Travel books this month take us from New Zealand in Wildboy, to Patagonia, Chicago, Denmark, Sweden then back via Florence, Haiti, the U.S. and Sydney. Happy armchair travelling!
All the buildings in Sydney : that I’ve drawn so far / by James Gulliver Hancock.
“All the Buildings in Sydney is a love letter to author James Gulliver Hancock’s home town of Sydney, told through his unique and charming drawings of the city’s diverse architectural styles and cityscape. His buildings are colourful and full of fun and off-beat details, yet he successfully captures the technical elements and the essence of Sydney architecture that makes it such a unique and beautiful city.” (Syndetics summary)
Discovering vintage Chicago : a guide to the city’s timeless shops, bars, delis & more / Amy Bizzarri.
“The Discovering Vintage series takes you back in time to all of the timeless classic spots each city has to offer. The books spotlight the charming stories that tell you what each place is like now and how it got that way from classic restaurants to shops to other establishments that still thrive today and evoke the unique character of the city. They’re all still around–but they won’t be around forever. Start reading, and start your discovering now!” (Amazon.com.)
Ultimate record breaking destinations : the world’s largest, highest and most extreme places / Samantha Wilson.
“In a world bursting with incredible and alluring destinations, visiting the largest, oldest, highest or most extreme places provides us with a wonderful sense of achievement and helps us make sense of our place in this big old world. Take a unique journey of discovery to 100 of Earth’s record breaking places, from swimming in the deepest lake to stepping foot on the largest sand island or spending a night in the largest ice hotel. With a combination of easy-to-visit and off-the-beaten-track destinations it combines geographical intrigue and astonishing trivia to bring you the travel world’s answer to the Guinness Book of World Records.” (Syndetics summary)
Chasing rumor : a season fly fishing in Patagonia / Cameron Chambers.
“A blip of prosperity at the turn of the 20th century brought American trout to Patagonia, then for a half-century they were forgotten to fight wars and build a nation. Rediscovered by fishermen a half-century later, the fish had grown to epic proportions. In Chasing Rumor, Cameron Chambers chronicles his modern-day pilgrimage to the rivers of Patagonia in pursuit of these legendary 20-pound trout. What started as a trip focused on catching fish became a love affair with the Patagonian landscape, environment and mostly, the people. From a business mogul turned B&B owner to a kid determined to save a local trout population, Chasing Rumor is at times the story of a handful of fishermen, and at other times a tale of enormous trout.” (Syndetics summary)
Wildboy : an epic trek around the coast of New Zealand / Brando Yelavich with Nicola McCloy.
“Fast going off the rails and hanging out with the wrong crowd, Brando Yelavich, a plucky 20-year-old from Auckland’s North Shore, decided he needed to change his life. He needed a mission. He was going to walk around New Zealand. Brando reached Cape Reinga on 23 August 2014 after a gruelling journey of over 8000 kilometres, traversed almost completely on foot over 600 days – the first time it had ever been done. It was an outlandish odyssey of physical and mental fortitude. He slept under the stars and lived off the land. He almost drowned on several occasions and experienced near-hypothermia. He gained 20 kilograms. But the transformation ran much deeper. As much for fans of Bear Grylls or Cheryl Strayed’s Wild as it is for those of the off-the-grid outdoors Kiwi experience, Wildboy is a ripping adventure story with an inspiring life change at its heart.” (Syndetics summary)
How to be Danish : a journey to the cultural heart of Denmark / Patrick Kingsley.
“Denmark is the country of the moment. Recently named the happiest nation in the world, it’s the home of The Killing and Noma, the world’s best (and most eccentric) restaurant. We wear their sweaters, watch their thrillers, and covet their cool modern design, but how much do we really know about the Danes themselves? Part reportage, part travelogue, How to Be Danish fills in the gaps — an introduction to contemporary Danish culture that spans politics, television, food, architecture, and design.” (Syndetics summary)
Smile of a midsummer night : a picture of Sweden / by Lars Gustafsson and Agneta Blomqvist ; translated from the Swedish by Deborah Bragen-Turner.
“In Smile of the Midsummer Night , best-selling author Lars Gustafsson and Agneta Blomqvist present a very personal guide to their Swedish homeland. Setting off from the far South, their journey takes them up to Norrland, from the farms of Scania to Laponian, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But it is the idyllic fjord in Bohulän, located in the Västmanland region, as well as Mälar Lake and Stockholm that they call home. The first work of contemporary travel writing about Sweden by Swedish writers to have been translated into English, Smile of the Midsummer Night is a loving and poetic ode to this beautiful nation and a must-have for anyone interested in Scandinavia.” (Syndetics summary)
111 places in Florence and Northern Tuscany that you must not miss / Beate C. Kirchner ; photographs by Francesco P. Carbone ; English translation, Alan Gentile.
“Michelangelo’s David, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the smooth cypress hills – these are among the celebrated must-see sights of Tuscany. Yet the cultural landscape of Florence and the surrounding countryside is an inexhaustible trove of visual and historical gems if you know where to look, that is. Where, for instance, can you find 1,000 Masonic objects and symbols? Where does the official championship in cheese-throwing take place? Where was a memorial dedicated to a king’s assassin, and where can you see a double-dawn? This book will lead you right inside the turbulent history, exciting stories, and unexpected sites and pleasures of Tuscany.” (Syndetics summary)
Dispatches from dystopia : histories of places not yet forgotten / Kate Brown.
“The author wanders the Chernobyl Zone of Alienation, first on the Internet and then in person, to figure out which version — the real or the virtual — is the actual forgery. She also takes us to the basement of a hotel in Seattle to examine the personal possessions left in storage by Japanese Americans on their way to internment camps in 1942. In Uman, Ukraine, we hide with Brown in a tree in order to witness the male-only Rosh Hashanah celebration of Hasidic Jews. In the Russian southern Urals, she speaks with the citizens of the small city of Kyshtym, where invisible radioactive pollutants have mysteriously blighted lives. Finally, Brown returns home to Elgin, Illinois, in the industrial rust belt, to investigate the rise of “rustalgia” and the ways her formative experiences have inspired her obsession with modernist wastelands.” (Jacket flap)
After the dance : a walk through carnival in Jacmel, Haiti / Edwidge Danticat.
“Here she chronicles her journey to the coastal town of Jacmel, where she meets with the performers, artists, and organizers who re-create the myths and legends that bring the festival to life. In the process, Danticat traces the heroic and tragic history of their home island, from French plantation colony to the Haitian revolution, American invasions to homegrown dictatorships. Part travelogue, part memoir, part historical analysis, this is the deeply personal story of a writer rediscovering her country – along with a part of herself – and a wonderful introduction to Haiti’s southern coast and to the beauty and passions of Carnival.” (Back cover)