Soundscapes and Literary Greats – Recent Travel Books

This month, discover Paris and London in very different ways. Janice MacLeod’s A Paris Year is a love letter to Paris (in illustrations and words) through the eyes of an artist. On the flip side, Streets of London : the story behind London’s most famous streets takes a layered approach, uncovering some of London’s fascinating back doubles and alleyways, often passed by and ignored.

In a month of contrasts and different approaches, we also feature two books about Antarctica.  Philip Samartzis, author of  Antarctica: An Absent Presence, travelled south with the Australian Antarctic Division on several occasions and his recordings of the unique sounds of Antarctica have been used to create soundscape compositions which wrap around the words and images in this book. The flip side here is a personal narrative leading towards the icy continent from rural America, in Andrew Evans’s The Black Penguin.

Finally we have a literary bent, with the collection of New York Times columns in Footprints examining the locations that influenced famous writers, and The Writer Abroad featuring the actual travel writing of some of the greats.

Antarctica : an absent presence / Philip Samartzis.
“This beautiful volume of soundscape compositions, images and words from Philip Samartzis is an invitation to share in a remarkable journey of enquiry. Antarctica is a paradox of the sublime and prosaic: with its vast expanses of ice, snow and mountains and traces of human habitation, from weathered huts to abandoned machinery. Samartzis travelled south with the Australian Antarctic Division on several occasions and his recordings of the unique sounds of Antarctica have been used to create soundscape compositions which are meticulously realised on three CDs of the music included in this book.” (Fishpond.co.nz)

Syndetics book coverA Paris year : my day-to-day adventures in the most romantic city in the world / Janice MacLeod.
“Part memoir and part visual journey, A Paris Year chronicles, day by day, one woman’s French sojourn in the world’s most beautiful city. Beginning on her first day in Paris, Janice MacLeod began a journal recording in illustrations and words, nearly every sight, smell, taste, and thought she experienced in the City of Light. The end result is more than a diary: it’s a detailed and colorful love letter to one of the most romantic and historically rich cities on earth. Combining personal observations and anecdotes with stories and facts about famous figures in Parisian history, this visual tale of discovery, through the eyes of an artist, is sure to delight, inspire, and charm.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe black penguin / Andrew Evans.
“A devout young boy in rural Ohio, Andrew Evans had his life mapped for him: baptism, mission, Brigham Young University, temple marriage, and children of his own. But as an awkward gay kid, bullied and bored, he escaped into the glossy pages of National Geographic and the wide promise of the world atlas. Ejected from church and shunned by his family as a young man, Evans embarks on an ambitious overland journey halfway across the world. Riding public transportation, he crosses swamps, deserts, mountains, and jungles, slowly approaching his lifelong dream and ultimate goal: Antarctica. Evans’s 12,000-mile voyage becomes a soulful quest to balance faith, family, and self, reminding us that, in the end, our lives are defined by the roads we take, the places we touch, and those we hold nearest.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStreets of London : the story behind London’s most famous streets / Lucy McMurdo.
“With a history going back 2000 years it is hardly surprising that so many of London’s streets are known throughout the globe. Even today several Roman roads pass through the capital, and London’s financial center, The City of London, is full of winding alleys and ancient ways with names from times gone by. Author Lucy McMurdo encourages you to turn off the main trail and discover more of London’s fascinating back doubles and alleyways, so often passed by and ignored.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTourist trains guidebook / [from the publishers of Trains magazine ; editor: Randy Rehberg].
Tourist Trains Guidebook, Sixth Edition describes 500 of the most popular train attractions, museums, and railroad vacation destinations in the U.S. and Canada. A unique travel guide that appeals to train buffs, individuals interested in historic trains and sites, and families looking for kid-friendly vacations. The digest book size offers a portable format that fits inside a backpack or tote. As passenger train travel enjoys a real renaissance today, a comprehensive railroad travel guide will be a valuable addition to your product line.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFootsteps : from Ferrante’s Naples to Hammett’s San Francisco : literary pilgrimages around the world / The New York Times ; introduction by Monica Drake.
“Based on the popular New York Times travel column, Footsteps is an anthology of literary pilgrimages, exploring the geographic muses behind some of history’s greatest writers. From the “dangerous, dirty and seductive” streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante’s famous Neapolitan novels, to the “stone arches, creaky oaken doors, and riverside paths” of Oxford, the backdrop for Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, Footsteps takes a fresh approach to literary tourism, appealing to readers and travel enthusiasts alike.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe writer abroad : literary travels from Austria to Uzbekistan / selected by Lucinda Hawksley.
“From the grand tour to the global village, novelists and poets have made particularly observant travelers. Many writers have been prone to wanderlust, eager to explore the world and draw inspiration from their travels. They recorded their notes in letters, journals, essays and books. This collection takes us on a literary journey around the world, through extracts from Arthur Conan Doyle in Australia, Aldous Huxley in India, Charles Dickens in Italy, Henry James in France, Mary Wollstonecraft in Sweden, and many more.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWays to see Great Britain : curious places & surprising perspectives / text and illustrations by Alice Stevenson.
“Driven by curiosity, restlessness and a desire to better understand her own country, artist Alice Stevenson spent two years exploring and drawing Great Britain. With an eye for the odd and an antenna for the unexpectedly beautiful, she documented her slow, attentive forays. The result is a book celebrating detail, of landscape and architecture, and creativity, an essential human urge. A rich, artistic journey through a land deep in natural and man-made puzzles and wonders.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

