wider abuses of power.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBone rooms : from scientific racism to human prehistory in museums / Samuel J. Redman.
“In 1864 a U.S. army doctor dug up the remains of a Dakota man who had been killed in Minnesota. Carefully recording his observations, he sent the skeleton to a museum in Washington, DC, that was collecting human remains for research. In the ‘bone rooms’ of this museum and others like it, a scientific revolution was unfolding that would change our understanding of the human body, race, and prehistory.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA woman’s life : Pauline Wengeroff and Memoirs of a grandmother / Shulamit S. Magnus.
“Pauline Wengeroff was born in 1833 into a pious Jewish family in Bobruisk. Her life, as recounted in this biography, was one of upheaval and transformation during Russian Jewry’s passage from tradition to modernity. Wengeroff’s narrative refracts communal experience and larger cultural, economic, and political developments through her own family life, to present readers with an extraordinary account of the cultural transformation of Russian Jewry in the 19th century.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHeart of Europe : a history of the Holy Roman Empire / Peter H. Wilson.
“The Holy Roman Empire lasted a thousand years, far longer than ancient Rome. Yet this formidable dominion never inspired the awe of its predecessor. Voltaire distilled the disdain of generations when he quipped it was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire. Yet as Peter Wilson shows, the Holy Roman Empire tells a millennial story of Europe better than the histories of individual nation-states. And its legacy can be seen today in debates over the nature of the European Union.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPolynesian navigation and the discovery of New Zealand / Jeff Evans ; foreword by Francis Cowan.
Polynesian navigation and the discovery of New Zealand offers a straightforward account of how and why Polynesian seafarers made their journey south to New Zealand shores. The first part discusses the origins of the voyages, legends of the homeland and the explorer Kupe, traditional Polynesian navigation techniques, and the preservation of seafaring knowledge by Māori. The second part presents a gripping account of the canoe Hawaiki-nui retracing the route from Tahiti to New Zealand in 1985 using traditional voyaging methods.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Fight for Change – Recent History picks for April

Compare the slow decay of Shekhawati’s abandoned mansions, with the continuing turbulent change of the Arab Spring in Jack Shenker’s The Egyptians, or the global waves explained in 1956: The World in Revolt, The New Deal and Jurgen Kocka’s Capitalism, of which the ramifications have irreversibly altered life for us all.

Syndetics book coverThe cowshed : memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution / Ji Xianlin ; translated from the Chinese by Chenxin Jiang.
“The Chinese Cultural Revolution began in 1966 and led to a ten-year-long reign of Maoist terror throughout China, in which millions died or were sent to labor camps in the country or subjected to other forms of extreme discipline and humiliation. Ji Xianlin was one of them. The Cowshed is Ji’s harrowing account of his imprisonment in 1968 on the campus of Peking University and his subsequent disillusionment with the cult of Mao.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe morning they came for us : dispatches from Syria / Janine di Giovanni.
“In May of 2012, Janine di Giovanni travelled to Syria, marking the beginning of a long relationship with the country, as she began reporting from both sides of the conflict, witnessing its descent into one of the most brutal, internecine conflicts in recent history. The Morning They Came for Us is an unflinching account of a nation on the brink of disintegration, charting an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war – and an unforgettable testament to human resilience in the face of devastating, unimaginable horrors.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAbandoned India : the mansions of Shekhawati / photographs by Kip Scott ; foreword by Lal Singh Shekhawat.
“A rare and evocative photographic portrait of India, and specifically Shekhawati’s ‘abandoned’ mansions, and its desert towns. This exquisitely produced book features a selection of Scott’s work made throughout the region of Shekhawati in Rajasthan, India. Here we glimpse courtyards, living spaces, frescoes, vast interiors, both lovingly restored and bordering on ruin. Scott’s images capture the complex nature of change, of sublime beauty and decay, mirroring an India that will seduce the reader.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Egyptians : a radical story / Jack Shenker.
“From award-winning journalist Jack Shenker, The Egyptians is the essential book about Egypt and radical politics In early 2011, Cairo’s Tahrir Square briefly commanded the attention of the world. Half a decade later, the international media has largely moved on from Egypt’s explosive cycles of revolution and counter-revolution – but the Arab World’s most populous nation remains as volatile as ever, its turmoil intimately bound up with forms of authoritarian power and grassroots resistance that stretch right across the globe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe London County Council bomb damage maps, 1939-1945 / Laurence Ward.
“The aerial bombardment of London during the Second World War is one of the most significant events in the city’s modern history. Between 1939 and 1945, London and its environs experienced destruction on a huge and deadly scale, with air raids and rocket attacks reducing entire buildings and streets to rubble. This landmark publication represents an invaluable graphic representation of one of the most dramatic and affecting episodes in the history of London.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Age of Genius : the seventeenth century and the birth of the modern mind / A.C. Grayling.
The Age of Genius explores the eventful intertwining of outward event and inner intellectual life to tell, in all its richness and depth, the story of the 17th century in Europe. It was a time of creativity unparalleled in history before or since, from science to the arts, from philosophy to politics. […] a fundamentally new way of perceiving the world emerged as reason rose to prominence over tradition, and the rights of the individual took center stage in philosophy and politics, a paradigmatic shift that would define Western thought for centuries to come.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCapitalism : a short history / Jürgen Kocka ; translated by Jeremiah Riemer.
“In this book, one of the world’s most renowned historians provides a concise and comprehensive history of capitalism within a global perspective from its medieval origins to the 2008 financial crisis and beyond. From early commercial capitalism in the Arab world, China, and Europe, to nineteenth- and twentieth-century industrialization, to today’s globalized financial capitalism, Jürgen Kocka offers an unmatched account of capitalism, one that weighs its great achievements against its great costs, crises, and failures.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Deal : a global history / Kiran Klaus Patel.
“By avoiding the distortions of American exceptionalism, Kiran Klaus Patel shows how America’s reaction to the Great Depression connected it to the wider world. Ultimately, Patel argues, the New Deal provided the institutional scaffolding for the construction of American global hegemony in the postwar era, making this history essential for understanding both the New Deal and America’s rise to global leadership.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUntil we are free : my fight for human rights in Iran / Shirin Ebadi.
“Dr Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights lawyer and activist, tells of her fight for reform inside Iran, and the devastating backlash she faced after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Having fought tirelessly for democracy, equality before the law and freedom of speech, Ebadi became a global voice of inspiration. Yet, inside her own country, her life has been plagued by surveillance, intimidation and violence. An illuminating depiction of life in Iran today as well as the account of Ebadi’s personal struggle to uphold her work and keep her family together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1956, the world in revolt / Simon Hall.
“1956 was one of the most remarkable years of the twentieth century. All across the globe, ordinary people spoke out, filled the streets and city squares, and took up arms in an attempt to win their freedom. In response to these unprecedented challenges to their authority, those in power fought back, in a desperate bid to shore up their position. It was an epic contest, and one which made 1956 – like 1789 and 1848 – a year that changed our world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent History Picks for March

