London’s calling : New travel books

The world is opening up again! Browse our new travel books to find your next overseas adventure. Staying home? We have books to help you discover Aotearoa as well — have a browse below!

The book lover’s guide to London / Milne, Sarah
“Many of the greatest names in literature have visited or made their home in the colourful and diverse metropolis of London. From Charles Dickens to George Orwell, Virginia Woolf to Bernadine Evaristo, London’s writers have bought the city to life through some of the best known and loved stories and characters in fiction.” (Catalogue)

Midsomer murders location guide : discover the villages, pubs and churches behind the hit TV series / Hopkinson, Frank
“Following in the Pitkin ‘Armchair’ Film and TV locations series, Midsomer Murders Location Guide highlights the real-life locations behind the fictional Midsomer county – the pubs, churches and villages that make it such an international success.” (Catalogue)

Camino Ignaciano : walking the Ignatian way in northern Spain / Stewart, Murray
“Camino Ignaciano walking and travel guide – expert advice on walking the Camino Ignaciano in northern Spain, following in the footsteps of Ignatius of Loyola through the Basque mountains and including Arantzazu, Laguardia, Logroño, Alfaro, Zaragoza, Montserrat and Manresa. Also includes practical information and details of the twenty-seven stages.” (Catalogue)

Ultimate road trips : Aotearoa New Zealand / Atkinson, Brett
Ultimate Road Trips: New Zealand is your inspirational and comprehensive touring guide to New Zealand, featuring 36 road trips across the North and South islands. From coastal journeys exploring the country’s beaches and bays, to inland adventures through rugged volcanic and alpine landscapes, Ultimate Road Trips: New Zealand is the ideal companion to discovering Aotearoa.” (Catalogue)

Rosamunde Pilcher’s Cornwall / Knappett, Gill
“Discover the breathtaking locations behind Pilcher’s fiction novels The Shell SeekersComing HomeThe End of Summer and more.” (Catalogue)

101 weekends in Europe / Barton, Robin
101 Weekends in Europe, 2nd Edition is a compact and stylish travel guide that details everything today’s modern travelers will want to know about 101 cities in Europe. From classic cities like Paris and Vienna to emerging destinations like Freiburg and Lecce, learn about the culture, sights, shopping experience, accommodations, and cuisine each city has to offer. ” (Catalogue)

Wanderlust road trips : 40 beautiful drives around the world
“Get inspired with 40 of the world’s most incredible road trips, with bucket-list drives in the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. This stunning, hardcover book is packed with full-color photos, charming illustrations, and fascinating overviews of each route, making it the perfect gift for dreamers and adventurers alike. Cruise along the historic Blues Highway in the American South, drive the epic Ruta 40 to Patagonia, or stop for a hike as you road-trip along the Canadian Rockies. Drive to Namibia’s jaw-dropping Victoria Falls, follow the Alsace Wine Route, or hug the Amalfi Coast and soak up views of the Mediterranean.” (Catalogue)

Local Travel and Staycations

Explore the gems of Wellington and forget about the rest of the planet for a while. Have a browse at these books that help you explore the best of Wellington, since the summer is approaching… or almost.

Wellington from above / Stewart, Graham
“Wellington is hailed as the best little capital city in the world – it is the southernmost capital and is known for its friendly atmosphere. The heart of the city is compact, walkable and alive with restaurants and cafes that give a welcome with stylish a la carte dining and pavement outdoor casual fare. It boasts more bars, cafes and restaurants per capita than New York. Greater Wellington reaches to Upper Hutt and beyond to the Kapiti Coast.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Day walks of Greater Wellington / Gavalas, Marios
“Wellingtonians and visitors alike have difficulty choosing a walking area to explore because they are so spoilt for choice. This book lists over 70 walks divided into 5 regional sections – the western coast north to Otaki, Wellington city, the eastern bays, Wainuiomata Valley and the Hutt Valley. With overviews of popular walking areas, each walk is given a track grade, approximate travel time, easy access details, notes on the track itself and points of interest to highlight the most memorable features. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Art & about : a pocket guide to Wellington’s public art / Sutton, Frances
“Wellingtonians and visitors love the city’s profusion of public art. Complete with maps and photos to help you uncover even the most hidden treasures, this book tells you about each work and the artist who made it. From classical statuary and Maori symbolism to wind sculptures and the inspired creations of Weta Workshop, there’s a visual and artistic feast in Wellington waiting for you to discover. Also discover the forgotten underground streams now have an above-ground presence.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

A walk a day : 365 short walks in New Zealand / Janssen, Peter
“Walking is one of the best ways to see a country and in this book there’s a short walk to suit everyone. All 365 walks are three hours or less and will suit those who enjoy walking but do not fancy a long tramp with heavy boots and a pack, or visitors pressed for time, and families with young children. Every walk includes a highlight, whether it’s an historic landmark such as Kerikeri’s Stone Store; a dramatic natural feature, like the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, on the South Island’s West Coast.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Tart & bitter : four decades of dining nightmares : the best of David Burton in the Dominion Post / Burton, David
“Over his long career as a restaurant critic, David Burton has written approximately 2000 restaurant reviews for The Dominion Post and its predecessor The Evening Post, as well as Cuisine magazine. Of these, the vast majority have been either positive or at least mixed. However, Tart & Bitter is a selection of `absolute scorchers’. These reviews build a highly entertaining picture of the most ground-breaking era of New Zealand’s restaurant history.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Raupo to deco : Wellington styles and architects, 1840-1940 / Mew, G
“This book celebrates a century of architectural achievement in Wellington, linking the style characteristics, from raupo thatching to art deco ornament. It contains biographies of more than 300 architects associated with Wellington plus photos, elevations and rare plans. The authors last collaboration was the prize-winning Ring Around the City, documenting the development of Wellingtons suburbs.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

 

Domestic travelling and international dreaming

At this point in history we are lucky to be able to travel freely within New Zealand and the bubble countries. So what about also taking your mind on a journey with these travel books?

Also there are a few links to the world’s famous destinations, which you can virtually visit. Click on the links to these destinations you may not previously have been to, are now free, so sit back and enjoy.

DisneylandBlenheim PalaceMuseum Du Louvre,   Taj Mahaland the  Roman Colosseum.

