Our pick of new Travel books in July

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!

Syndetics book coverAll 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)

Syndetics book coverDiscovering 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.)

Syndetics book coverUltimate 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)

Syndetics book coverChasing 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)

Syndetics book coverWildboy : 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)

Syndetics book coverHow 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)

Syndetics book coverSmile 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)

Syndetics book cover111 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)

Syndetics book coverDispatches 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)

Syndetics book coverAfter 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)

Interesting new travel books in June

This month features two books about walking journeys; one is Down the Nile, and the other is Walking New Orleans. Other books describe the delights of escaping to the ‘Med.’, how to have an entertaining family trip to London, and a delightful book about the weekly dinner shared between four Italian women… with author Marlena de Blasi.

Syndetics book coverBetween East and West : across the borderlands of Europe / Anne Applebaum.
“A vivid and human glimpse into Europe’s borderlands as they emerged from Soviet rule – back in print after nearly 20 years.
As Europe’s borderlands emerged from Soviet rule, Anne Applebaum travelled from the Baltic to the Black Sea, through Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and the Carpathian mountains. Rich in vivid characters and stories of tragedy and survival, Between East and West illuminates the soul of a place, and the secret history of its people. Anne Applebaum is a historian and journalist, a regular columnist for the Washington Post and Slate, and the author of several books… She is the Director of Political Studies at the Legatum Institute in London, and she divides her time between Britain and Poland, where her husband, Radek Sikorski, serves as Foreign Minister.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalking New Orleans : 30 tours exploring historic neighborhoods, waterfront districts, culinary and music corridors, and recreational wonderlands / Barri Bronston.
“From neighborhoods such as Lakeview and Mid-City to landmarks including the Saenger Theater and Mercedes Benz Superdome, from its restaurants and music clubs to its parks and museums, the Big Easy has regained the title of one of the world’s most fascinating cities. In Walking New Orleans , lifelong resident and writer Barri Bronston shares the love of her hometown through 30 self-guided tours that range from majestic St. Charles Avenue and funky Magazine Street to Bywater and Faubourg Marigny, two of the city’s “it” neighborhoods. Within each tour, she offers tips on where to eat, drink, dance, and play, for in addition to all the history, culture, and charm that New Orleans has to offer…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLet’s take the kids to London / David Stewart White and Deb Hosey White.
“…Not everyone travels the same way, and traveling with children entails a unique set of priorities. The culture and colorful history of London come to life in this guide to enjoying an exceptionally entertaining family vacation. Written specifically for families, this book is the antidote to the inevitable tribulations faced by traveling parents and children. With a focus on family-friendly adventures, it describes such classic destinations as the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, lesserknown attractions such as the Florence Nightingale Museum and the Churchill War Rooms. Key information about each attraction-such as locations, hours, and prices-is included, allowing families to plan itineraries with confidence.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreat escapes : Mediterranean / compiled and edited by Angelika Taschen ; texts by Christiane Reiter.
“…Flanked by three continents and offering coastline to 21 countries, the Mediterranean is a mythical place, blessed with its fine climate, luxuriant fauna and flora, and the intense blues of its sea. In this revised edition, Angelika Taschen catalogs the best of this legendary region, scouring the most beautiful gardens, the most enchanting beaches, the little-known islands, the finest architecture, and the most gorgeous rooms, with the most breathtaking, and soul-soothing views. From the glamorous Eden-Roc on the Côte d’Azur to the tiny hotel on the small Croatian island of Lopud, this is the ultimate reference for any discerning traveller of the Med. Text in English, French, and German” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Umbrian Thursday night supper club / Marlena de Blasi.
“Every week on a Thursday evening, a group of four Italian rural women gather in a derelict stone house in the hills above Italy’s Orvieto. There—along with their friend, Marlena—they cook together, sit down to a beautiful supper, drink their beloved local wines, and talk. Here, surrounded by candle light, good food and friendship, Miranda, Ninucia, Paolina, and Gilda tell their life stories of loves lost and found, of ageing and abandonment, of mafia grudges and family feuds, and of cherished ingredients and recipes whose secrets have been passed down through the generations. Around this table, these five friends share their food and all that life has offered them—the good and the bad.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverPostcards from the Middle East / Chris Naylor.
“An easy, engaging, and often funny introduction to Arab culture–its richness, humanity, and challenges–through the experiences of an English family. The Middle East features regularly on our television screens, in ways that often lead to a simplistic and stereotyped view of the land and the people that live there. Having moved to the Middle East, Chris Naylor and his wife set up a pioneering branch of the environmental agency A Rocha in Lebanon. Over the years they found their prejudices and assumptions utterly overthrown. Their story is an insightful and informed introduction to Arab culture through the experience of an English family. Engaging and often funny, it explores themes of cross-cultural communication and environmental vision.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaturnalia : traveling from Cape Town to Kampala in search of an African utopia / Justin Chapman.
“In the Spring of 2012, reporter and travel junkie Justin Chapman threw his cares to the wind and, by himself, set off on an epic journey across eight countries in Africa — from Cape Town, South Africa, to Mityana, Uganda — by bus, train, and boat. Along the way, he narrowly escaped being locked away in a mental institution, visited an impoverished township that is changing its future with the help of an art-based nonprofit, got into a life-threatening car crash, dropped acid on the mystical island of Zanzibar, lived with a group of Catholic priests, witnessed a witchcraft healing ceremony, discovered a pygmy opium den, and chased down riveting stories with a local journalist…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe story of the Jews : finding the words : 1000 BCE – 1492 CE / Simon Schama.
“A history of the Jews is possibly the greatest story that can be told. It is the story of mankind – at its most noble and at its most barbaric. From the invention of a single deity and the killing of his embodied Son through to the production of urban modernity, so much of supreme importance for humanity bears the imprint of Jewish thinking and culture.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalking the Nile / Levison Wood.
“His journey is 4,250 miles long. He is walking every step of the way, camping in the wild, foraging for food, fending for himself against multiple dangers. He is passing through rainforest, savannah, swamp, desert and lush delta oasis. He will cross seven, very different countries. No one has ever made this journey on foot. In this detailed, thoughtful, inspiring and dramatic book, recounting Levison Wood’s walk the length of the Nile, he will come face to face with the great story of a modern Africa emerging out of the past. Exploration and Africa are two of his great passions – they drive him on and motivate his inquisitiveness and resolution not to fail, yet the challenges of the terrain, the climate, the animals, the people and his own psychological resolution will throw at him are immense. The dangers are very real, but so is the motivation for this ex-army officer.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Much ado about Melbourne : from maps to movies — the creativity that makes a city / Jenny Sinclair.
“What shapes the character of Melbourne, and from where does it get its x-factor? Jenny Sinclair goes in search of the answers and discovers that it’s all in our head – or at least our collective imagination. Much Ado About Melbourne is a whimsical and absorbing survey of the city’s creativity, from Hoddle’s Grid to the cultural achievements that help put us on the world map. Celebrating the tales, spirit and sensibilities that make this metropolis, it charts the evolution of Melbourne through its music, art, literature, film, stories, transport, maps and people.”