Promising highlights from this month’s offer include City of Thorns, a personal look into the world’s largest refugee camp and Native, an insight into the complexities of a life led by an Israeli-Palestinian.

Syndetics book coverRepublic of spin : an inside history of the American presidency / David Greenberg.
“We now have, and have had for some time, according to Greenberg, the image-is-everything presidency. Spin, he argues, is here to stay; it is neither our savior nor a sinister force eating away at our democratic soul. This revealing account of politics as image in U.S. presidential culture should be read by any student of the American presidency and American politics.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBad news : last journalists in a dictatorship / Anjan Sundaram.
“Sundaram’s memoir seeks to expose the rotten dictatorship beneath the surface of the apparently stable, “democratic” postgenocide government of Rwanda. This nonfiction version of George Orwell’s 1984 is essential for anyone paying attention to African politics. (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOn Palestine / Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé ; edited by Frank Barat.
“Ilan Pappé and Noam Chomsky, two leading voices in the struggle to liberate Palestine, discuss the road ahead for Palestinians and how the international community can pressure the United States and Israel to end their human rights abuses against the people of Palestine. On Palestine is the sequel to their acclaimed book, Gaza in crisis.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMidnight in broad daylight : A Japanese American family caught between two worlds / Pamela Rotner Sakamoto
“This is an epic chronicle of the Fukuharas, a Japanese family living in the Pacific Northwest in the early 20th century who moved to their mother’s ancestral home in Hiroshima during the Great Depression, only to have two of the children return to the United States, while others were conscripted in military service. Sakamoto’s scrupulously researched story employs material gathered through interviews with surviving Fukuhara family members to show how the war in the Pacific affected both the Japanese and Japanese Americans.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lovers : Afghanistan’s Romeo & Juliet : the true story of how they defied their families and escaped an honor killing / Rod Nordland.
“Growing up on neighboring farms in the Bamiyan Valley, Zakia and Ali fell in love as teens. Ali asked Zakia’s father, Zaman, for Zakia’s hand in marriage, but because they were from different tribes, Zaman refused. Nordland offers a stark, eye-opening look at the deplorable state of women’s rights in Afghanistan through the travails of a brave, determined young couple.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCity of thorns : nine lives in the world’s largest refugee camp / Ben Rawlence.
“The saga of Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya, the City of Thorns of the title, reveals the sort of intersection between humanity’s greatest nightmares and triumphs that seems to belong more to fiction than to the real world. […] Rawlence has written a book that just might change the world or, at the very least, awaken readers to one criminally forgotten corner of it. A tour de force.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNative : dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian life / Sayed Kashua ; translated form the Hebrew by Ralph Mandel.
“This startling and insightful collection of Kashua’s (Second Person Singular) popular weekly columns for the Hebrew-language newspaper Haaretz narrates the sobering reality of life as an Israeli-Palestinian. Whether recounting the insults encountered by his children, shaming from friends and critics alike, Kafkaesque encounters with the civil justice system, or his dreams of escape, Kashua maintains a light satiric tone and steady compassion even as the essays slide into disillusionment. [It] is bound to open the eyes and awaken the sympathies of a new swath of loyal readers.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover100 documents that changed the world : from the Magna Carta to WikiLeaks / Scott Christianson.
“The documents included here have changed the course of history by rewriting laws, granting freedoms and laying out constitutions. As well as official charters and presidential proclamations, there are also the hand-written documents that have gone on to shape the way we think, the scrawled notes that mark breakthroughs in the worlds of science and technology, and the annotated manuscripts that have become literary landmarks.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Travel Picks for March