RV travel lifestyle.
“RV Travel Lifestyle, New Zealand’s longest-running NZ-owned motorhome travel publication. We visit NZ’s most beautiful spots north to south from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island and everywhere in between. Hire or buy an RV for an amazing way to explore our pristine and often wild places. We visit cycleways, historic and cultural sites, stunning beach and mountain destinations to inspire our readers.” (Catalogue)

North & south.
“North & South is New Zealand’s premier monthly current affairs and lifestyle magazine, specialising in long-form investigative journalism, delivered by award-winning writers and photographers. North & South also showcases New Zealand ingenuity and creativity, explores the country and profiles its people. It is a touchstone of New Zealand life.” (Catalogue)

The lord of the rings location guidebook / Brodie, Ian
“Since the first screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, New Zealand has become the embodiment of Middle-earth to millions of movie-goers and Tolkien readers the world over.This definitive full-colour guidebook showcases the principal movie set locations around New Zealand as seen in all three films.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Surf dreams : New Zealand surf culture / Morrison, Derek
“This book presents 15 major surfing communities and those who live there and who live to surf (Ahipara, Tutukaka, Piha, Whangamata, Mt Maunganui, Raglan, Taranaki, Gisborne, Lyall Bay, Kaikoura, Westport, Greymouth, Sumner, Dunedin, Riverton). The characters, the competitions, the breaks, the communities, the dream lifestyles”–Publisher information.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Gourmet trails : Australia & New Zealand.
“This book is perfect for travel enthusiasts and foodies. Each trail features a blend of food producers, farmers markets, restaurants and cafes, wineries and breweries, all combining to create a weekend-long itinerary that is not only a delicious taste experience but also shines a light on local food culture, specialties and traditions. It includes detailed itineraries recommending the most interesting stops, the best places to stay and, of course, where to eat along 40 weekend-long trails.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Behind Winery Doors : Marlborough & Nelson New Zealand
“Features 45 of Marlborough and Nelson’s leading vineyards including maps of the region. Each vineyard is captured in photographs, memorabilia, sketches and where appropriate, press clippings, along with information about their history, how they came to the name and logo, and what they proudly produce.” (Catalogue)

4WD North Island : 102 off road adventures / Cockroft, Andy
“This book covers a wide variety of 4WD tracks (some of them very tough indeed). It includes a free CD which has photos taken all along the routes and details for the GPS user. The author, Andy Cockroft, is very well known and active in 4WD circles.” (Adapted from catalogue)

 

 

Our delicious adventure : recipes and stories of food and travel / Grover, Jane V.
“Yearning to break with the routine of the everyday, Jane Grover and her family – fisherman husband Mr G and their brave teens – spent a season exploring Australia’s southern coastline from Sydney to Perth and recorded their adventures in delicious, juicy detail. Enjoying the simple life, they camped under the stars, fished for dinner and cooked on campfires on the beach as they took on this beautiful country. 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 catalogue)

New travel books: piranhas and poisonous spiders

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.

So many things fell by the wayside in 2020 and adventures abroad were certainly one of them. As librarians, many of us this year have definitely leaned heavily on reading as an escape, and we wonder if you have too? Books about far-flung places have definitely been one way to broaden our horizons while we daydream about overseas travel.

In this spirit, here are some travel stories you can immerse yourself in while you stay closer to home this year. Read about epic voyages of discovery, travel misadventures (to make you glad to be home – piranhas, shark-infested waters, extreme weather, poisonous spiders and vindictive mosquitoes), as well as exploring the world from a different angle when life makes a change you didn’t expect. You’ll also find a good amount of history and geography to browse here, including An Atlas of Extinct Countries (a tour of places that no longer exist). Have a browse, and we hope you enjoy!

Image from Amazon.co.ukThe great journeys in history
“Marco Polo, Ferdinand Magellan, David Livingstone, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong: these are some of the greatest travellers of all time. This book chronicles their stories and many more, describing epic voyages of discovery from the extraordinary migrations out of Africa by our earliest ancestors to the latest voyages into space. In modern times, the last inhospitable ends of the earth were reached – including both poles and the world’s highest mountain – and new elements were conquered.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blue sky kingdom : an epic family journey to the heart of the Himalayas / Kirkby, Bruce
“A warm and unforgettable portrait of a family letting go of the known world to encounter an unfamiliar one filled with rich possibilities and new understandings. In Blue Sky Kingdom, we follow Bruce and his family’s remarkable three months journey, where they would end up living amongst the Lamas of Zanskar Valley, a forgotten appendage of the ancient Tibetan empire. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover An Atlas of Extinct Countries, Gideon Defoe (ebook)
Prisoners of Geography meets Bill Bryson: a funny, fascinating, beautifully illustrated – and timely – history of countries that, for myriad and often ludicrous reasons, no longer exist. Countries die. Sometimes it’s murder, sometimes it’s by accident, and sometimes it’s because they were so ludicrous they didn’t deserve to exist in the first place.  This is an atlas of nations that fell off the map.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Bad tourist : misadventures in love and travel / Roberts, Suzanne
“Both a memoir in travel essays and an anti-guidebook, Bad Tourist takes us across four continents to fifteen countries, showing us what not to do when traveling. A woman learning to claim her own desires and adventures, Suzanne Roberts encounters lightning and landslides, sharks and piranha-infested waters, burning bodies, and brief affairs as she searches for the love of her life and finally herself. Throughout her travels Roberts tries hard not to be a bad tourist, but owing to her cultural blind spots, things don’t always go as planned. ” (Catalogue)

In praise of paths : walking through time and nature / Ekelund, Torbjørn Lysebo
“Torbj rn Ekelund started to walk everywhere after an epilepsy diagnosis affected his ability to drive. As he walks with shoes on and barefoot, through forest creeks and across urban streets, he contemplates the early tracks made by ancient snails and traces the wanderings of Romantic poets. If we still “understand ourselves in relation to the landscape,” Ekelund asks, then what do we lose in an era of car travel and navigation apps?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Image from fishpond.co.nz
Broken heels and bicycle wheels / Blair, Larry
“As 2018 drew to a close I embarked on what was to be my grand odyssey, a North – South walk of Aotearoa. Following the Te Araroa route, I was to walk 3,000km over the next six months. Spoiler: I didn’t. After some ups and downs, I binned that idea and had a crack at biking it instead. Broken Heels and Bicycle Wheels is my tale from that six month period. It’s a fairly raw retelling of my trip as I lived it, warts and all…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Walks on the wild side : exploring an unforgiving land / Pakenham, John
“In the early 1980s, John Pakenham walked a total of 1,500 miles, with a series of companions from the local Turkana and Samburu tribes, in the Great Rift Valley of northern Kenya. Repeatedly beset by extreme thirst and dehydration, bitterly cold torrential rains, poisonous spiders, and vindictive mosquitoes, he was lucky to live to tell his tale. Pakenham’s account provides a rare glimpse of a tough terrain” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lonely Planet’s natural world.
“From Canada’s mysterious and untamed Great Bear Rainforest to the spiritually significant mountain of Kailash in Tibet, unearth 50 destinations all around the world which take you right back to the heart of the natural world. With a combination of beautiful illustration and photography throughout, as well as contributions from award-winning travel writers, this unique coffee table book is the quintessential guide to helping you reconnect with nature.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Road Trip of the Weird & Wonderful!

There’s nothing like a road trip to bring out the strangeness in a country: the oversized fruit; the abandoned houses; the mysterious side-roads that go who-knows-where. But if you choose carefully–or have help from your local librarian–then the same feeling can be created with books: the sense of being in between, or out of time, or unhooked from the everyday world.

That’s where this blog comes in! Join us as we travel across America, stopping at seven weird, wonderful, scary and strange sites, from New England to California and a few places in between. Along the way we’ll recommend a selection of titles that create a similarly peculiar feeling. Read on to begin!


Bread and Puppet Theater, VT

What: Politically radical puppets and sourdough bread
Where: Just outside Grover

Born in the midst of the anti-Vietnam War protests, the puppets of the Bread and Puppet Theater have loomed over crowds since the 1960s. Their giant faces and stilted legs have become one of the key symbols of American counterculture–but where do they go when they retire? To this barn, of course!