New Travel Books for February

This month offers a guided tour by countless authors across the varied terrains of Morocco, Syria and Ethiopia. After reading these first hand encounters, make the baby steps towards visiting some of these places yourself with Lonely Planet’s new seasonal compendium Where to Go When, one of it’s more practical tomes, equally as good for drooling at as it is for the meticulous planning of the trip of a lifetime. For more backyard insights, consult the moody waters of Islands and uncover some of the unseen realities of the submerged rocks surrounding the endlessly fascinating archipelago we call Aotearoa and New Zealand.

Syndetics book coverMorocco : in the labyrinth of dreams and bazaars / by Walter M. Weiss ; translated by Stefan Tobler.
“Walter M. Weiss brings extensive knowledge of the region to bear as he travels the breadth and depth of the country’s social and geographical contrasts. Weiss visits the settings of modern legends, such as Tangier, as well as the two medieval centres Fès and Meknès, and sees earthen kasbahs and Marrakech’s bazaar. On the way, he meets acrobats, Sufi musicians, pilgrims, craftsmen, beatniks, rabbis, and Berber farmers–a kaleidoscope of variety and cultural influence.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe street philosopher and the holy fool : a Syrian journey / Marius Kociejowski.
“The ancient land of Syria remains for many a sinister and forbidding destination, only recently opening up to foreign travellers. Marius Kociejowski presents a completely fresh and unexpected face to this mysterious country. Based on his own visits to Syria, The Street Philosopher and the Holy Fool describes a journey which brings him into contact with a host of colourful and unusual characters, each of whom is an outsider of sorts.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverEthiopia : through writers’ eyes / edited by Yves-Marie Stranger.
“This book is the perfect companion to any exploration of Ethiopia, be it in the precarious saddle of an Abyssinian pony, or from the folds of an armchair. A compendium of all things Ethiopian, the book throws wide-open the precious windows of understanding, allowing you to gaze deeper into the landscape and people with additional wonder.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLonely Planet’s where to go when : the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year / written by Sarah Baxter & Paul Bloomfield.
Where To Go When, the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year, is a beautifully illustrated book that is both practical and inspiring. For every month of the year it presents 30 recommendations of destinations that are at their best during each month, whether due to their climate, or value or because there’s a lot going on.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInspired journeys : travel writers in search of the muse / edited by Brian Bouldrey.
“Full of humor, profundity, and obsession, these are tales of writers on peregrine paths. Some set out in search of legends or artistic inspiration; others seek spiritual epiphany or fulfillment of a promise. All of these pilgrimages are worthy journeys–redemptive and serious. But a time-honored element of pilgrimage is a suspension of rules, and there is absurdity and exuberance here as well.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverForty shades of white : my amazing Antarctic journey / Ginni Bazlinton.
“Ginni Bazlinton signed up for a voyage to the planet’s fifth largest continent. Antarctica was a vast unknown to her when she set off on the rugged scientific vessel, the Akademik Shokalskiy. For this grandmother ‘from next door’ her encounter with an area known to so few becomes the gateway to a profound attachment to the miracle that is Antarctica and a keener understanding of the Earth and humanity’s ambiguous role within it.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIslands : a New Zealand journey / Bruce Ansley and Jane Ussher.
“New Zealand is surrounded by hundreds of islands, mainly remnants of a larger land mass now beneath the sea. Some are idyllic retreats; others have poignant histories of castaways, prisons and leper colonies. Some have become sanctuaries, safe from destructive predators; some are farmed by fifth and sixth generations of the same family; others are isolated outposts, barely sustaining life at all; while some are hidden where you’d least expect…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNever put all your eggs in one bastard / Peta Mathias.
“In this ‘memoir of sorts’, Peta looks back at the patterns of her life while she embarks on the next big stage in it- selling her beloved cottage in Auckland to buy a dilapidated old house in Uzos in the south of France and transforming the old wreck into a stylish home and cooking school. Spiced with recipes, the thrills and tribulations of reinventing yourself and her trademark humour, this book is really about never putting all your eggs in one bastard.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverParis by Ladurée Paris / text, Serge Gleizes ; photography, Pierre-Olivier Signe ; translator, Jonno Slysa.
“In Paris by Ladurée, author Serge Gleizes compiles the iconic luxury patisserie’s 200 favorite Parisian addresses and guides readers to the best that the most elegant city in the world has to offer in cuisine, interior design, table décor, beauty, fashion, hotels, and culture–in a book small enough to carry while traveling.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBy the seat of my pants / edited by Don George.
“Lonely Planet knows that some of life’s funniest experiences happen on the road. These 31 globegirdling tales that run the gamut from close-encounter safaris to loss-of-face follies, hair-raising rides to culture-leaping brides, eccentric expats to mind-boggling repasts, wrong roads taken to agreements mistaken. The collection brings together some of the world’s most renowned travellers and storytellers with previously unpublished writers.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Everything Maps! New Travel Picks for November

