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)