Related Readings:

The Mannequin Makers by Craig Cliff — What kind of life would you lead if you’d been trained to be a living mannequin?

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion — Suffering from writers block, Joan Didion sets off to the heart of America’s counterculture.

The Quiet American by Graham Greene — Written in 1955, The Quiet American predicted America’s role in Vietnam throughout the ’60s and ’70s.


Centralia Coal Fire, PA

What: A small town perched upon an everlasting fire
Where: North-west of Philadelphia

There are several theories about how a fire began in the tunnels beneath the coal mining town of Centralia, but when a 12-year-old boy almost fell into a fiery sinkhole in his backyard, one thing became certain: the town would have to be abandoned. Today Centralia has fewer than 5 residents, and is the inspiration behind the Silent Hill series.

Related Readings:

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer — Area X has been sealed up for over three decades, and has a strange influence on anyone who enters.

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson — The book that broke the romantic notion of life in small town America (and the traditional structure of the novel).

The Denniston Rose by Jenny Pattrick — 2000 feet above sea level lies Denniston, a tough, West Coast coal mining town for those with something to escape.


Fury 325, NC

What: The world’s best steel roller coaster four years running
Where: Carowinds Amusement Park

Have you ever wondered what goes into making a roller coaster? In the case of the Fury 325, the designers took inspiration from the hornet–not just the insect, but also Charlotte’s reputation as a “hornet’s nest of rebellion” during the American Revolution. (For the record, the Fury 325 is the fifth tallest roller coaster in the world, with a top speed of 153 km/h!)

Related Readings:

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal — There are just 50 years before Earth becomes uninhabitable, but for pilot Elma York, the first challenge will be convincing people that women should be allowed to fly.

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe — Did you know that when NASA was preparing the first manned space flight, they wanted to use trapeze artists? (But settled on test pilots instead.)

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather — A convent of nuns (and a living space ship) tackle the theological and physical dangers of a post-war solar system.


Creation Museum, KY

What: A museum where dinosaurs and humans co-exist
Where: Petersburg, Kentucky

It’s not often that a museum opens to protests, but that’s exactly what happened at the Creation Museum in 2007. With a focus on young Earth creationism, the Creation Museum has displays showing the co-existence of humans and dinosaurs, and drew 800,000 people in 2017. (By comparison, in 2015/16 Te Papa had 1.7 million visitors.)

Related Readings:

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson — A dying reverend writes a letter to his six-year-old son about the strange wonders of the world and his place in it.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman — The book (and TV series) that asks the question, “What happens to gods when people stop believing in them?”

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin — Baldwin weaves together race, religion, sexuality and family in this seminal–and semi-autobiographical–work.


Iowa State Fair, IA

What: One of America’s largest state fairs (and home of the Butter Cow)
Where: Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines

With its carnival rides, butter sculpting and delicious deep fried foods (cookie dough in a waffle on a stick, anyone?), the Iowa State Fair is a Midwest institution. And every four years it’s also the place you get to see presidential hopefuls vie for votes while trying to eat deep fried oreos–never easy.

Related Readings:

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter — The life and times of Sophie Fevvers, a winged woman who tours with a circus to the far reaches of Siberia.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury — Did you know that Ray Bradbury’s inspiration for writing was a magician named Mr. Electrico who told him to “Live forever!”?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern — When magicians fight, giant dreamlike circuses are the result. ‘Twas ever thus.


Neon Museum, NV

What: Where Las Vegas’ neon signs go to die (and be resurrected)
Where: Las Vegas Boulevard

When you think about visiting Las Vegas, stopping at a museum isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. But the Neon Museum–or Neon Boneyard, as it’s often called–isn’t an ordinary museum! Scattered across the campus are signs from some of Vegas’ most well-known historic casinos and motels, including the Sahara, the La Concha and more.

Related Readings:

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson — No matter what you do in Vegas, chances are it won’t rival what Hunter S. Thompson got up to (which is probably a good thing).

The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky — Did you know that Dostoevsky wrote The Gambler to pay off his own gambling debts?!

The Power by Naomi Alderman — When women gain the power to emit electrical currents through their fingers, the world is changed forever.


Winchester Mystery House, CA

What: Secret passages, mystery doors, staircases to nowhere…
Where: San Jose, California

If you were designing a house for ghosts, and you had an unlimited budget, you’d probably end up constructing something like the Winchester Mystery House. Built between 1884 and 1922, the house was designed to appease (or escape) the ghosts of all those who had been killed by Winchester rifles. Pop in and have a look around…

Related Readings:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson — Did you know that The Haunting of Hill House is one of several novels influenced by Winchester House?

The Amityville Horror by Jay AnsonThe Amityville Horror is supposedly based on true events, but has caused a lot of controversy!

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes — A body is found in a Detroit tunnel. The top half is human, but the legs are those of a deer.


Global Adventures: New Travel Books

This month’s line-up of travel writing showcases an extensive look at destinations around the globe. A new year calls for a new Best in Travel from Lonely Planet, as well as a couple of other awe-inspiring travel guides.

We also go back to the classic travelogue, this time with a fast-paced twist featuring almost every country and destination there is. Whirlwind journeys like these aren’t for the faint of heart, proven by some of the most notable travellers of our time such as Nuseir Yassin and Mark Beaumont with their record breaking itineraries. Their new releases, together with other tales of adventure, are bound to leave you feeling at least a little bit wanderlust.

Best in travel 2020 / Bindloss, Joseph
“Drawing on the knowledge and passion of Lonely Planet’s staff, we present a year’s worth of inspiration to take you out of the ordinary and into the unforgettable. We reveal how well-planned, sustainable travel can be a force for good: for the environment, for local people and for yourself – and include ways to help lower your carbon footprint and protect the areas you visit on your travels.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Around the World in 60 Seconds, Nuseir Yassin (ebook)
In 2016, Nuseir Yassin quit his job to travel for 1,000 consecutive days.  While he journeyed from country to country, Nas uploaded a 60-second video per day to highlight the amazing, terrifying, inspiring and downright surprising… Thirteen million followers later, Nas Daily has become the most immersive travel experience ever captured, and finally shows us what we’ve all been looking for: each other. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Passages / Trubridge, Linda
“When Linda and David sold the house they had built to last a lifetime and abandoned a thriving career for a nomadic life, they discovered more about the world and themselves than they ever imagined. Voyaging halfway around the world with their two young sons, this is a story about the challenges of maintaining a relationship and nurturing children in extreme circumstances.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Epic journeys : 245 life-changing adventures
“This large-format, comprehensive book offers the itineraries of a lifetime for explorers and adrenaline junkies alike. You’ll also find everything you need to know for the ultimate epic journey: what to see, when to go, and what to do. This collection, complemented by top ten lists and adventurer essays covering everything from the best hiking trails to the top wildlife parks, will lead you to new heights of exploration.” (Catalogue)

Around the world in 80 days : my world record breaking adventure / Beaumont, Mark
“On Monday 18th September 2017, Mark Beaumont pedalled through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes earlier he set off from the same point, beginning his attempt to circumnavigate the world in record time. Covering more than 18,000 miles and cycling through some of the harshest conditions one man and his bicycle can endure, Mark made history.” (Catalogue)