Going to Gallipoli

Photo of Adrienne 1Hi everyone! My name is Adrienne and I’m the Children’s and Young Adult Services Coordinator for Wellington City Libraries. This month I have headed to Turkey to attend the 2015 ANZAC Commemorations at Gallipoli. I was fortunate to receive a double pass to the event as part of the Government-run ballot system.

Not only am I a librarian, I also serve as a Medic in the New Zealand Army Reserve and have a history of military service amongst my family, so the event will have special meaning for me.

To plan for my trip to Turkey, and the events on ANZAC Day, I’ve taken advantage of the various services the library has to offer. Here’s what I did…

My first step was to do a little bit of research into my family history. Ancestry Library (access from library computers only) was my first stop as it gives me access to records of family members – births, deaths, marriages, immigration, military service, employment and more. I typed in known family members’ names and had a look at the information and connections returned from the search. While I found no family members that served at Gallipoli, I did come across a number of previously unknown ancestors that fought in World War One, some of which returned home and others that didn’t. It was incredible to find out about my grandfather’s cousins who fought at the Somme.

Next I searched the catalogue to locate books about the Gallipoli battles. There’s an incredible array of materials available – from histories and analyses, personal accounts, battlefield guides, and on the aftermath and impact on New Zealand. One fascinating book detailed New Zealand nurses’ experiences in World War One, titled Anzac girls : the extraordinary story of our World War I nurses (also in eBook). There are also books that portray the Turkish perspective of the battle and it occurred to me that it seems incredible that they let us arrive in our droves each year to celebrate the day we invaded their country. It just goes to show the mutual respect the countries involved have for each other. You can find these books in the 940s section in the Central Library.

I’m intending to tour around Turkey for a couple of weeks after ANZAC Day, so off to the section of travel guides I went. I found guides for Turkey as a whole, but also separately for Istanbul. These have been extremely helpful in planning my trip and making bookings. Travel guides are expensive to purchase, so it was great to use the library ones for planning and to see which guides I liked the best before buying one to take with me.

I also browsed through some language guides (which can be found in the 400s), so I could attempt to wrap my tongue around the Turkish language. I used the Mango Languages app to help with this too (available free to Wellington City Libraries’ members).
Lastly, I had 24hrs of flying to get there, and will have another 24hrs to get back, and many hours sitting on buses in between. There’s only so many movies that can sustain me; eventually I’m going to need to have something to read. I’m planning on travelling light, so eBooks, eMagazines, and eAudiobooks are ideal and Wellington City Libraries has all of these available for free download. There’s so much variety that the most difficult task so far has been choosing which titles to choose. I’ve downloaded a number of eBooks and eAudiobooks from Bolinda and Overdrive, and downloaded some magazines from Zinio.

I’ll be posting some photos, videos, and reports from ANZAC Day at Gallipoli here and on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

New Travel books for April

There are books of many different travel experiences this month, and with the 25th April coming up, our first choice is a study and guide to visiting Gallipoli.
There are two books which include visiting atolls, which mentions the possibility that one of these atolls may soon be flooded, one about the High Line in New York City, one about the peoples of Israel and Palestine, and many more!