This month, take a breezy literary world tour in round 2 of Lonely Planet’s fictional travel series. Also take your pick from the various global pilgrimages below that range from the death-defying to the transcendent.

Syndetics book coverWild by nature : from Siberia to Australia, three years alone in the wilderness on foot / Sarah Marquis.
“Swiss explorer Marquis’s stunning memoir cannot be compared with similarly themed accounts such as Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. For one thing, Marquis is a professional explorer who prepares for walking expeditions and then completes them, no matter the level of difficulty or length of the journey. […] she encounters many dangers including dehydration, harassment, illness – and in one hair-raising sequence, machine gun-toting drug smugglers in Laos.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Silk Road : taking the bus to Pakistan / Bill Porter.
“In a mix of history, myth, and humorous observations, Porter relates tales of notable landmarks and figures from Chinese history, including emperors, concubines, poets, and peasants. Hopping from bus to van, hoofing it across towns, crashing in cheap motels, or enjoying whisky by starlight, Porter’s dispatches from central Asia read like erudite diary entries. Nearly 25 years in the making, Porter’s travel writing is sure to satisfy bibliophiles’ wanderlust.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBetter than fiction 2 / edited by Don George and Samantha Forge.
“Whether on a plane en route to your own travel adventure, or at home settling in for a vicarious experience of world adventures, embark on this literary journey around the world and explore your passion for travel now! Well-known authors include Dave Eggers, Alexander McCall Smith, Jane Smiley, David Shafer and Francine Prose.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOcean notorious : journeys to lost and lonely places of the deep south / Matt Vance.
“Venture to the deep south and you will experience a world like no other – forbidding Subantarctic islands, astounding sea creatures, death-defying plants, the constant company of birds. As an expedition guide, Matt Vance has accompanied intrepid tourists and birders, artists and writers. He gives a first -person account of the lonely places where lives have been changed and history made.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlavours of South Australia : favourite restaurants, wineries and producers with their signature recipes / edited by Penny Cordner.
“You’ve never seen South Australia like this before. From farm gates to cellar doors and hidden bars to extraordinary restaurants, prepare to immerse yourself in the best of South Australia’s culinary scene. Within these pages you can journey from the remarkable restaurants in Adelaide to the world-renowned wineries and producers of the Barossa.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Scottish islands : the bestselling guide to every Scottish island / Hamish Haswell-Smith.
“Packed with information on access, anchorages, points of historical or natural interest and things to do and see, this fascinating compendium provides indispensable information for touring, for browsing, for reference, and for all of those travellers who wish to experience some of the most beautiful and remote places in the world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe way of St Francis : via Di Francesco : from Florence to Assisi and Rome / by Sandy Brown.
“This book is a trove of information that makes a perfect companion for anyone setting out to walk the Way of St Francis. The Way of St Francis is one of the most popular pilgrim routes in Italy, and it offers a great range of sights: olive groves, vineyards, Renaissance Florence, the Casentino National Forest, hilltop towns, ancient ruins, mountains, the Marmore Falls, the Vatican City and more.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElephant complex : travels in Sri Lanka / John Gimlette.
“Everyone has wanted a piece of paradise. Sri Lanka is a small island with a long, violent and enthralling history. Home to thousands of wild elephants, this is a place where natural beauty has endured, indifferent to human tragedy. […] As he walks in the steps of old conquerors, follows the secret paths of elephants and marches alongside pilgrims, Gimlette seeks the soul of a country that is struggling to free itself from trauma and embody an identity to match its vitality, its power and its people.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

History Redrawn – Recent History Picks for February

Two books this month show the fascinating stories that arise at the intersection between words and pictures. Renowned illustrator E.H. Shepard gives a first hand account of WWI through his sketchbook and Ted Danforth works through the complex entanglements between East and West through spontaneous watercolours which exemplify constant change and the ‘redrawing of history’. Also of note, a new persperctive on the work and life of Te Whiti o Rongomai at Parihaka, and a story of the heroism of two women embroiled in WWII events in the Philippines.