How to be a family : the year I dragged my kids around the world to find a new way to be together / Kois, Dan
“What happens when one frustrated dad turns his kids’ lives upside down in search of a new way to be a family? In this eye-opening, heartwarming, and very funny family memoir, the Kois … land in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas. Will this trip change the Kois family’s lives? Or do families take their problems and conflicts with them wherever we go? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The world’s great rail journeys : 50 of the most spectacular, luxurious, unusual and exhilarating routes across the globe / Solomon, Brian
“A portrait in words and photographs of over 50 of the world’s most exciting, unusual and exotic railway journeys, including North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia. The World’s Great Rail Journeys is perfect for all railway enthusiasts, whether actual or armchair travellers.” (Catalogue)

Ten years a nomad : a traveler’s journey home / Kepnes, Matt
“After quitting his 9-5 job more than ten years ago, Matt realized that living life meant more for him than simply meeting traditional milestones like buying a car, paying a mortgage, and moving up the career ladder. With almost nothing tangible to show for it after traveling over 500,000 miles and staying in 90 different countries, Matt has compiled his favorite stories and experiences in this travel manifesto to show a different side of life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Elsewhere : one woman, one rucksack, one lifetime of travel / Boland, Rosita
“From her first life-changing solo trip to Australia, Rosita Boland was enthralled by travel. In the last thirty years she has visited some of the most remote parts of the globe carrying little more than a battered rucksack and a diary. In a series of jaw-dropping, illuminating and sometimes heart-breaking essays, Elsewhere is a book that celebrates the life well-travelled in all its messy and wondrous glory.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Tales and Travelogues in Unexpected Places

This month we’ve got a lot of new travel writing hitting our shelves, featuring both some tourist favourites and remote destinations. We whirl from the Arctic to the Antarctic with some of the best travel writers of our time, stopping along the way in places such as Spain and Pakistan. Whether you are interested in culture, science, or just the human experience of travelling to new places, this booklist has you covered.

Overdrive cover My Midsummer Morning, Alastair Humphreys (ebook)
Seasoned adventurer Alastair Humphreys pushes himself to his very limits – busking his way across Spain with a violin he can barely play. The journey was his most terrifying yet, risking failure and humiliation every day, and finding himself truly vulnerable to the rhythms of the road and of his own life. But along the way, he found humility, redemption and triumph. It was a very good adventure. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Sun Is a Compass, Caroline Van Hemert (Audiobook)
In March of 2012 [Caroline Van Hemert] and her husband set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic, traveling by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe.  A unique blend of science, adventure, and personal narrative, the book explores the bounds of the physical body and the tenuousness of life in the company of creatures whose daily survival is nothing short of miraculous. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Bowing to Elephants, Mag Dimond (ebook)
In Bowing to Elephants, a woman gazes into the feathery eyes of a 14,000-pound African elephant and looks for answers to old questions in Vietnam and the tragically ravaged landscape of Cambodia. Dimond journeys to far-flung places―into the perfumed chaos of India, the nostalgic, damp streets of Paris, the gray, the reverent and silent mountains of Bhutan, and the gold temples of Burma. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Fifteen million years in Antarctica / Priestley, Rebecca
“Rebecca Priestley longs to be in Antarctica. But it is also the last place on Earth she wants to go. Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica offers a deeply personal tour of a place in which a person can feel like an outsider in more ways than one. With generosity and candour, Priestley reflects on what Antarctica can tell us about Earth’s future and asks: do people even belong in this fragile, otherworldly place?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Couchsurfing in Russia, Stephen Orth (ebook)
In this humorous and thought-provoking book, Orth ventures through that vast and mysterious land to uncover the real, unfiltered Russia not seen in today’s headlines: authentic, bizarre, dangerous, and beautiful. Orth follows the bestselling Couchsurfing in Iran with another complex, funny, and personal travelogue – a colourful portrait of a fascinating and misunderstood country. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The crow eaters : a journey through south Australia / Stubbs, Ben
“Outsiders think of South Australia as being different, without really knowing much about it. Combining his own travel across the state with an investigation of its history, Ben Stubbs seeks to find out what South Australia is really like. In the spirit of the best travel writing and literary non-fiction, he lingers in places of quiet beauty and meets some memorable people… Stubbs brings this diverse state to life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From the lion’s mouth : a journey along the Indus / Campbell, Iain
“An insightful portrait of Pakistan with themes of religion, culture and hospitality in an account of travelling… Engrossing and eye-opening, Iain Campbell’s account of his travels through this mesmerising land will appeal to travellers, mountaineers, trekkers, wilderness enthusiasts, anyone interested in the culture and history of the subcontinent, and fans of quality travel writing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

North Korea journal / Palin, Michael
“In May 2018, Michael Palin spent two weeks in the notoriously secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a cut-off land without internet or phone signal… Written with Palin’s trademark warmth and wit, and illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout, the journal offers a rare insight into the North Korea behind the headlines.” (Catalogue)

What happens when travel and history intersect: Latest travel titles

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
– Marcel Proust

Part travelogue and part social commentary, this month’s recent picks go beyond whirlwind sightseeing tours and deep into often less-explored regions. Uncovering national histories and culture as they go, authors such as Ben Aitken and David Eimer delve further than most in their travels. The Frayed Atlantic Edge provides new perspectives on old coastlines by kayak, while Out of Istanbul takes readers on a historical journey of the Silk Road by foot.

If you’re after the thrill of travel writing that brings you to new places and people, this booklist is for you.

Overdrive cover The Frayed Atlantic Edge, David Gange (ebook)
“Over the course of a year, leading historian and nature writer David Gange kayaked the weather-ravaged coasts of Atlantic Britain and Ireland from north to south: every cove, sound, inlet, island. Drawing on the archives of islands and coastal towns, as well as their vast poetic literatures in many languages, he shows that the neglected histories of these stunning regions are of real importance in understanding both the past and future of the whole archipelago.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Savage Dreamland, David Eimer (ebook)
“For almost fifty years Burma was ruled by a paranoid military dictatorship and isolated from the outside world. David Eimer travels throughout this enigmatic nation, from the tropical south to the Burmese Himalayas in the far north, via the Buddhist-centric heartland and the jungles and mountains where rebel armies fight. In his vivid and revelatory account of life, history, culture and politics, Eimer chronicles the awakening of a country as it returns to the global fold.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Bells of Old Tokyo, Anna Sherman (ebook)
“In The Bells of Old Tokyo, Anna Sherman explores Japan and revels in all its wonderful particularity. Following her search for the lost bells of the city – the bells by which its inhabitants kept time before the Jesuits introduced them to clocks – to her personal friendship with the owner of a small, exquisite cafe, who elevates the making and drinking of coffee to an art-form, here is Tokyo in its bewildering variety.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