Syndetics book coverGallipoli – 100 years : a comprehensive study and guide to visiting / Michael John Mathews.
“The comprehensive ‘one-stop shop’ to Gallipoli covering all aspects of the campaign and a guide to getting around. Low level aerial colour photographs, detailed colour maps and diagrams. Profile of military leaders, events leading to, submarines, aircraft, conditions, casualties, the three battlefield theatres and engagements in detail-Anzac, Helles, Suvla. Time line, VCs, six walks or challenges, measured guide covering all points of interest, how to get there, where to stay, being there.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOn the high line : exploring America’s most original urban park / by Annik La Farge ; preface, additional text, and photographs, Rick Darke ; principal photography, Scott Mlyn, Juan Valentin ; art direction and design, Lorraine Ferguson.
“…When the High Line opened in 2009 it was expected to attract around 300,000 visitors a year. In 2013, more than four million came. A survey by Travel & Leisure ranked it #10 on a list of the world’s most popular landmarks. On the High Line, first published in 2012, is an engaging guide to everything a visitor sees when strolling through the park: the innovative gardens and their thousands of native and exotic plant species; the architecture, both old and new, industrial and residential; and a neighborhood whose colorful history includes the birth of the railroad, the Manhattan Project, S&M clubs, and the legendary Tenth Avenue Cowboy.” (adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBetween river and sea : encounters in Israel and Palestine / Dervla Murphy.
“…Dervla Murphy describes with passionate honesty the experience of living with and among Jewish Israelis and Palestinians in both Israel and Palestine. In cramped Haifa high-rises, in homes in the settlements and in a refugee camp on the West Bank, she talks with whomever she meets… Meeting the wise, the foolish and the frankly deluded, she gradually knits together a picture of the patchwork that constitutes both sides of the divide – Hamas and Fatah, rural and urban, refugee, indigenous inhabitant, Russian, Black Hebrew and Kabbalist to name but a fraction…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover#Followmeto : a journey around the world through the eyes of two ordinary travelers / Murad Osmann & Natalia Zakharova.
“The Follow Me project was created in 2012 based on the concept of showing the beauty and uniqueness of different locations around the world. It is a story told through the eyes of two ordinary travelers who attempt to portray local lifestyles and narratives by means of photography. Since the project’s launch on Instagram, it has become a worldwide Internet sensation, emerging as a leading news feature and gathering millions of views on social media and the news sites that covered it. In each stunning image, photographer Murad Osmann is led to a new location by his girlfriend, Nataly Zakharova.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMons : European capital of culture / Antony Mason.
“It’s no surprise that Mons was selected as a Europeoan Capital of Culture for 2015. The small, historic city, home to four UNESCO-listed treasures and within a short drive of four others, is the perfect short-stay destination. Wander through the streets of the old town, take a break in the Parc du Waux-Hall, and enjoy the new museums and art galleries being developed to celebrate Mons as European Capital of Culture” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverWeeds in the garden of eden / Barbara Unkovic.
“In 2005, author Barbara Unkovi visited Croatia where members of her family had been living for the last seven generations. On the island of Kor ula, the original home of her father’s family, she discovered her soul and began a new life in a peaceful, unspoiled paradise on the edge of the Adriatic Sea. Weeds in the Garden of Eden is a rich, absorbing account of her purchase of a 200 year old, uninhabited stone house in the timeless village of Ra i e; seasonal life amongst the lush vineyards and olive groves and her encounters with the tainted Croatian bureaucratic system… However, things are not always as romantic as they seem in the small traditional Croatian fishing village. Interfamilial feuds, superstition and long memories all create currents of unrest in this apparent paradise.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGatecrashing paradise : misadventures in the real Maldives / Tom Chesshyre.
“To many the Maldives not only symbolises “paradise”, but is paradise. It’s the dream destination: turquoise waters, white sands, palm trees, cocktails. Eyeing the drizzle through his office window one lunchtime, Tom Chesshyre impulsively bought a plane ticket. He had no hotel bookings, a long break from work, and a sense of “what the hell”. What better place to escape to than paradise? …he wanted to see the real Maldives… Until recently outsiders were banned from islands not officially endorsed as “tourist resorts”. But now 1,000 sandy shores had opened up in the Indian Ocean. Tom travels in a giant circle 600 miles around the many islands and atolls of the remote nation – the flattest on Earth – taking him to communities that haven’t seen an outsider for decades…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBritain from the rails : a window gazer’s guide / Benedict le Vay.
“A quirky and fascinating guide to Britain’s railways, Bradt’s Britain from the Rails is perfect not only as an entertaining armchair read but as a handy guidebook to help readers explore the country at a slower, more personal pace. This expanded and updated second edition has an attractive fresh design, clear maps and a new section on ‘Britain’s Secret Railways’. Full of fascinating titbits, weird accidents and odd characters, it is a thorough and humorous collection perfect for commuters and local history fans alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAround the world in 50 years : my adventure to every country on earth / Albert Podell.
“Podell first set his mind on traveling the world in 1964, when he quit his job at Argosy magazine and gave up his life as a bachelor in NYC… Invigorated by all the sights, experiences, and drama, Podell set his sights higher: to visit every country in the world before he dies. In this lively travelogue, Podell proves himself a worthy raconteur as he recounts his adventures… and visits the Pacific island of Tuvalu, a major arsenal during WWII that is all but abandoned and “will be the first country to disappear under the waves of the rising ocean.” Rounded out with the author’s frank advice for fellow travellers… as well as his solemn observations that climate change is very real and that “if the work ethic I observed in the Western world continues to weaken… we are history.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNepal trekking and the Great Himalaya Trail : a route & planning guide / Robin Boustead.
“With extensive sections to help choose a trekking region, this is a route and planning guide for anyone organising a trekking holiday in Nepal. It includes the most popular routes as well as the newest trekking areas plus the most extreme route of all, the 160-day Great Himalaya Trail. There are route guides to the following regions: Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Rolwaling, Solu-Khumbu (Everest Region), Helambu & Langtang, Ganesh & Manaslu, Annapurna, Naar & Phu, Mustang, Dolpo, The Far West.” (Syndetics summary)

New Travel books in March

New travel books in March include a journey across the legendary Northwest Passage, a family who volunteered in Costa Rica, Thailand and India, and 20 things to do in Dublin… before you hit the Pubs!