Syndetics book coverThe hundred-year walk : an Armenian odyssey / Dawn Anahid MacKeen.
“An epic tale of one man’s courage in the face of genocide and his granddaughter’s quest to tell his story. In the heart of the Ottoman Empire as World War I rages, Stepan Miskjian’s world becomes undone. […] The Hundred-Year Walk alternates between Stepan’s saga and another journey that takes place a century later, after his family discovers his long-lost journals.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fortunes of Africa : a 5000-year history of wealth, greed, and endeavour / Martin Meredith.
“Africa has been coveted for its riches ever since the era of the Pharaohs. […] In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse of their future.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe longest trail : writings on American Indian history, culture, and politics / Alvin M. Josephy, Jr 
“Alvin Josephy Jr.’s groundbreaking, popular books and essays advocated for a fair and true historical assessment of Native Americans, and set the course for modern Native American studies. This collection, which includes magazine articles, speeches, a white paper, and introductions and chapters of books, gives a generous and reasoned view of five hundred years of Indian history in North America from first settlements in the East to the long trek of the Nez Perce Indians in the Northwest.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuenos Aires : the biography of a city / James Gardner.
“In Buenos Aires, Art and culture critic James Gardner offers a colorful biography of the “Paris of the South”, from its origins and time as a colonial city, through its Golden age, the rise of Peron, and the Falklands War, to the present day. With entertaining asides about art, architecture, literature, food and dance, as well as local customs and colorful personalities, this is a rich and unique historical narrative of Buenos Aires.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShepard’s war : E.H. Shepard : the man who drew Winnie-the-Pooh / compiled by James Campbell ; foreword by Minette Shepard.
Shepard is most widely known for his illustrations of the Winnie-the-Pooh series and The Wind in the Willows, and these drawings have become classics in their own right, iconic in the minds of children and adults everywhere. With over a hundred pieces of original artwork […] this is a unique insight into the life of an incredibly talented yet humble man and a rare visual journey into the Great War.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Eastern question : a geopolitical history in 108 maps & drawings / by Ted Danforth.
“In the 19th century, the term the ‘Eastern Question’ referred to the problem posed by the impending dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the fall of which in the second decade of the 20th engendered the modern ‘muddle’ of the Middle East in the 21st. The drawings are historical political cartoons; the maps ground the reader in the geography of time and place. Painting with a broad brush, the author sketches in the story with short texts that explain the drawings as much as the drawings illustrate the texts.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHidden Britain : secret tunnels, lost chambers and unknown passageways / Alvin Nicholas.
“This extraordinary book is a treasure chest of antiquities, gripping true stories, romantic legends, and little-known curiosities. […] Thoroughly researched and with more than 200 entries, this beautifully illustrated and highly readable book takes readers on a guided tour of a long-neglected subject. History enthusiasts, incurable romantics, and the plain curious apply within.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTe Whiti o Rongomai and the resistance of Parihaka / Danny Keenan.
“This is an account of the life and times of Te Whiti o Rongomai set against the politics and Crown policies of the nineteenth century. The book discusses the struggles Te Whiti had, as understood by some of his living relatives, against native policy of the time, and it gives insights into the motivations of Te Whiti and his actions. It explores the community at Parihaka, its resistance and the consequences of this and looks at Maori and government actions and responses up to the present day.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLife and death in the Andes : on the trail of bandits, heroes, and revolutionaries / Kim MacQuarrie.
“Unique portraits of legendary characters along South America’s mountain spine, from Charles Darwin to the present day, told by a master traveler and observer. […] Deeply observed and beautifully written, Life and Death in the Andes shows us this land as no one has before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAngels of the underground : the American women who resisted the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II / Theresa Kaminski.
Angels of the Underground tells the story of two American women known only as Miss U and High Pockets. […] Kaminksi highlights how women have always been active participants in war, whether or not they wear a military uniform. An impressive work of scholarship grounded in archival research and personal interviews, this is also a stunning story of courage and heroism in wartime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Travel Picks for February

With this month comes a crop of new inside guides to Australia, just in time for the end of summer. Check out the clean design and broad scope of Friday Saturday Sunday or browse through the CITIx60 guide to Melbourne, along with the rest of this fresh yet modest global series which gives candid and practical advice on treasures easily missed from the street. Hobbyists, from the photographic to the infographic will not be disappointed by the impressive Destinations of a Lifetime by National Geographic and the new and improved classic, Transit Maps of the World.