China tripping : encountering the everyday in the People’s Republic
“This unique book is the first to bring together a group of influential China experts to reflect on their cultural and social encounters while travelling and living in the People’s Republic. Filling an important gap, it allows scholars, journalists, and businesspeople to reflect on their personal memories of China. Covering nearly a half-century from 1971 to the present, these stories open a vivid window on a rapidly evolving China and on the zigzag learning curve of the China trippers themselves.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Around the World in 80 Trains, Monisha Rajesh (ebook)
“Packing up her rucksack—and her fiancé, Jem—Monisha embarks on an unforgettable adventure that will take her from London’s St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan, and beyond. Monisha offers a wonderfully vivid account of life, history and culture in a book that will make you laugh out loud—and reflect on what it means to be a global citizen—as you whirl around the world in its pages.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Out of Istanbul : a journey of discovery along the Silk Road / Ollivier, Bernard
“Heading east out of Istanbul, Ollivier takes readers step by step across Anatolia and Kurdistan, bound for Tehran. We accompany Ollivier as he explores bazaars, mosques, and caravansaries–true vestiges of the Silk Road itself–and through these encounters and experiences, gains insight into the complex political and social issues facing modern-day Turkey.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Behind Putin’s curtain : friendships and misadventures inside Russia / Orth, Stephan
 “Orth ventures through that vast and mysterious territory to uncover the real, unfiltered Russia not seen in today’s headlines: authentic, bizarre, dangerous, and beautiful. Weaving everything together with thoughtfulness and warmth, Orth follows the acclaimed Couchsurfing in Iran with yet another complex, funny, and personal travelogue–a colorful portrait of a fascinating and misunderstood country.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A chip Shop in Poznań : my unlikely year in Poland / Aitken, Ben
“Not many Brits move to Poland to work in a fish and chip shop. Fewer still come back wanting to be a Member of the European Parliament. Travel writer Ben Aitken moved to Poland in 2016… This candid, funny and off-beat book is the account of his year in Poland, as an unlikely immigrant. This is a bittersweet portrait of an unsung country, challenging stereotypes that Poland is a grey, ex-soviet land, and revealing a diverse country, rightfully proud of its colourful identity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Why we travel: latest additions in travel writing

This month’s latest travel titles ask: Why do we travel? What are we searching for? From pilgrimages to culinary explorations, from adrenaline seeking to peaceful wanderings, these books tell the stories of people who have sought something from their travels, and were quite often surprised at the results.

Overdrive cover Through the Embers of Chaos, Dervla Murphy (ebook)
As Dervla Murphy crisscrossed the Balkans in a series of bicycle journeys, she recorded the griefs and confusions of the ordinary people, many of whom had showed extraordinary courage and resilience during that terrible ‘decade of decay’ and whose voices were so little heard during the conflict.   (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Stranger Country, Monica Tan (ebook)
What happens when a 32-year-old first-generation Australian woman decides to chuck in a dream job, pack a sleeping bag and tent, and hit the long, dusty road for six months? In mid-2016, Monica left Sydney, unsure of her place in Australia. Stranger Country is the riveting account of the six months Monica drove and camped her way through some of Australia’s most beautiful and remote landscapes. ( Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Alice to Prague, Tanya Heaslip (ebook)
In 1994, Tanya Heaslip left her safe life as a lawyer in outback Australia and travelled to the post-communist Czech Republic. Dismissing concerns from family and friends that her safety and career were at risk, she arrived with no teaching experience whatsoever, to work at a high school in a town she’d never heard of, where the winters are frigid and plunge to sub-zero temperatures. (Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Fiva, Gordon Stainforth (ebook)
In 1969, teenage twin brothers Gordon and John Stainforth set out… to climb the highest rock face in Europe — Norway’s Troll Wall. Poor judges of their own abilities, experience, and gear, they began the climb convinced they would return to their tent in time for afternoon tea. Within hours of starting the route, things went terribly wrong. Fiva is the story that Gordon Stainforth lived to tell, 40 years later. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Walking to Jerusalem : blisters, hope and other facts on the ground : sacred and profane reflections on the Just Walk to Jerusalem 10 June – 2 November 2017 / Butcher, Justin
2017 marked three anniversaries for the Palestinian people: 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 50 years since the Six-day War; and ten years since the Blockade of Gaza. As an act of penance, solidarity and hope, actor and musician Justin Butcher – along with ten other companions for the full route – walked from London to Jerusalem. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The Cafe de Move-on Blues, Christopher Hope (ebook)
In White Boy Running, Christopher Hope explored how it felt and looked to grow up in a country gripped by an ‘absurd, racist insanity’. On a road trip thirty years later, Christopher goes in search of today’s South Africa; post-apartheid… of a future when race and colour would not count. Framed as a travelogue, this is a darkly comic, powerful and moving portrait of South Africa – an elegy to a living nation. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover One More Croissant for the Road, Felicity Cloake (ebook)
The nation’s ‘taster in chief’ cycles across France in search of the definitive versions of classic French dishes. A land of glorious landscapes – a country large enough to give any journey an epic quality, but with a bakery on every corner. Each of the 21 ‘stages’ concludes with Felicity putting this new found knowledge to good use in a fresh and definitive recipe for each dish. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

 

Overdrive cover Outpost, Dan Richards (ebook)
There are still wild places out there on our crowded planet. Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores the appeal of far-flung outposts. Their untamed nature is part of their beauty and such places have long drawn the adventurous, the spiritual and the artistic. Richards explores landscapes which have inspired writers, artists and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Meaningful discoveries: Latest Travel Books

With an increasing focus on ‘top ten’ type destinations and planning, sometimes we forget that the best places to visit are often those along the road less travelled. Our latest books hope to inspire readers to trust the adventure and thrill of discovery. A few of our picks show a new side to popular destinations, while others give some first-hand perspective on how we can open our hearts and minds to the wonder of wherever we may end up.

Green nomads, wild places / Brown, Bob
Visit some of the most remote and beautiful places of south and west Australia in Green Nomads Wild Places, Bob Brown and partner Paul Thomas’s three-month adventure across Australia. They floated in hidden harbours and on ancient rivers, climbed over age-old rock formations, and camped at isolated Bush Heritage Australia properties. Bob Brown and Paul Thomas remind us how extraordinary and diverse is our natural world.” (Catalogue)

Rediscovering travel : a guide for the globally curious / Kugel, Seth
“An indispensable companion for rookie and veteran travelers alike that promises to revolutionize both how and why we vacation. Woven throughout with vivid tales of his perfectly imperfect adventures, Rediscovering Travel explains–often hilariously–how to make the most of new digital technologies without being shackled to them… Kugel shows how we too can rediscover the joy of discovery.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sicilian splendors : discovering the secret places that speak to the heart / Keahey, John
Sicilian Splendors explores the history, politics, food, Mafia, and people which John Keahey encounters throughout his travels during his return to Sicily. Through conversing with natives and immersing himself in culture, Keahey illustrates a brand new Sicily no one has ever talked about before. Keahey not only serves as a guide through the marvel of Sicily’s identity, but he also looks deeply into Sicily’s soul.” (Catalogue)

Off the rails : a train trip through life / Severgnini, Beppe
“In this witty and entertaining collection of travel tales, an acclaimed journalist explores what his rail journeys have taught him about culture and identity. Filled with memorable characters and perceptive observations, it demonstrates–hilariously–what unites us.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive coverJapan Just for You, Denise Stephens (ebook)
Japan Just for You is for people wanting to create their own trip to Japan instead of doing someone else’s ‘must-see’ itinerary. Learn how to put your trip together, including how to make choices and decisions on your itinerary. There are some extremely popular and world-famous places which you may want to visit, or you may want to see the less-explored regions, or perhaps a bit of both.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive coverAlone Time, Stephanie Rosenbloom (ebook)
“Travel writer Stephanie Rosenbloom explores the joys and benefits of being alone in four mouth-watering journeys to the cities of Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York. This is a book about the pleasures and benefits of savouring the moment, examining things closely, using all your senses to take in your surroundings, whether travelling to faraway places or walking the streets of your own city.”  (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Lands of Lost Borders, Kate Harris (ebook)
Lands of Lost Borders, winner of the 2018 Banff Adventure Travel Award, is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey. Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Lands of Lost Borders celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world, and ultimately to each other—a belonging that transcends any fences or stories that may divide us.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Summer adventures: New travel books

Places we Swim book cover

Road trips, wine trails, waterfalls and more make up this list of the latest travel books. From books on New Zealand and what you can do in our backyard to going across the oceans to the most exotic destination, there is no shortage of ideas to inspire your next adventure. 2019 plans perhaps?