cover imageTroubled pilgrimage : passage to Pakistan / Balwant Bhaneja.
Troubled Pilgrimage: A Passage to Pakistan is about a journey by the author, a retired Canadian diplomat, who is visiting his ancestral land of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan, the first visit since he was five. Bhaneja’s Hindu family had to leave their homeland following the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in August 1947. …After revelations about his past, his nation and his people he returns to Delhi for an audience with the “Refugee” Prime Minister I.K. Gujral. The trans-cultural narrative deals with the universal theme of displacement and how it impacts mind and psyche of those involved. It is a thoughtful work about how our multiple identities shape and get played out in a globalized world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTravels in Zanskar : a journey to a closed kingdom / Mark Boyden ; forward by Dervla Murphy.
“An exploration of the two western-most provinces in Tibet, Ladakh and Zanskar, which records the old traditions of these places before they were inexorably eroded by modernity.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWide-open world : how volunteering around the globe changed one family’s lives forever / John Marshall.
Wide-Open World is the inspiring true story of the six months that changed the Marshall family forever. Once they’d made the pivotal decision to go, John and his wife, Traca, quit their jobs, pulled their kids out of school, and embarked on a journey that would take them far off the beaten path, and far out of their comfort zones. Here is the totally engaging, bluntly honest chronicle of the Marshalls’ life-altering adventure from Central America to East Asia. It was no fairy tale. The trip offered little rest, even less relaxation, and virtually no certainty of what was to come. But it did give the Marshalls something far more valuable: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conquer personal fears, strengthen family bonds, and find their true selves by helping those in need.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe best women’s travel writing. Volume 10 : true stories from around the world / edited by Lavinia Spalding.
“…thirty celebrated and emerging writers invite you to ride shotgun as they travel the globe to discover new places, people, and facets of themselves. The essays are as diverse as the destinations, the common thread being fresh, compelling storytelling that will make you laugh, weep, wish you were there, or thank your lucky stars you weren’t. The Best Women’s Travel Writing speaks to the reasons why we travel-and how travel changes our lives.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe long hitch home / Jamie Maslin.
“Tasmania to London. One end of the globe to the other. 800 hitchhiking rides. 18 thousand miles. Four seasons. Three continents. 19 countries. How many rides does it take to hitch from Tasmania to London? Rogue wanderer Jamie Maslin decides to find out, propelling him into a high stakes adventure of a lifetime that sees him tackle searing desert, freezing mountains, tropical jungle and barren steppes on little more than a thumb and a prayer.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBoundless : tracing land and dream in a new Northwest Passage / Kathleen Winter.
“In 2010, bestselling author Kathleen Winter took a journey across the legendary Northwest Passage – connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans – alongside marine scientists, historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and curious passengers. From Greenland to Baffin Island and all along this arctic passage, Winter witnesses the new mathematics of the melting North – where polar bears mate with grizzlies, creating a new hybrid species; where the earth is on the cusp of yielding so much buried treasure that five nations stand poised to claim sovereignty of the land; and where the local Inuit population struggles to navigate the tension between taking their part in the new global economy and defending their traditional way of life…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover20 things to do in Dublin before you go for a feckin’ pint / Colin Murphy, Donal O’Dea.
“Got some time on your hands before you hit Dublin’s famous pubs? Then you need this book, an invaluable guide to twenty of Dublin’s highlights for visitors and native alike. History, culture, strangeness and beauty are all here — along with a list of the local hostelries to visit and let the experience soak in. Sprinkled with the wit of Murphy and O’Dea, best known for the Feckin’ Collection. Key attractions include: Christ Church Cathedral; Dublin Castle; The Chester Beatty Library; The Guinness Storehouse; Trinity College; Temple Bar Royal Hospital, Kilmainham; IMMA; Old Jameson Distillery; O’Connell Street & The GPO And many more!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGoing gypsy : one couple’s adventure from empty nest to no nest at all / David and Veronica James.
“Almost every couple faces a “now what?” moment as their last kid moves out of the house. There’s a big empty nest looming over this new and uncertain stage in their lives. David and Veronica James chose to look at this next phase of life as a beginning instead of an ending. Rather than staying put and facing the constant reminders of empty bedrooms and backseats, a plan began to develop to sell the nest and hit the highway. But could a homebody helicopter mom learn to let go of her heartstrings and house keys all at once? Filled with a sense of adventure and humor, Going Gypsy is the story of a life after raising kids that is a celebration of new experiences. …Most importantly, they rediscover in themselves the fun-loving youngsters who fell in love three decades prior.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to travel the world on $50 a day : travel cheaper, longer, smarter / Matt Kepnes.
“…No money? No problem. You can start packing your bags for that trip you’ve been dreaming a lifetime about. For more than half a decade, Matt Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt) has been showing readers of his enormously popular travel blog that traveling isn’t expensive and that it’s affordable to all. He proves that as long as you think out of the box and travel like locals, your trip doesn’t have to break your bank, nor do you need to give up luxury. …Offering a blend of advice ranging from travel hacking to smart banking, you’ll learn how to: * Avoid paying bank fees anywhere in the world * Earn thousands of free frequent flyer points * Find discount travel cards that can save on hostels, tours, and transportation * Get cheap (or free) plane tickets. Whether it’s a two-week, two-month, or two-year trip, Nomadic Matt shows you how to stretch your money further so you can travel cheaper, smarter, and longer.” (Syndetics summary)

Travel books for January

As well as other delightful (the Kindness Diaries) and interesting (Inside Tracks) Travel books and guides, this month’s selection celebrates travel to the great Southern Continent Antarctica.

Syndetics book coverSpirit of the South / Andris Apse.
“…The South Island of New Zealand is unlike any other place on earth, celebrated for its majestic landscapes, picturesque lakes and rivers, and epic mountain ranges. Spirit of the South, a stunning tribute to the mainland, showcases its visual grandeur like never before – all through the extraordinary scenic photography of Andris Apse. Arguably New Zealand’s most acclaimed landscape photographer, Apse has honed his craft over an illustrious career spanning more than three decades… Complemented by essays from Alison Ballance, Anton Oliver, Fiona Farrell and Kennedy Warne, Spirit of the South’s photography is drawn from a wide body of Apse’s work.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInside Tracks / created by Rick Smolan.
Inside Tracks is the retelling of Robyn Davidson’s journey from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, seen through the eyes of world renowned photographer, Rick Smolan, and now reimagined in the major motion picture, “Tracks”. In the late 1970s Robyn Davidson undertook an epic adventure – to travel solo across the Australian outback from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, armed only with a few camels and her dog for company. Rick Smolan, a National Geographic photographer at the time, was employed to document Robyn’s journey, by accompanying her along sections of her route, the result of which formed a long-lasting relationship between the two and a visually stunning account of one woman’s dream of solitude, captured against the backdrop of the Australian outback… ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe kindness diaries : one man’s quest to ignite goodwill and transform lives around the world / Leon Logothetis.
“Follow the inspirational journey of a former stockbroker who leaves his unfulfilling desk job in search of a meaningful life. He sets out from Los Angeles on a vintage motorbike, determined to circumnavigate the globe surviving only on the kindness of strangers. Incredibly, he makes his way across the U.S., through Europe, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and finally to Canada and back to the Hollywood sign, by asking strangers for shelter, food, and gas. Again and again, he’s won over by the generosity of humanity, and at each stop, he finds a way to give back to these unsuspecting Good Samaritans in life-changing ways.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlone in Antarctica : the first woman to ski solo across the southern ice / Felicity Aston ; with a foreword by Joanna Lumley.
“…Felicity Aston, physicist and meteorologist, took two months off from all human contact as she became the first woman — and only the third person in history – to ski across the entire continent of Antarctica alone. …Aston’s journey across the ice at the bottom of the world asked of her the extremes in terms of mental and physical bravery, as she faced the risks of unseen cracks buried in the snow so large they might engulf her and hypothermia due to brutalizing weather. She had to deal, too, with her emotional vulnerability in face of the constant bombardment of hallucinations brought on by the vast sea of whiteness, the lack of stimulation to her senses as she faced what is tantamount to a form of solitary confinement…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlaws in the ice : in search of Douglas Mawson / David Day.
“In Flaws in the Ice, prize-winning historian David Day searches for the real Douglas Mawson. After travelling south on his own six-week odyssey to the Antarctic, the author answers the difficult questions about Mawson that have hitherto lain buried – from questions about his intimate relationship with Lady Scott, and his leadership of the ill-fated Australiasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14, to his conduct during the legendary trek that led to the death of his two companions. He also explores how Mawson subsequently concealed his failures and deficiencies as an expedition leader, and created for himself a heroic image that has persisted for a century… ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFifty South : the wreck of the Dundonald / by Margaret Beames.
“It is 1907. A ship is wrecked on a lonely island in the sub-Antarctic Ocean. Fifty South is an inspiring story of courage, and endurance. Fifteen men, given up for lost, struggle to survive through a bitter winter.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRick Steves’ Italy 2015.
“You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling in Italy. From the beaches to the Alps, from fine art to fine pasta, Italy has it all. With this book, you’ll trace Italian culture from Rome’s Colosseum to Michelangelo’s David to the bustling elegance of Milan. Experience the art-drenched cities of Venice and Florence, explore the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum, and learn how to avoid the lines at the most popular museums. Discover the villages of Tuscany and Umbria and the lazy rhythms of the Cinque Terre. Shop at local market stalls, sip a cappuccino at an outdoor café, and pick up a picnic lunch at an allimentari. Relax and enjoy the life of Bella Italia!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe irresponsible traveller : tales of scrapes and narrow escapes / compiled and edited by Jennifer Barclay and Adrian Phillips.
“Publishing to coincide with Bradt’s 40th anniversary, The Irresponsible Traveller is a light but edgy collection of travellers’ tales. Travel writers and celebrities alike recount their exciting, and often dangerous, adventures which include being chased by a sea lion, accosted by Brazilian kidnappers and a midnight raid to free turtles on the Amazon. Over 40 years Bradt has built a reputation for publishing books covering the road less travelled, and this collection celebrates exactly the sort of writing and storytelling about ‘unusual’ travel experiences that has helped to establish the company as a firm favourite amongst adventurous travellers. Featuring contributions from Hilary Bradt, Michael Palin, Ben Fogle and Jonathan Scott, the title is a perfect tome to dip in and out of.” (Syndetics summary)