Syndetics book coverFriday Saturday Sunday : 52 perfect weekends in Australia / editor, Brooke Clark.
Get ready for the weekend with Friday Saturday Sunday: 52 Perfect Weekends in Australia, a curated guide to the best weekend getaways you can have anywhere in Australia. Written by checked in and clued up travel writers, this brand new travel guide from Explore Australia will show you how to have the best time at the best destinations in Australia. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMelbourne : 60 local creatives bring you the best of the city : art & design, architecture, food, entertainment, shopping.
“CITIX60 are guides to some of the world’s most renowned design hubs – cities that lead the world in all forms of visual culture and aesthetic innovation. Curated by a select group of local artists, designers, chefs, architects, musicians, photographers and filmmakers, CITIX60 guides provide an insiders’ view of what makes a trip to his or her town memorable.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSydney precincts : a curated guide to the city’s best shops, eateries, bars and other hangouts / Chris Carroll.
“Sydney is a tight-knit town, and locals often don’t want to share their secrets. Luckily Chris Carroll is here to help you get beyond the Opera House and the beaches and discover the best of Sydney: from the cafe hidden at the end of a wharf in Kirribilli to the gaudy and lauded restaurants of Sydney’s city centre, from the cute stationery shops of the Northern Beaches to the famous bakeries of the Inner West. You’ll never want to leave.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo baggage : a minimalist tale of love and wandering / Clara Bensen.
“Newly recovered from a quarter-life meltdown, Clara Bensen decided to test her comeback by signing up for an online dating account. She never expected to meet Jeff, a wildly energetic university professor with a reputation for bucking convention. They barely know each other’s last names when they agree to set out on a risky travel experiment spanning eight countries and three weeks. The catch? No hotel reservations, no plans, and best of all, no baggage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCobra in the bath : adventures in less travelled lands / Miles Morland.
“Miles Morland is an adventurer. He was born in India to a naval father and a dangerously glamorous mother. When his parents divorced, Miles followed his mother to Tehran, which they had to leave in a hurry, and on to Baghdad, which they also had to leave in a hurry after the 1958 revolution. His early years were filled with desert journeys, riots, perilous near-misses, and adventures worthy of Kipling, after which he was sent to England for a ‘proper’ education. […] Brilliantly observed and told with unique humour, Cobra in the Bath will have you crying with laughter and scared out of your wits.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow not to travel the world : adventures of a disaster-prone backpacker / Lauren Juliff.
“I had no life experience, zero common sense and had never eaten rice. I suffered from debilitating anxiety, was battling an eating disorder and had just had my heart broken. I hoped by leaving to travel the world I would be able to heal myself. Instead, Lauren’s travels were full of bad luck and near-death experiences. […] It was just as she was about to give up on travel when she stumbled across a handsome New Zealander with a love of challenges…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover438 days : an extraordinary true story of survival at sea / Jonathan Franklin.
“On November 17, 2012, a pair of fishermen left the coast of Mexico for a weekend fishing trip in the open Pacific. That night, a violent storm ambushed them as they were fishing eighty miles offshore. […] Fourteen months later, on January 30, 2014, Alvarenga, now a hairy, wild-bearded and half-mad castaway, washed ashore on a nearly deserted island on the far side of the Pacific… 438 Days is the first-ever account of one of the most amazing survival stories in modern times.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe moor : a journey into the English wilderness / William Atkins.
“In this journey across England’s most forbidding and mysterious terrain, William Atkins takes the reader from south to north, exploring moorland’s uniquely captivating position in our history, literature and psyche. […] He shows us that, while the fierce terrains we associate with Wuthering Heights and The Hound of the Baskervilles are very human landscapes, the moors remain daunting and defiant, standing steadfast against the passage of time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTransit maps of the world / Mark Ovenden.
“A completely updated and expanded edition of the cult bestseller, featuring subway, light rail, and streetcar maps from New York to Nizhny Novgorod. Transit Maps of the World is the first and only comprehensive collection of historical and current maps of every rapid-transit system on earth. In glorious, colorful graphics, Mark Ovenden traces the cartographic history of mass transit–including rare and historic maps, diagrams, and photographs, some available for the first time since their original publication.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDestinations of a lifetime : 225 of the world’s most amazing places / foreword by Dan Westergren, Director of Photography, National Geographic Traveler magazine.
“National Geographic takes you on a photographic tour of the world’s most spectacular destinations, inspiring tangible ideas for your next trip. Hundreds of the most breathtaking locales–both natural and man-made–are illustrated with vivid images taken by the organization’s world-class photographers. […] Loaded with hard service information for each location, Destinations of a Lifetime has it all: when to go, where to eat, where to stay, and what to do to ensure the most enriching and authentic experience.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Transformative Journeys – New Travel Titles for January

Take a look at the power of travel to enable personal transformation in titles such as Boots to Bliss by Claude Tranchant and Junkie Buddha by Diane Esguerra. Experience the often out-of-sight in Abandoned Places by Richard Happer and Hidden Treasures of London by Stephanie Wolff.