Wild journeys : New Zealand’s famous & infamous, historic & off-the-beaten-path journeys, tracks, routes & passages / Ansley, Bruce
“Discover a world of wild, mysterious and audacious journeys. In Wild Journeys, Bruce Ansley retraces the path of the doomed surveyor John Whitcombe across the Southern Alps, follows the raiding party of the northern chief Te Puoho along the West Coast, sails around New Zealand’s northern and southern capes; walks through the Valley under the Two Thumb Range to the mythical Mesopotamia; drives from Waiheke to Wanaka (in a hurry), sets off on a hunt for the South Island’s Grey Ghost, looks deep into the heart of volcanic New Zealand and tracks our most unlikely hero, the prison escaper George Wilder.” (Catalogue)

Destinations
“For the first time, Gourmet Traveller has compiled a collection of its most dazzling travel photography. Visit some of the world’s most beautiful & exotic places through the lenses of the world’s finest photographers. The book traverses the globe making stops along the banks of the Yangzi River, on the streets of Cuba and at the grand turquoise minarets of Uzbekistan. Immerse yourself in the architecture, the food and the culture of the places you’ve been to and the ones you long to visit. A visual feast on every page.” (Catalogue)

The bucket list wild : 1000 adventures big and small : animals, birds, fish, nature / Stathers, Kath
“The Bucket List: Wild is a collection of 1,000 incredIble encounters with the natural world, to be experienced across every continent, from whale watching in the Pacific to snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, and feeding pandas in China to riding with wild horses in France. Alongside the beautiful photographs there is helpful information on how you can support conservation efforts, and advice on how to behave around wild animals. The most complete life list yet to the world’s best places to see wildlife-both on and off the beaten path.” (Catalogue)

Wine trails, Australia & New Zealand : plan 40 perfect weekends in wine country / Campbell, Bob
“Following the success of Wine Trails, we now bring you 40 perfect weekends in Australia and New Zealand wine country, introducing vineyards in regions including the Clare Valley, Margaret River, Hawkes Bay, Tamar Valley and Marlborough, as well as celebrating secret gems off the beaten path.” (Catalogue)

Wine trails, USA & Canada / Hausman, Ashley
“Following the success of Wine Trails, we now bring you 40 perfect weekends in North American wine country, introducing vineyards in regions including Sonoma, Walla Walla, Finger Lakes, Texas Hill Country and Okanagan, as well as celebrating secret gems off the beaten path.” (Catalogue)

Let’s get lost : great New Zealand road trips / McCloy, Nicola
Let’s Get Lost is a guide to the real New Zealand that few of us get a chance to explore. In its pages, you’ll pass through the sausage capital of New Zealand, take a dip in a secret lake, visit a village entirely populated by guinea pigs, share a yarn with many a local good bugger – and so much more.” (Catalogue)

A geek in Indonesia : discover the land of Komodo dragons, Balinese healers and dangdut music / Hannigan, Tim
“For anyone wanting to get beyond tired travel guide cliches, A   Geek in Indonesia is a hip, irreverent and streetwise introduction to Southeast Asia’s biggest country. Packed with lively articles on everything from office and cafe culture to food, dating rituals and TV soap operas, this Indonesian travel guide is a delightful read for backpackers, first-time visitors, newly-arrived expats, long-time Indonesiaphiles–and anyone else seeking fresh insight into a culture and a country that is now an emerging economic powerhouse and one of the world’s most captivating travel destinations” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Places we swim : exploring Australia’s best beaches, pools, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs and gorges / Seitchik-Reardon, Dillon
“From lap pools to ocean pools, rockpools to hot springs, Places We Swim covers the breadth of Australia, bringing you the 60 best places to swim, dive, jump, paddle and float around the country. You’ll discover just what makes each swimming spot unique, learn the best time to go, gain some useful local knowledge and find out the best things to see and do in the area. With destinations ranging from the neighbourhood pool to remote outback waterfalls, this book is a celebration of not just these magnificent swimming spots, but of the diverse landscapes and communities that make up Australia.” (Catalogue)

Springing toward our destination: New Travel books

Spring back into the joys of travel with a collection of new titles at Wellington City Libraries. Plan a trip with friends, family and loved ones alike as this list of books will have you falling in love with travel all over again. Dine like royalty with parents, siblings and children in the best food spots the world knows. Treat your someone special to a romantic getaway for your anniversary, or just because you can. Or just hit the open road with friends and see the quiet towns and sleepy suburbs.