Delve into this month’s stunning array of new maps and atlases, presenting places familiar and strange in a new light. To start getting lost in these is to start dreaming the existing world anew. With this comes the imperative to go out and uncover the world – whether in your neighbourhood or on the other side of the globe.

Syndetics book coverAtlas of improbable places : a journey to the world’s most unusual corners / Travis Elborough & Alan Horsfield.
“It is perhaps the eighth wonder of our world that despite modern mapping and satellite photography our planet continues to surprise us. Hidden lairs beneath layers of rock, forgotten cities rising out of deserted lands and even mankind’s own feats of engineering eccentricity lie in the most unusual of destinations. Travis Elborough goes in search of the obscure and bizarre, the beautiful and estranged. Beautiful maps and stunning photography illustrate each hidden place. (adapted from amazon.com)

413N1YK8daL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_[1]Curiocity : in pursuit of London / Henry Eliot & Matt Lloyd-Rose.
“Curiocity
is the most beautiful and unusual guidebook ever written about London. Structured as an A to Z, its 26 chapters explore the city from all angles, with themes as diverse as crowdedness, sex, gentrification, time, sewers and the occult, illustrated by stunning hand-drawn maps. The 26 maps show show London from a child’s perspective, the airspace above the city, the ground beneath your feet, London reimagined as a giant prison, and much more.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverAtlas obscura : an explorer’s guide to the world’s hidden wonders / Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras & Ella Morton.
“Drawing on material from the ever-expanding website of the same name, this ersatz tour guide to the fabulously interesting secret corners of the globe is arranged geographically by continent and country. Whether describing a Canadian museum that showcases world history through shoes, a pet-casket company that will also sell you a unit for your severed limb, a Greek snake festival, or a place in the Canary Islands where inhabitants communicate through whistling, the authors have compiled an enthralling range of oddities. […]” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreat city maps.
“Step onto the streets of cities around the world, and understand the cultures and civilizations that created them with Great City Maps. This beautifully illustrated book explores the world’s most celebrated historical city maps. Richly detailed ancient and modern maps of important cities take you on a journey across the globe in stunning detail, from Athens to Alexandria and Cape Town to Cairo, with close up views of each city’s most intriguing features […]” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBest. state. ever. : a Florida man defends his homeland / Dave Barry.
“Every few months, Dave Barry gets a call from some media person wanting to know, “What the hell is wrong with Florida?” Somehow, the state’s acquired an image as a subtropical festival of stupid, and as a loyal Floridian, Dave begs to differ. Sure, there was the 2000 election. And people seem to take their pants off for no good reason. And it has flying insects the size of LeBron James. But it is a great state, and Dave is going to tell you why. Join him as he celebrates Florida from Key West at the bottom to whatever it is that’s at the top, from the Sunshine State’s earliest history to the fun-fair of weirdness that it is today.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverLove of country : a Hebridean journey / Madeleine Bunting.
“An extraordinary journey deep into the history and landscape of the Hebrides, exploring their turbulent history, the spread of their influence, and how these islands shaped the nations of Britain.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOur delicious adventure : recipes and stories of food and travel / Jane Grover
“Yearning to break with the routine of the everyday, Jane Grover and her family spent a season exploring Australia’s southern coastline from Sydney to Perth and recorded their adventures in delicious, juicy detail. Join her as she gathers cockles on the Fleurieu Peninsula, nets blue swimmer crabs in Streaky Bay, savours local raspberries from the Albany Farmers’ Market and eats freshly shucked oysters from the shoreline of Bruny Island in Tasmania.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrossing the Congo : over land and water in a hard place / Mike Martin, Chloe Baker, Charlie Hatch-Barnwell.
“In 2013, three friends set off on a journey that they had been told was impossible: the north-south crossing of the Congo River Basin, from Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to Juba, in South Sudan. […] Crossing the Congo is an offbeat travelogue, a story of friendship and what it takes to complete a great journey against tremendous odds, and an intimate look into one of the world’s least-developed and most fragile states, told with humor and sensitivity.” (adapted from amazon.com)