New Travel books for December

Feel like travelling in the summer holidays? Here are some places and ideas for you to peruse!

Syndetics book coverPlaces to go, people to see / Kate Spade New York.
Places to go, people to see” focuses on the how, where and why of travel through the lens of the always-inspired Kate Spade New York girl. this new volume features vibrant photography, old-world glamour, a dash of charm and inspirational quotes, tips and words of wisdom that every Kate Spade New York girl should know. …showcases chic destinations such as paris, new york city, the amalfi coast, marrakech, tokyo, and st moritz, along with ways to incorporate those things seen, heard and experienced into life back home.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn innocent abroad : life-changing trips from 35 great writers / edited by Don George.
“The title is, of course, a play upon the Mark Twain classic… Sloane Crosley, a first-time visitor to Australia, learns that discretion outranks valor when she decides not to jump off a cliff into the ocean in winter. Tim Cahill describes his sense of awe and wonder when, as a young college student on spring break, he witnessed a sunrise over a high-desert mountain range in Utah. The great Jan Morris was a 20-year-old lieutenant when enchanted with the celestial beauty of Venice. Lloyd Jones learned a life lesson when he tried, unsuccessfully, to con a stranger by creating a false identity while in a Zurich bar…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMountain to mountain : a journey of adventure and activism for the women of Afghanistan / Shannon Galpin.
“Focusing on the war-torn country of Afghanistan, Galpin and her organization, Mountain2Mountain, have touched the lives of hundreds of men, women and children. In addition to launching the non-profit, in 2009 Galpin became the first woman to ride a mountain bike in Afghanistan. Now she’s using that initial bike ride to gain awareness around the country, encouraging people to use their bikes “as a vehicle for social change and justice to support a country where women don’t have the right to ride a bike.” Galpin describes her first forays into fundraising, her deep desire to help women and girls halfway across the world, her love for adventure and sports, and her own inspiration to be so much more than just another rape victim.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRoof explorer’s guide : 101 New York City rooftops / by Leslie Adatto ; photographs, Heather Shimmin and Ari Burling.
Roof explorer’s guide : 101 New York City rooftops by Leslie Adatto is the first and ultimate guide to an urban treasure trove of rooftop gems. This complete guide showcases a dazzling array of surprising rooftop escapes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, from hotel rooftop bars and restaurants to elevated parks to museums, theaters, green roofs and elevated farms. (It) even features rooftop classes, entertainment and sports…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe White Nile diaries / John Hopkins.
“…It all began at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, New York, in 1961. Two Princeton graduates, John Hopkins and Joe McPhillips, have returned from Peru, where they dreamed of buying a coffee plantation in the jungle. Hatching a plan to ride a motorbike across North Africa, they buy a sleek, white R50 BMW and paint her name–‘The White Nile’–on the fuel tank, in honor of the route they plan to follow. In clear, elegant prose, Hopkins describes deadly salt deserts and fig-laden oases, disappeared travelers and the funerals of young Tunisians killed in the battle for independence. …They encounter armed vigilantes in the Tunisian desert and outrun Libyan border patrols, barely escaping with their lives. They climb the pyramids of Giza at dawn and ride the ‘Desert Express’ across the wastelands of the Nubian Desert, but their final adventure, at Sam Small’s Impala Ranch, is perhaps the most surreal of all.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMr Snack and the lady water : travel tales from my lost years / Brendan Shanahan.
“After a decade spent on the road, renowned travel writer Brendan Shanahan is back with Mr Snack and the Lady Water, a collection of darkly funny and unexpected travel writing. In the title piece, Shanahan embarks on what is supposed to be a luxury cruise down the Yangtze River, only to find himself on a three-day endurance test aboard a leaking barge in the company of a mysterious roommate, a pair of neurotic American spinsters and a thousand baseball-capped tourists. Other stories include his sight-unseen, online purchase of a house in Las Vegas, his brief career in Bollywood and a mediation on white guilt in post-apartheid South Africa.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLonely Planet’s best ever travel tips : get the best travel secrets & advice from the experts / by Tom Hall.
“This illustrated and fully updated edition of Lonely Planet’s pocket-sized bestseller contains our best-ever tips, tricks and trade secrets for stress-free travelling, all brought to life and made easy to understand with stylish, witty illustrations. Find out where the best seats are on a plane, how to avoid bug bites and which essential gadgets you should never leave home without. Featuring contributions from a range of travel writers, industry experts and staff, this book contains the ultimate insider secrets for travellers and ensures you stay safe and happy on the road.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover50 water adventures to do before you die / Lia Ditton.
“From paddle-boarding the Mississippi to big game fishing off Mexico, from floating in the Dead Sea to swimming with jellyfish in Palau, from iceboating in Russia to sailing non-stop round the world, this book promises to inspire dreamers to become doers. Featuring experiences in every corner of the globe and accompanied by stunning photography and bite-sized practical information, this book accommodates every mood, budget, timespan and level of challenge. Diverse and utterly captivating, this book is guaranteed to enthral thrill-seekers, water lovers and armchair readers alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThailand / contributors, Philip Cornwel-Smith… [and others].
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Thailand will lead you straight to the best attractions the country has to offer, whether you’re traveling to major destinations such as Bangkok and Phuket or want to experience diving in Ko Tao, elephant riding in Chang Mai, or the monuments in Wat Si Chum. (This book) explores the culture, history, and architecture of this country, accompanied by full-color photographs, 3-D cutaway illustrations, and floor plans of all the must-see sights. …detailed maps, as well as listings of hotels, restaurants, shops, entertainment, tours, scenic walks and more. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that brighten every page…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Here’s a suggestion for those contemplating a trip to Thailand:

Syndetics book coverGet talking Thai in ten days [sound recording] : audio course / David Smyth.
“When travelling, do you want to journey off the English-speaking path? Meet people and communicate easily? Avoid misunderstandings and have fun? …Then you need to Get Talking! Through 10 common scenarios plus culture and travel advice, this beginner level audio course will give you the skills for understanding and the confidence to speak – in just 10 days. Through our interactive Discovery Method, you’ll: Practise the most frequent words and expressions for: greeting people, checking into a hotel, asking for directions, ordering food and more… ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New travel books in November

The story of the youngest sailor to ever circumnavigate the globe is the first in our travel books this month, an amazing story. Then, we’re off to… London, New York, Cambodia, New Zealand’s State Highway 1, Tokyo, Tuscany, and finally Marrakesh. Happy reading!

Syndetics book coverOne girl, one dream / Laura Dekker.
“The amazing autobiographical account of the youngest ever solo circumnavigation of the Earth. Aged just 14, New Zealand-born Laura Dekker defied the authorities and braved the open oceans to realise her dream of becoming the youngest ever sailor to circumnavigate the Earth. When she finished the journey she was still only 16, the youngest ever person to achieve this feat. Her extraordinary story is both a real-life adventure for all ages, and an inspirational account of how a free spirit and will to succeed can accomplish anything”–Publisher information.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGwennie’s diary : a Kiwi’s world tour to Yorkshire 1939-40 / Gwynne Irene Peacock ; edited by Anthony Dodsworth.
“A captivating account of a young New Zealander’s journey around the world to England in the shadow of the Second World War” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rough guide to Cambodia / updated by Emma Boyle and Gavin Thomas.
“The new-look Rough Guide to Cambodia – now in full colour throughout – is the ultimate travel guide to one of the world’s most exciting destinations emerging in 2014.nbsp;nbsp;Discover Cambodia’s highlights with stunning photography, colour-coded maps and more listings and information than ever before. You’ll find detailed practical advice on what to see and do – from street food and nightlife in vibrant Phnom Penh through to the iconic ancient temples of Angkor – as well as up-to-date descriptions of the best hotels, bars, shops and restaurants for all budgets.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hunt : London / David Leppan.
“London is huge, but come with us, and you’ll have a jolly good time! Discover milliners and shoemakers who’ll feather your cap and put a spring in your step, vintage boutiques galore and interior design shops. Hungry? There are also organic cafés, old pubs, fine-dining restaurants and everything in between. Delightful museums and art galleries, plus verdant parks aplenty too. Off you go, cheerio! This beautiful little guide fits snugly in the back pocket of your jeans, or neatly in your favorite clutch, and is packed with the inside scoop on old-school favorites, eccentric gems and hip newcomers to lively London.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverView from the road / photography by Arno Gasteiger ; text by Kennedy Warne.
“At 2047 kilometres long and stretching from the southernmost tip of the South Island to Cape Reinga, State Highway 1 links this country’s five main cities, and countless towns and blink-of-an-eye settlements in between. It’s also the perfect route from which to explore this country’s geographical diversity, traversing expansive plains and a so-called desert, meandering around rugged coastlines, crossing rivers and harbours, and skirting the country’s largest lake. In View from the Road, photographer Arno Gasteiger travels from Bluff to the Far North capturing the people, places and landmarks to be discovered along New Zealand’s most important highway, while Kennedy Warne reflects on the organic evolution and quirks of this often travelled, but perhaps little known, stretch of road.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew York / edited and produced by viction:ary ; concepts & art direction by Victor Cheung.
“Local artists and creatives offer an inside look at New York City from its famous sights and restaurants, to lesser-known and up-and-coming spots. Their recommendations include going for a ride on Janes Carousel, viewing the art and shopping at Tara McPherson and Sean Leonards Cotton Candy Machine, shopping for vinyl at Bleeker Street Records, stopping by Ovenly for their salted chocolate chip cookies, and dining on oysters and absinthe at Maison Premiere.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverClueless in Tokyo : an explorer’s sketchbook of weird and wonderful things in Japan / by Betty Reynolds.
“A perfect introduction to Japan and Japanese culture, this edition contains many new illustrations as well as the Japanese script for key words and phrases. …Clueless in Tokyo provides an outsider’s take on everyday life in Japan’s capital city – a place where vending machines talk, toilets can be terrifying, and centuries-old festivals unfold against a backdrop of space-age architecture. During the seven years Reynolds lived in Japan, she filled thirty sketchbooks with everything that caught her eye. Whether it’s fashion, food, sport, transport, seasonal rituals, or Japanese pastimes, each vibrant sketch is a delight, and Reynolds’ witty hand-lettered captions in both Japanese and English provide an entertaining resource for beginning learners of Japanese.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHidden Tuscany : discovering art, culture, and memories in a well-known region’s unknown places / John Keahey.
“In Hidden Tuscany, acclaimed author John Keahey takes the reader into a part of Tuscany beyond the usual tourist destinations of Chianti, Florence, and Siena. The often overlooked western portion of Tuscany is rich with history, cuisine, and scenery begging to be explored, and Keahey encourages travelers to abandon itineraries and let the grooves in the road and the curves of the coast guide your journey instead.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOnly in New York / Lily Brett.
“Lily Brett’s love affair with New York began as an outsider in her late teens when she was posted on assignment there as a young Australian rock journalist. In her early forties she returned, together with her soul mate and three children, to start a new life, and for the last twenty-five years she has called New York home.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMarrakech express : (on and off the rails in the Sultans’ Kingdom) / Peter Millar.
“Back in 1969 when Morocco’s ancient capital was a hashish-clouded hippie mecca, Crosby Stills and Nash recorded their cheesy (and hopelessly inaccurate) foot-tapping anthem ‘Marrakesh Express”. A generation on, award-winning journalist, author and one-time glam-rock fan Peter Millar uses what is now the country’s best visited tourist destination as the embarkation point for a literally reverse-engineered train journey through this still exotic, diverse and challenging North African country, struggling to maintain its unique blend of tradition and tolerance in the turbulent winds of the Arab Spring.” (Book jacket)

New travel books for October

This collection of travel books begins with Harry Bucknall’s account of walking the Via Francigena. From there we go to Shane and Tim Spall’s journey around Britain in a barge, Oli Broom’s cycling trip from London to Brisbane for the Ashes… and end up with a book of great maps. Something for everyone this month!