Syndetics book coverThe world’s most romantic destinations : 50 dreamy getaways, private retreats, and enchanting places to celebrate love / Abbie Kozolchyk.
“In The World’s Best Romantic Destinations you’ll discover the most idyllic trips you could ever take, with expert tips on where to go, what to do, where to eat, and what to see in each unforgettable location. Filled with beautiful images of National Geographic’s most top-secret romantic spots across six continents, and top tips to experience them with the one you adore most, this collection is a travel-lovers dream.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe honeymoon handbook / written by Sarah Baxter [and 17 others].
“Lonely Planet’s first dedicated honeymoon guide is packed with advice for travel-lovers who want their honeymoon their way: no all-inclusive in sight here. Set your heart racing with real adventures, tailored to what you two love the most – whether that’s wildlife-spotting on the African savannah, cruising around Havana in one of Cuba’s legendary vintage American cars or diving with turtles in Bali. Whether you’re after ideas for a classic trip or for more offbeat honeymoon suggestions, we’ve got you covered. See ancient temples in Myanmar, eat exquisite Michelin-starred meals in Tokyo, or surf the rolling Pacific waves at Sydney’s Bondi Beach.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe best things in life are free : the ultimate money-saving travel guide / Isabel Albiston [and 39 others] ; foreword written by Tom Hall.
“Lonely Planet’s The Best Things in Life are Free is packed full of money-saving tips, tricks and recommendations for the best-value sights and experiences around the world. From parks, museums and exercise classes that are free, to insider ideas on food and experiences offered at great value, this book features over 60 major cities around the world and promises to help any traveller on a budget to make the most of their trip. Includes parks and gardens, street markets and food trucks, viewing points, museums and galleries, free experiences, spectator sports, city beaches, and much more. Happy travels!” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFood trails : plan 52 perfect weekends in the world’s tastiest destinations.
“For everyone who loves travel and trying the local delicacies, this beautifully illustrated hardback is the must-have handbook to a year’s worth of perfect weekends around the world for food lovers. Featured trails include the an homage to Buenos Aires steak, cozy wintertime French Canadian cuisine, Puglia’s distinctive dishes, and Parisian patisserie. Each trail is an itinerary, detailing when and where to indulge in the local specialties. There are 52 trails, each with gorgeous photography, a bespoke map, expert writing and practical details of how to get there and where to stay.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDo not disturb! : heavenly honeymoon retreats / Manuela Roth ; translation: Judith Vonberg.
“The crowning finale of every wedding is the honeymoon, which belongs to it as much as the bouquet and the cake. Romantic accommodations in dreamy surroundings are the best setting for the – hopefully perfect – first days of life together. Whether chic and urban in an international metropolis, at a luxurious resort on a Caribbean beach, or on a safari through the African wilderness: this volume presents a great variety of destinations for a honeymoon. The hand-picked selection offers wonderful solutions to all newlywed’s wishes – whether to be on cloud nine 24/7, to plan the future, or to simply forget the stress and strain of planning a wedding….” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLonely Planet’s best in travel 2017 / written by James Bainbridge [and 33 others]
“Where is the best place to visit right now, at this very moment in travel history? This is the most hotly contested topic at Lonely Planet and dominates more conversations than any other. We pose this question to everyone at Lonely Planet, from our authors and editors, all the way to our online family of bloggers and tweeters. When Lonely Planet talks the rest of the world listens. That’s why tourist boards all over the world await its top 10 lists with bated breath – inclusion practically guarantees a bumper year.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover50 states, 5,000 ideas : where to go, when to go, what to see, what to do / text by Joe Yogerst.
“This richly illustrated book from the travel experts at National Geographic showcases the best travel experiences in every state, from the obvious to the unexpected. Sites include national parks, beaches, hotels, Civil War battlefields, dude ranches, out-of-the-way museums, and more. You’ll discover the world’s longest yard sale in Tennessee, swamp tours in Louisiana, dinosaur trails in Colorado, America’s oldest street in NYC, and the best spot to watch for sea otters on the central California coast. In addition to 50 states in the U.S., the book includes a section on the Canadian provinces and territories.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe 50 greatest road trips of the world / Sarah Woods.
“If you’ve ever dreamed of completing an epic car journey, The 50 Greatest Road Trips is for you. Packed full of the most exotic, exciting and iconic road trips across the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa, it showcases the ultimate in car adventures. Sarah Woods is a veteran of road-tripping, having driven the iconic 19,000-mile route from North America to South America’s tip, completed several dusty voyages in the Australian outback and scaled towering Saharan sand dunes ina 4×4. Readers are sure to feel the urge to climb into an old Chevrolet, crank up the tunes on the stereo, flick the sunroof open and settle back for one heck of a ride on the open road …” (Syndetics summary)

BBQ rats and entertaining children: Recent Travel picks

This month’s travel picks get a little less glamorous with Top Deck buses across Europe, barbecued rats in Ho Chi Minh City, and ignoring good advice from friends while encountering trouble in South America. Fortunately that’s balanced out with books containing great advice for kids in London, unique locations in Edinburgh and Paris, the best photographs in Scotland, and the joy of travelling slowly.

Syndetics book coverFamily London : fun days out with children from tots to teens / Jimi Famurewa ; photographs by Camille Mack.
“From the best museums and galleries to the perfect playgrounds and cafes, Family London handpicks the very best things to do in London with tots, teens and everything in between. Come rain or shine, this complete insider’s guide to one of the best cities in the world will help you plan a day out to remember – and there’s something for everyone, from toddlers and teenagers to adults who are just big kids at heart.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrossing continents with Top Deck : the travel revolution of the 70s – 90s / written and illustrated by Trevor Carroll.
“Top Deck double deckers offered a revolutionary form of long-distance transport from the 70s to the 90s. The large Bristish Lodekkas carried under 35’s over vast distances through SE Asia, the Middle East and Australia in a new kind of no frills adventure tourism. Taken on by Top Deck as a double decker bus driver in early 1977, Trevor Carroll took European tours for a year before he was set loose on his first overland tour. Trevor describes his exciting and sometimes harrowing experiences on six overland trips as both driver and courier.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSo happiness to meet you : foolishly, blissfully stranded in Vietnam / Karin Esterhammer.
“After job losses and the housing crash, the author and her family leave L.A. to start over in a most unlikely place: a nine-foot-wide back-alley house in one of Ho Chi Minh City’s poorest districts, where neighbors unabashedly stare into windows, generously share their barbecued rat, keep cockroaches for luck, and ultimately help her find joy without Western trappings.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover111 places in Paris that you shouldn’t miss / Sybil Canac, Renée Grimaud, Katia Thomas.
“You think you know Paris inside out? Then let yourself be surprised by this book. Written by three true connoisseurs, it tells you the secrets of the city. Curiosities, secret gardens, unknown museums, arts centers or very special hotels – with this book you discover Paris off the beaten path, its hidden treasures, its legends, its stories.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMiss adventures : a tale of ignoring life advice while backpacking around South America / Amy Baker.
“Having announced her plans to quit her job and backpack around South America, humorist and gonzo journalist Amy Baker found herself on the receiving end of a whole bunch of over-the-top and seemingly unnecessary advice. Amy shrugged it all off of course–that is, until she ran into trouble. After falling into a crevasse, swimming in crocodile-infested waters, dodging cocaine con artists and encountering handsome soothsayers, Amy soon starts to wonder if her mother, her boss, and Carol from reception really were onto something.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScotland : the best 100 places / Peter Irvine.
“This personal and diverse compendium is illustrated with beautiful and evocative images by some of Scotland’s best photographers. Peter Irvine has drawn on a lifetime of experiences to create this list of the 100 best places in Scotland: reflective, magnificent and human places. As well as expert commentary, all 100 places include highly selective recommendations of where to walk, eat and sleep nearby. From wild glens to ancient buildings, remote islands to vibrant cities, this is Pete’s list of the places in Scotland that you really should visit in your lifetime.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOnly in Edinburgh : a guide to unique locations, hidden corners and unusual objects / Duncan J .D. Smith ; photographs by Duncan J.D. Smith.
Only in Edinburgh is a comprehensive illustrated guide to more than 100 fascinating and unusual historical sites in the Scottish capital, including ancient closes and secret gardens, mysterious monuments and unexpected underworlds, storied graveyards and industrial relics.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTravelling light : journeys among special people and places / Alastair Sawday.
Travelling Light is a gradual awakening to the fragility of everything we love through contemplative, consciously slow journeying. Every visit uncovers difference – from France profonde to the darker side of Sicily, and to the woodland, flora, fauna, views and silence of rural Britain. Alastair Sawday gives voice to those of us who have climbed no mountains, discovered no rivers, created no great institutions, powered no legislation, changed very little – but who yearn to understand the world and make sense of its infinite variety.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

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)

The Long Road from a Broken Heart – NZ author talk on 27 February

Broken Heart Cover

Come along to an author talk by brilliant Kiwi cyclist and photographer Jeremy Scott.
Time: 12-1pm on 27th of February 2017
Location: Ground Floor at Wellington Central Library, 65 Victoria Street.