Syndetics book coverAbandoned places : 60 stories of places where time has stopped / Richard Happer.
“Ghost towns, empty streets, crumbling ruins and lost empires this book reveals these and other deserted places. Many places featured were once populated and now sit unoccupied, modern day ruins, sitting in decay. Stories, facts and photographs of 60 beautiful and eerie abandoned places from throughout the world. Time has stopped and nature is taking resident in these places mainly due to natural disasters, war or economic reasons.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSouth of the Clouds : travels in southwest China / Bill Porter.
“While flipping through the atlas of Chang Ch’i-yun, one of China’s most famous geographers, distinguished translator Bill Porter (Red Pine) developed a curiosity about the southwestern province of China. Dubbed Yun-nan, “South of the Clouds,” this was the last area modern China to come under Chinese control. Originally conquered by the Mongols and eventually introduced to foreigners as a vibrant setting for trade, Yun-nan became a critical crossroad connecting East and West.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBoots to bliss : the intriguing story of a 21st century pilgrim who walked The way of Saint James / Claude Tranchant.
“Follow the incredible journey and transformation of a 64 year old woman who walked nearly 2500 kilometres alone for 100 days through France and Spain along The Way of Saint James. You will learn about her inner thoughts, her self-discovery, her internal growth and how she was empowered. This is a story of immense courage and resilience.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlanes, canes, and automobiles : connecting with your aging parents through travel / Valerie M. Grubb.
“If the thought of vacationing with your parents makes you cringe, fear no more! Help is here! Planes, Canes, and Automobiles: Connecting with Your Aging Parents through Travel is a gold mine of practical advice, funny anecdotes, and tales of triumphs and travails from Val Grubb, who has traveled more than 300,000 miles (and counting!) with her 84-year old mother over the past twenty years.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverParisian chic city guide / Ines de la Fressange with Sophie Gachet.
“Ines de la Fressange embodies the iconic Parisienne , combining elegance and chic, effortlessly. With her fashion savvy and her inspired home interiors, Ines demonstrates an eye for the details that characterize the best in Gallic style, from wardrobe accessories to home furnishings. In this exquisite new pocket volume―the perfect accompaniment to her best-selling book Parisian Chic ―Ines divulges her new favorite locations for shopping, dining, and hanging out in Paris with style.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreat walks of New Zealand / Craig Potton ; with Shaun Barnett.
Great Walks of New Zealand is a tribute to New Zealand’s eight finest walking tracks, by renowned wilderness photographer Craig Potton.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWine trails : plan 52 perfect weekends in wine country.
“Detailed itineraries recommending the most interesting wineries and the best places to stay and eat in 52 wine regions near major cities make this perfect for travel enthusiasts who enjoy wine. Winemakers offer personal insights into what wines to taste and why they’re special and help you to understand a place, its people and their traditions through the wine that is made there. Gorgeous photography, maps and in-the-know authors complete the package.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHidden treasures of London / Michael McNay with photographs by Stephanie Wolff.
“A beautifully illustrated guide to over 400 of London’s lesser-known cultural gems. Nobody could deny that London is one of the most culturally and architecturally rich places in the world. But such glories can make us overlook some of the other, less obvious wonders that the city has to offer.  However well you may think you know the capital, Hidden Treasures of London is certain to unlock more of its secrets to you, leading you away from well-trodden tourist destinations to explore the amazing secret history of this great city.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJunkie Buddha : a journey of discovery in Peru / Diane Esguerra.
“This is the story of one woman’s journey from her son’s revelation that he had been sexually abused in childhood through to the scattering of his ashes at Machu Picchu in Peru. Sacha had died of a heroin overdose. A journal Diane kept while traveling around Peru and her experiences, encounters and reflections form the basis of her gut-wrenching and gripping book that reconnected her to life. Diane once asked “Why me?” and now asks “Why not me?”–a shift that now underlines her healing.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGus & Wallsy’s French revelation : a dog’s point of view / Gus & Robert Walls.
“Following the sad passing of his first wife, Robert had met someone new. Her name was Julie and for his birthday she had bought him a boxer puppy named Gus. Sensing a need to shake life up a bit, Robert and Julie decided they would leave Australia behind and fulfil a dream of spending a year living in southern France in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. And they would be taking Gus with them. Gus & Wallsy’s French Revelation is the story of that French experience, and it’s all told from Gus’ point of view.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent History Picks for January

This month, summer-friendly reading that will take you wandering through the wilderness of Claxton, where Mark Cocker’s seasonal nature diary springs with vivid detail. In another diary, experience a candid day in the life of Anne McEntegart, who headed a busy farm in the turbulent years of World War II in her support of the war effort. Both make sense of their human world through the subtle rhythms of nature.