Syndetics book coverLike a tramp, like a pilgrim : on foot, across Europe to Rome / Harry Bucknall.
“…Harry Bucknall’s book concerns a long journey on foot from St Paul’s to St Peter’s in Rome (1,300 miles). … this route, known as the Via Francigena, has been celebrated for centuries. In the tradition of Hilaire Belloc’s “The Path to Rome,” Bucknall’s writing resembles that of Christopher Howse – it is witty, erudite, spiritual and packed with incident. Unlike Belloc, who was portly and bibulous, Bucknall is young, athletic, ascetic and a former officer in the Coldstream Guards (having served in Bosnia). His journey takes him through Southwark, Canterbury, Calais, Agincourt, Reims, Lake Geneva, Valle d’Aosta, Lucca, La Foce, and the Via Cassia to Rome and the Vatican.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Princess Matilda comes home : the adventure of a lifetime around Britain on a barge / Shane Spall.
“Shane and Tim Spall are on the second leg of a very big adventure, taking their Dutch barge The Princess Matilda around the coast of Britain. From Matilda’s winter berth in Cardiff, Shane and Tim follow the Welsh coast, before ambitiously deciding to visit the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. Along the way they cross Cardigan Bay in the company of a pod of dolphins, meet the king and queen of Piel Island, get lost in shipping lanes near Liverpool, successfully cross the notorious Irish Sea (twice!), accidentally sail through an army firing range, and experience the matchless beauty of Scotland’s Caledonian canal. Emerging into the North Sea at Inverness, they set a course down the east coast for London, back where their journey began…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCycling to the Ashes : a cricketing odyssey from London to Brisbane / Oli Broom.
“Oli Broom loves cricket. So much that he left his 9-to-5 in London and set off to cycle to Brisbane for the Ashes. Along the way he played cricket in the shadow of the Blue Mosque, slept in a goat pen in Sudan, dodged a five-metre crocodile in the outback, battled sub-zero temperatures in Bulgaria and successfully negotiated the treacherous highways of India.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverThe hunt : Singapore / [editors, Bernie Baskin, Jalean Wong].
“The HUNT Singapore takes you off the beaten tourist trail and introduces you to 85 of the most unique locally-owned eating, shopping and lifestyle experiences in this tiny island nation. We’ve burned through three pairs of shoes walking every nook of the lion city and have discovered everything from fabulous hawker crab shacks, local haute couture designers, and amazing bridges to ancient carpet sellers, bespoke men’s tailors and where to grab custom cocktails when the night descends. …Handpicked recommendations include a mix of heritage finds and old school favourites, offbeat gems and hip newcomers – the best each city has to offer whether you’re a visitor, new arrival or curious local.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA journey into Russia / Jens Mühling ; translated from the German by Eugene H. Hayworth.
“Ten years ago journalist Jens Mühling met Juri, a Russian television producer whose job it was to sell stories to TV stations in Germany but who always maintained that ‘The true stories are more unbelievable than anything I could invent.’ Ever since, Jens Mühling has been travelling through Russia in search of stories that appear too unbelievable to be true: a hermit from the Taiga who only recently found out that there was a world beyond the woods; a mathematician who sincerely believes a thousand years of Russian history to be a fairy tale; a priest who ventures into the exclusion zone around Chernobyl to preach to those that stubbornly remain there. Jens Mühling shows us a country whose customs, contradictions, absurdities and attractions are still largely unknown beyond its borders.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSoutheast Asia on a shoestring / written and researched by China Williams [and 9 others].
Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to skip, what hidden discoveries await you, and how to optimise your budget for an extended continental trip. Experience the magic of the temples of Angkor at dawn, experience Asia’s colonial past in the steamy port island of Penang, or hang ten on classic Bali surf breaks; all with your trusted travel companion.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOn the road … with kids / John Ahern.
“It’s a life-changing trip. Take it! John Ahern had a high-flying job, big house, loving wife and two great kids. But if this was success why did he sense he was failing as a husband and father? So John does something insane. He quits the corporate world and buys a busted-up campervan online to chase an improbable dream: a year travelling together as a family… on the road with kids. From the North Pole to Africa’s highest peaks, John and his family get mugged by monkeys, charmed by snake handlers, and challenged by life without phone and email. Along the way John creates a life less ordinary and evolves into a connected partner and Dad. on the road with kids is a funny, messy and inspiring adventure all families will love.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLast man off : a true story of disaster and survival on the Antarctic seas / Matt Lewis.
“In the depths of winter, hundreds of miles from land or rescue, a fishing boat fights for its life in swells as high as houses. For Matt Lewis, a 23-year-old British marine biologist, it had been his dream first job… But when a massive storm engulfs the boat and she falters, Lewis’s dream job turns into a nightmare. The Skipper refuses to act to save his ship, even when the crew are almost swept overboard and the hull begins to flood. When the boat’s officers disappear, and the captain suffers a heart attack, Lewis rallies the crew to escape onto three life rafts, despite being one of the most inexperienced men aboard. He is the last man off the sinking ship and his actions will save numerous lives. But the battle for survival has only just begun. With the light fading and snow falling, Lewis’s raft begins to take on water in freezing conditions. No-one knows if rescue is on its way. Thirty-eight men set out. How many will return?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreat maps / Jerry Brotton.
“The world’s most fascinating maps explored and explained. Great Maps takes you on a journey through the history of maps, from ancient maps such as medieval mappa mundi to Google Earth. Each map provides a window into the age in which it was created and the world view at the time, as well as showing you what was known and unknown by people of the period. Great Maps includes over 55 maps from all around the world, from the first mercator atlas to the latest world maps, visually analysing each one with the help of graphic close-ups.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Travel books for September

Some favourites this month: a gap year travelling around the world in the 1970s; New York, Delhi, the Camino de Santiago and London in the 17th Century!