New Travel Picks for September

Let this month’s travel picks take you on a stroll. Take a meander through a damp and ephemeral landscape in Rain, test walking upside down in But What If We’re Wrong? all while being careful to not drop off the ‘edge of the Earth’ in Maps That Changed the World.

Syndetics book coverPinpoint : how GPS is changing technology, culture, and our minds / Greg Milner.
“Greg Milner takes us on a fascinating tour of a hidden system that touches almost every aspect of our modern life. While GPS has brought us breathtakingly accurate information about our planetary environment and physical space, it has also created new forms of human behavior. We have let it saturate the world’s systems so completely and so quickly that we are just beginning to confront the possible consequences.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wonder trail : true stories from Los Angeles to the end of the world / Steve Hely.
“Who should read this book? […] So: People taking trips, people who aren’t taking trips, people who like trips, people who don’t like trips, and people who want to be entertained, delighted and informed should all enjoy this book.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaps that changed the world / edited by O. E. Clark ; introduction by Professor Jeremy Black.
“From beautifully engraved sixteenth-century Dutch maps to sinister Nazi maps, this stunning compendium features some of the most famous cartography ever created. Stretching back to when explorers feared dropping off the “edge of the world.” Organized chronologically, the collection shows the evolution of map-making from all corners of the globe.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRain : four walks in English weather / Melissa Harrison.
“An evocative meditation on the English landscape in wet weather by the acclaimed novelist and nature writer, Melissa Harrison. Whenever rain falls, our countryside changes. Fields, farms, hills and hedgerows appear altered, the wildlife behaves differently, and over time the terrain itself is transformed. Blending her expeditions with reading, research, memory and imagination, Harrison reveals how rain is not just an essential element of the world around us, but a key part of our own identity too.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnder the tump : sketches of real life on the Welsh Borders / Oliver Balch.
“Hay-on-Wye is world famous as the Town of Books. But when travel writer Oliver Balch moved there, it was not just the books he was keen to read, but the people too. After living in London and Buenos Aires, what will he make of this tiny, quirky town on the Welsh-English border? To help guide him, he turns to Francis Kilvert, a Victorian diarist who captured the bucolic rural life of his day. Does anything of Kilvert’s world still exists? And could a newcomer ever feel they truly belong?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBut what if we’re wrong? : thinking about the present as if it were the past / Chuck Klosterman.
“But What If We’re Wrong? visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who’ll perceive it as the distant past. Chuck Klosterman asks questions that are profound in their simplicity: How certain are we about our understanding of gravity? How certain are we about our understanding of time? What will be the defining memory of rock music, five hundred years from today? […] It’s about how we live now, once “now” has become “then”.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWelcome to the goddamn ice cube : chasing fear and finding home in the great white north / Blair Braverman.
“A revelatory memoir of the author’s efforts to develop the strength and resilience to survive in the demanding landscapes of Norway and Alaska describes her physically exhausting survival endeavors on a ruthless arctic tundra marked by violent natural and human threats.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGone wild : stories from a lifetime of wildlife travel / Malcolm Smith.
“Often amusing, sometimes romantic or fraught with danger, these 30 short stories are about local people, spectacular places and the special wildlife the author sets out to find. The stories include seeking out Arabian Oryx on the searing plains of the Saudi desert; eiderdown collecting in Iceland, crouching in swirling clouds and darkness on a knife-edge ridge in the rugged Madeiran mountains and swimming with Grey Seals off the Pembroke coast.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEpic bike rides of the world : explore the planet’s most thrilling cycling routes.
“Discover 200 of the best places to ride a bike in this beautifully illustrated hardback. From family-friendly, sightseeing urban rides to epic adventures off the beaten track. Destinations range from France and Italy, for the world’s great bike races, to the wilds of Mongolia and Patagonia. These journeys will inspire – whether you are an experienced cyclist or just getting started.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Trail or Rail – New Travel Picks for July

Trail enthusiasts should check out Walking to Camelot and The 50 Greatest Walks in the World. Alternately, The Road I Ride and Ticket to Ride both explore the thrills and pleasures of experiencing the world at a faster pace.