Syndetics book coverClaxton : field notes from a small planet / Mark Cocker ; illustrated by Jonathan Gibbs.
“In 2001 Mark Cocker moved to Claxton, a small village in Norfolk. In a series of daily writings spanning the course of a year he explores his relationship to the landscape he lives in, to nature and to all the living things around him – the birds, plants, trees, mammals, hoverflies, moths, butterflies, bush crickets, grasshoppers, ants and bumblebees. Passionate, astonishing and inspiring, this book is a celebration of the wonder that lies in our everyday experience.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe milk lady at New Park Farm : the wartime diary of Anne McEntegart June 1943 – February 1945 / Anne McEntegart.
“Anne McEntegart wanted to support the War Effort. Her Royal Air Force officer husband was working abroad and her only child was in Canada, evacuated for safety. Aged thirty-eight, Anne left London, and her life as the wife of an officer, to work on the land and deliver milk for Walter Gossling at New Park Farm, just outside the village of Brockenhurst, in the New Forest.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverIraq : a history / John Robertson.
“In this insightful analysis, highly-respected expert John Robertson canvases the entirety of Iraq’s rich history, from the seminal advances of its Neolithic inhabitants to the aftermath of the American-led invasion and Iraq today. Grounded in extensive research, this balanced account of a country and its people explores the greatness and grandeur of Iraq’s achievements, the brutality and magnificence of its ancient empires, its contributions to the emergence of the world’senduring monotheistic faiths, and the role the great Arab caliphs of Baghdad played in the medieval cultural flowering that contributed so much to the European Renaissance and the eventual rise of the West.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSamuel Pepys : plague, fire, revolution / edited by Margarette Lincoln.
“Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) lived through one of the most exciting and troubled periods in English history.[…] Published to coincide with an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, UK, this engaging portrait explores the public and personal worlds of Pepys, not only a famous diarist whose description of the Fire of London is unequaled but also an energetic and talented man who rose from modest beginnings to become the greatest naval administrator of the age.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe forest people / Colin Turnbull.
“For three years, Colin Turnbull lived with an isolated group of Pygmies deep in the forest of the African Congo, experiencing their daily life first-hand. He attended their hunting parties and initiation ceremonies, witnessed their music and their rituals, observed their quarrels and love affairs. He documented them as an anthropologist but was accepted among them as a friend. A ground-breaking work in its time, The Forest People made him one of the most famous intellectuals of the 1960s and 1970s. It remains a transporting account of an earthly paradise and of a legendary and fascinating people.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElizabeth : Renaissance prince / Lisa Hilton.
“With new research out of France, Italy, Russia, and Turkey, Hilton’s fresh interpretation is of a queen who saw herself primarily as a Renaissance prince and used Machiavellian statecraft to secure that position. […] It’s a fascinating journey that shows how a marginalized newly crowned queen, whose European contemporaries considered her to be the illegitimate ruler of a pariah nation, ultimately adapted to become England’s first recognizably modern head of state.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe love of strangers : what six Muslim students learned in Jane Austen’s London / Nile Green.
“In July 1815, six Iranian students arrived in London under the escort of their chaperone, Captain Joseph D’Arcy. Their mission was to master the modern sciences behind the rapid rise of Europe. Over the next four years, they lived both the low life and high life of Regency London, from being down and out after their abandonment by D’Arcy to charming their way into society and landing on the gossip pages. The Love of Strangers tells the story of their search for love and learning in Jane Austen’s England.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFighters in the shadows : a new history of the French resistance / Robert Gildea.
“The French Resistance has an iconic status in the struggle to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe, but its story is entangled in myths. […] Robert Gildea’s penetrating history of resistance in France during World War II sweeps aside “the French Resistance” of a thousand clichés, showing that much more was at stake than freeing a single nation from Nazi tyranny.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rift : a new Africa breaks free / Alex Perry.
“A vivid, powerful and controversial look at how the world gets Africa wrong, and how a resurgent Africa is forcing it to think again. Africa has long been misunderstood–and abused–by outsiders. Correspondent Alex Perry traveled the continent for most of a decade, meeting with entrepreneurs and warlords, professors and cocaine smugglers, presidents and jihadis. Beginning with a devastating investigation into a largely unreported war crime-in 2011, when the US and the major aid agencies helped cause a famine in which 250,000 Somalis died-he finds Africa at a moment of furious self-assertion.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPower wars : inside Obama’s post-9/11 presidency / Charlie Savage.
“Barack Obama campaigned on a promise of change from George W. Bush’s “global war on terror.” Yet from indefinite detention and drone strikes to surveillance and military tribunals, Obama ended up continuing-and in some cases expanding-many policies he inherited. What happened? In Power Wars, Charlie Savage looks inside the Obama administration’s national security legal and policy team in a way that no one has before.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

In Search of Connection – New Travel Picks for December

This month’s travel stories, whether documenting a family canoe trip across North America, the hazy boundaries of unrecognised nations, or the trek of a lifetime with a beloved dog or donkey, are all epic and life-affirming portraits of living beings and their connection to place.