Syndetics book coverUnruly places : lost spaces, secret cities, and other inscrutable geographies / Alastair Bonnett.
“In an era when “global communities” are often formed in cyberspace and personal possessions are frequently irrelevant, -Bonnett’s (What Is Geography?) latest work poses the question as to whether the pursuit of “topophilia” (“a special love for peculiar places”) is an archaic activity. He provides the answer by showing in 47 entries that there is a constant human need for escape, freedom, and creativity. A residential ship that sails the seven seas, remotely located festivals, micronations, and a male-only -religious community may be unusual, but they all address this need. The author’s fascinating descriptions of lost spaces, enclaves and breakaway nations, floating islands and ephemeral places, hidden geographies, no man’s lands, dead cities, and spaces of exception complement Italo Calvino’s fabricated tales of 55 places in Invisible Cities and serve to prove that “fact is stranger than fiction”.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStrangers like angels : with a devil or two to boot / Alec & Jan Forman.
Strangers Like Angels chronicles the journeys of Alec and Jan Forman to far and distant lands as they embrace their pioneering spirit. Following adventures in Canada, Antarctica and the Sultanate of Oman they set off on the original gap year in the seventies. Travelling in their Land Rover, they use only a map and compass to navigate through the Sahara Desert and tropical rainforests in Africa, back to Europe and out to Asia via the Hindu Kush, and on to the Himalayas. They grapple with the realities of poverty and yet experience surprising hospitality and welcome from unlikely sources…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Hunt : New York City / writer: JoAnna Kang ; illustrator: Abigail Daker.
“Instead of indiscriminately featuring everything and the kitchen sink, The HUNT team has donned our curatorial coloured glasses and carefully selected 100 or so unique, authentic local New York businesses that range from eye-popping and brand spankin’ new to deeply patinated and WAY off the beaten path, funky and unexpected to chic and shiny. Over the last decade, our guides have become the go-to source for a worldwide community of locals and travellers who seek out genuine, intriguing independent businesses.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove Delhi : a hand-book for the luxury vagabond / Fiona Caulfield.
“This must-have guide series to India is packed with savvy insider knowledge. The best experiences in India are hidden in the narrow lanes of the old city where the five-star chef eats on his day off. They are in the home studios of designers and the workshops of seventh generation craftsmen. The highly successful Love Travel Guides series is the only luxury travel guide series dedicated to India. Entries are personally sourced from in-the-know locals including chefs and fishermen, artists and architects, writers and taxi drivers, before being personally tested. All information presented made it there under one simple criterion: if it makes you fall in love with the city, it is included in this book; otherwise it’s out…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalking in Umbria / by Gillian Price.
“Umbria – the ‘green heart’ of Italy – is a region of rolling hills and woodlands that lies just north of Rome and south-east of Florence, bordering Tuscany and the Sibillini. Providing inspiration to writers and painters over the centuries, this area also offers walkers hundreds of kilometres of waymarked paths to enjoy from the spring right through the autumn.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverTracks : a woman’s solo trek across 1700 miles of Australian outback / Robyn Davidson.Tracks
“A cult classic with an ever-growing audience, Tracks is the brilliantly written and frequently hilarious account of a young woman’s odyssey through the deserts of Australia, with no one but her dog and four camels as companions. Davidson emerges as a heroine who combines extraordinary courage with exquisite sensitivity.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCamino de Santiago : the ancient Way of Saint James pilgrimage route from the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela / Sergi Ramis ; translated by Peter Barraclough.
“With the rise in adventure travel and long-distance hiking, it makes sense that the Camino de Santiago is experiencing a renaissance. What started as a pilgrimage across Spain over a thousand years ago has become a route for hikers and cyclists wishing to explore the history and culture of Spain as well as those on a spiritual quest. This revised and updated version of the 2012 publication details the “French Way,” which the author, a travel book editor and author of other Camino de Santiago guides, has broken into 34 days, or stages. Each is detailed with places to eat, hostels to stay in, interesting sights, maps, elevation profiles, and, generally, how to approach that day’s hike.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAussie loos with views! : scenic loos across Australia / Red Nomad Oz aka Marion Halliday.
“Australia is an amazing place, but did you know that some of its most stunning views can be experienced from the loo? After a life-changing trip to Kata Tjuta — well, to the loo at Kata Tjuta — Marion Halliday (aka Red Nomad OZ) discovered this fact and became a true-blue Aussie-loo lover. Enjoy this uniquely Aussie journey across Australia in search of its amazing amenities, off-beat outhouses, daring dunnies and loos with simply stunning views. From the Thargo Thunderbox to the Lyrical Loo, answering nature’s call has never been so much fun!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA-Z of hell : Ross Kemp’s how not to travel the world.
“Ross Kemp’s fascinating guide of the 101 worst places in the world. Want to know where to discover the perfect sunset in Fiji? How about a tropical paradise in St Lucia, or one of the world’s beautiful natural wonders in the Alps? Well this is NOT the guide for you. But if you want to know about being set on fire by neo-Nazis in Russia, or being attacked for a can of tuna in the Congo, buying crack cocaine in a Venezuelan prison for $1.20 or getting run over by a tank in Colombia, then look no further. Ross Kemp has visited the worst places in the world, and here they are — all 101 of them. This is not one hell of a travel guide. This is a travel guide to hell.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemories of London / Edmondo De Amicis ; translated by Stephen Parkin. Followed by An excursion to the poor districts of London / Louis Laurent Simonin ; translated by Adam Elgar.
“And all around me a cacophony – the iron bridges groaning under the weight of the long trains sounding their whistles and breathlessly whooshing out steam, above and below me, near and far, on the ground, in the air, along the water; a furious race of departures and arrivals, continuous meetings, escapes, pursuits, accompanied by the sounds of cracks and squeaks and thuds and bangs; the confusion of a vast battlefield together with the clockwork order of an immense factory; and then the darkness of the sky, the gloomy buildings, the silent crowd and their serious faces…” (Book jacket)