Syndetics book coverThe 50 greatest walks of the world / Barry Stone.
“With walks that will appeal to everyone regardless of ability, The 50 Greatest Walks of the World includes American classics such as the Appalachian Trail, Buckskin Gulch, and the Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch, as well as personal favourites such as Italy’s Cinque Terre Classic and the Isle of Skye’s Trotternish Ridge, one of Britain’s finest ridge traverses with almost 2,500m of ascents. Whether it’s a climb, a stroll, or a life-changing slog, this book has the walk for you.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA boy of China : in search of Mao’s lost son / Richard Loseby.
“The author’s search for a son of Chinese leader Chairman Mao, who was abandoned by Mao in 1934 during the famous Long March. The search takes the author all over China, from Shanghai west to Tibet and Sichuan then to Jiangxi in the southeast. He describes the places he visits, his discoveries and his meetings with fascinating characters along the way.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalking to Camelot : a pilgrimage through the heart of rural England / John A. Cherrington.
“John Cherrington and his 74-year-old walking companion set out one fine morning in May to traverse the only English footpath that cuts south through the rural heart of the country, a formidable path called the Macmillan Way. […] The historical merges with the magic of the footpath, with Cherrington making astute, often humorous observations on the social, cultural, and culinary mores of the English, all from a very North American perspective.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPerforming indigenous culture on stage and screen : a harmony of frenzy / Marianne Schultz.
“Examining corporeal expressions of indigenousness from an historical perspective, this book highlights the development of cultural hybridity in New Zealand via the popular performing arts, contributing new understandings of racial, ethnic, and gender identities through performance. The author offers an insightful and welcome examination of New Zealand performing arts via case studies of drama, music, and dance, performed both domestically and internationally.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThis road I ride : my incredible journey from novice to fastest woman to cycle the globe / Juliana Buhring.
“18,000 miles, 152 days, 4 continents, 19 countries, 29 punctures, 6 big mountains, 1 desert and a cyclone later, Juliana Buhring came back just days before Christmas with a Guinness World Record. Empowering, inspiring, often humorous, This Road I Ride is testimony to the power of sheer will to overcome any obstacle. Discover a true story of adventure, blood, sweat and gears.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAccidentally Istanbul / Nancy Knudsen.
“Nancy Knudsen never meant to go to Istanbul. Maybe she might have included it as part of a holiday along with other dazzling European cities such as Venice, Paris or Salzburg. But the idea of actually living in a Muslim country as an ordinary citizen rather than tourist or expat corporate executive, would never have occurred to her. Knudsen’s story is vivid, lively and sometimes hilarious, full of insights into things she wished she’d known before she arrived with not a word of Turkish.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTicket to ride : around the world on 49 unusual train journeys / Tom Chesshyre.
“Experience the world by train. Why do people love trains so much? Tom Chesshyre is on a mission to find the answer by experiencing the world through train travel – on both epic and everyday rail routes, aboard every type of ride, from steam locomotives to bullet trains, meeting a cast of memorable characters who share a passion for train travel. Join him on the rails and off the beaten track as he embarks on an exhilarating whistle-stop tour around the globe.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVoyager : travel writings / Russell Banks.
“The acclaimed, award-winning novelist takes us on some of his most memorable journeys in this revelatory collection of travel essays that spans the globe, from the Caribbean to Scotland to the Himalayas. Now in his mid-seventies, Russell Banks has indulged his wanderlust for more than half a century. […] Voyager brings together the social, the personal, and the historical, opening a path into the heart and soul of this revered writer.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLondon rising : illicit photos from the city’s heights / Bradley L. Garrett, Alexander Moss, Scott Cadman ; with illustrations by Lizzie Mary Cullen
“In this book, an intrepid crew of city explorers share dizzying photos and stories collected while journeying up, over, and into the London skyline. Over the course of seven years, a well-respected team of adventurers has embarked on scores of not-quite-legal investigations inside, below, and above the city’s hidden infrastructures. Readers will enjoy these indefatigable explorers’ quest to make their native city both known and accessible to anyone who shares their curiosity.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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)

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)

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)

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)