Syndetics book coverPortage : a family, a canoe, and the search for the good life / Sue Leaf.
“When as a child she first saw a canoe gliding on Lake Alexander in central Minnesota, Sue Leaf was mesmerized. The enchantment stayed with her and shimmers throughout this book as we join Leaf and her family in canoeing the waterways of North America, always on the lookout for the good life amid the splendors and surprises of the natural world. […] exploring the river means encountering life–good decisions and missed chances, risks and surprises, and the inevitable changes that occur as a family canoes through time and learns what it means to be human in this natural world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn atlas of countries that don’t exist : a compendium of fifty unrecognized and largely unnoticed states / Nick Middleton.
“Acclaimed travel writer and Oxford geography don Nick Middleton takes us on a magical tour of countries that, lacking diplomatic recognition or UN membership, inhabit a world of shifting borders, visionary leaders and forgotten peoples. […] Alongside stories, facts and figures, this Atlas brings to life a dreamlike world of nations that exist only in the minds of the people who live there.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrossing the plains with Bruno / Annick Smith.
“Dogs, like humans, have memories, instincts, fears, and loyalties. But, as far as we know, dogs do not get swept up in nostalgia, speculation, or self-analysis. Although they have hopes, they are not driven by regrets. Annick Smith weaves together a memoir of travel and relationship, western history and family history, human love and animal love centering around a two week road trip across the Great Plains she and her 95 pound chocolate lab, Bruno, took in the summer of 2003.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMoment & memory / Craig Potton.
“Craig Potton rose to prominence as a photographer in the late 1980s, with a distinct and original view of the landscape of New Zealand. He has become one of New Zealand’s most distinguished landscape photographers, famous for his moody, often dramatic images that signal a deeply felt connection with the wild places of New Zealand. This revised edition of Moment and Memory contains a collection of Craig’s finest photographs, personally selected to give a unique view of the New Zealand wilderness.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMountains and a shore : a journey through southern Turkey / Michael Pereira ; foreword by David Mason.
“As David Mason writes in his new foreword, “The Turkish word for the Mediterranean is Akdeniz , the White Sea, but the land between the Black and White Seas is polychromatic, swirlingly complex, contradictory, challenging, and often heart-stoppingly beautiful. Getting to know Turkey is not always easy, even now. Time travel with Michael Pereira is an excellent way to begin.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalking the Kiso Road : a modern-day exploration of old Japan / William Scott Wilson.
“Take a trip to old Japan with William Scott Wilson as he travels the ancient Kiso Road, a legendary route that remains much the same today as it was hundreds of years ago. […] Wilson, esteemed translator of samurai philosophy, has walked the road several times and is a delightful and expert guide to this popular tourist destination; he shares its rich history and lore, literary and artistic significance, cuisine and architecture, as well as his own experiences.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZen and the art of donkey maintenance / Robert Crisp.
“Through twenty columns filed from abroad over years of rustic living and travel, Crisp, as Peter White, shared his experiences of hitch-hiking through Yugoslavia, settling in a beach shack in Greece where he attempted to cultivate the stubborn land, and a nearly fatal solo boat trip around Corfu. As the first year of his dream life came to a close, he found out that the stomach pain he had been suffering was not a side effect of too much Greek wine, but cancer. With a prediction of only one year to live, he set off on a trek around Crete, his only companion a donkey with plenty of personality.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMail obsession : a journey round Britain by postcode / Mark Mason.
“Mark Mason has embarked on a tour of the country, immersing himself in Britain’s history on a roundabout journey from AB to ZE. […] his travels offer the perfect opportunity to delve into the history of the Royal Mail, complete with pillar boxes, posties and Penny Reds – plus Oscar Wilde’s unconventional method of posting a letter. A charming mix of fact, anecdote and overheard conversation, Mail Obsession pays homage to Britain’s wonderful past and its curious present.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew York : an inspired wander through Manhattan and the Brooklyn boroughs / Alexandra Carroll.
“New York is an extraordinary city. A place of pilgrimage for world travelers, it’s a dream destination for the serious culture buff, style hunter and aesthetically minded wanderer. In this inspiring guide, Alexandra Carroll takes you beyond the well-known facades and into the depths of Manhattan and Brooklyn, seeking out the very best the city has to offer. […] Stunningly photographed and designed, New York will help you to navigate the grid and discover the aesthetic pleasures that make this city endlessly enticing and fascinating.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMadrid.
“Monocle knows about the hidden gems in all the great cities. The series launched in spring 2015 with editions for London, New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. This autumn they will be joined by Singapore, Istanbul Madrid, and Portland, Oregon. Each book also contains a series of city essays and perspectives. Created by the Monocle design team, these authoritative guides are trim enough to drop into your pocket and wise enough to stay by your side throughout your travels” (adapted from Syndetics summary)