“Major open heart surgery as a four-year-old child taught Jeremy that life was precious and something to cherish. He began to see life as a rollercoaster ride, filled with challenges and experiences. On the 5th October 2011, Jeremy began a challenge that was of his own design, a journey that was many years in the planning; a 2 ½ year, 51,916km unsupported bicycle ride from London to New Zealand. As he pedalled his way around the planet he accumulated more than enough kilometres to circumnavigate the earth.

While separate encounters with the Iranian and Filipino Mafia had Jeremy fearing for his life, it was the beautiful acts of kindness offered by strangers throughout the world that will forever warm his heart. While this beautiful story of self-discovery will leave you feeling genuinely inspired, Jeremy’s stunning photographs from the road will render you speechless.

At the conclusion of this phenomenal journey, Jeremy wrote the highly successful book ‘The Long Road From a Broken Heart’. It is not only a story about life in the saddle, it is a story about the beautiful side of humanity and an example of what someone can achieve if they believe in themselves and have the courage to chase their dreams.” (Author biography).

Copies of the book will be available for purchase, which he will be happy to sign after the talk.

Broken Heart Cover resize

Listen to Travel Writer Tomislav Perko at the Central Library

A few weeks ago, we had a great pleasure to host Tomislav Perko’s inspiring talk at the Central Library. We had an amazing crowd who listened to Tom’s every word, watched his cool videos and asked many many questions.

For those who missed this fun and informative event, we are grateful to Tom’s amazing generosity to allow us to share the visual presentation (the slides below and his VIDEO) and the SOUND RECORDING OF THE EVENING.

Originally from Croatia, Tomislav Perko left a career as a stockbroker in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and decided to follow his dream to travel the world.

100 days of spring coverHe hitchhiked, slept in parks, volunteered, played the guitar on the street, worked odd jobs, sailed across the Indian ocean on a 13-meter boat, hung out with Maasai warriors in Kenya and shamans in the Amazon jungle. Five years later, he published a book “1000 Days of Spring” and continues travelling to talk about his adventures. Having recently arrived in New Zealand, we were happy to welcome Tomislav to the Central Library where he shared his amazing experience with a captive audience.  Whether you are thinking of setting off on an adventure of your own or just enjoy listening and reading about other people’s, this presentation is sure to inspire.

 

An evening with travel writer Tomislav Perko

100 days of spring cover It is with great pleasure that Wellington City Libraries will be hosting an evening with travel writer Tomislav Perko on Thursday 12th February 2015 at 6.00pm on the ground floor at the Central Library.

Originally from Croatia, Tomislav Perko left a career as a stockbroker in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and decided to follow his dream to travel the world.

He hitchhiked, slept in parks, volunteered, played the guitar on the street, worked odd jobs, sailed across the Indian ocean on a 13-meter boat, hung out with Maasai warriors in Kenya and shamans in the Amazon jungle. Five years later, he published a book “1000 Days of Spring” and continues travelling to talk about his adventures. Having recently arrived in New Zealand, we are happy to welcome Tomislav to the Central Library where he will share his amazing experience with a captive audience.

Tomislav will be in conversation about his book and will be available for questions.
This is a free event, and his book will be available for purchase and signing.

Whether you are thinking of setting off on an adventure of your own or just enjoy listening and reading about other people’s, this is an evening sure to inspire.

Tomislav Perko

I love reading with my Mum and Dad – Books for families

It’s family reading time! Share your hobbies and favourite books, and enjoy the laughter and joy they create.

For engine and speed lovers:
Syndetics book coverSupercars / [written by Mark Hillsdon].
“Your heart is pumping faster to the revs and roars of the engines. Yes, the love of cars is in the big and small boys’ gene.” (Staff review)

Syndetics book coverTop Gear : the cool 500 : the coolest cars ever made / Matt Master.
“Ever since Karl Benz first powered up his Patent-Motorwagen in 1885, man has salivated and swooned over automobiles. And none more so than the motoring fanatics at Top Gear Magazine, who have test-driven, critiqued and worshipped some of the finest cars in motoring history.” (Library catalogue)

For the creative science fantasists:
Syndetics book coverEnder’s game / Orson Scott Card.
“Six-year-old Ender Wiggins, a star pupil in Battle School, suddenly finds himself in a real war when he’s chosen to lead Earth’s people to victory in an interstellar battle against insectoid aliens.” (Adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverAirborn / Kenneth Oppel.Airborn
“A swashbuckling new fantasy by the bestselling author of the Silverwing trilogy. In the early 20th century, a young orphan serves as a cabin boy aboard an airship and is witness to life-and-death battles in the sea and above land.” (Syndetics summary)

For those with unstoppable feet and adventurous minds:
Syndetics book coverThe world is waiting for you / Barbara Kerley.
“”What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question kids get asked over and over. But very few connections are made for kids between the present and the future. This book shows kids a pathway from their current interests and talents to a future career or interest. And in so doing, it also encourages adventure, exploration, and discovery, three core principles of National Geographic’s mission. It’s a celebration of possibility–so simple and so profound.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book cover125 years : the moments, the people, the discoveries that changed the world.
“A collection of memorable National Geographic programs to celebrate 125 years of the society.” (Syndetics summary)

For the colour and flavour cultivators:
Syndetics book coverPasta sauce! : grow your own ingredients / Cassie Liversidge.
“K-Gr 4-Kids interested in digging into this project will need to bring an engaged grown-up along for the ride, but it shouldn’t be hard to find one. Adorable, friendly vegetables take readers on a chapter-by-chapter guide through each ingredient in the garden: tomatoes, onions, basil, peppers, and garlic. Supplies for growing each one are laid out, and step-by-step instructions follow, with a few hilarious veggie jokes interspersed throughout. The introduction provides a “rough guide” for when to sow and harvest, but makes the wise recommendation to check the local weather. Some terms are defined while others, like “worm tea” and “wormery” are not. The pasta-sauce recipe is a little vague at times, using “about ten big handfuls” and “a bunch” as measurements. Each step is illustrated with photos and includes instructions for kids to cut onions and garlic, but recommend asking an adult to help cut the pepper. In spite of a few inconsistencies, this is a fun concept in an attractive package that could get kids growing and cooking their own food.” (Adapted from School Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverGrow your own plants / [Alan Titchmarsh].
“Using a variety of simple propagation techniques, learn how to grow your own plants for free. Alan Titchmarsh shows how to sow seed, take leaf and root cuttings, divide shrubs, and how to promote growth in your young plants. He covers all the essentials and provides inspirational ideas for filling your garden with flowers, shrubs, trees and vegetables, all grown from scratch.” (Syndetics summary)

International fashion and flair

Summer has finally hit, and it’s time to start thinking about holiday destinations! However, if an international holiday is beyond the realms of your budget this season,  you can still dress in seasonal city style with these guides to fashion, style and elegance in the globe’s most chic destinations.

Syndetics book coverParis-New York : design fashion culture, 1925-1940 / Museum of the City of New York.
“Paris/New York explores architectures, urbanism, art, decorative arts, industrial design, fashion, cuisine. travel and jazz to provide a complete picture of the cities’ accomplishments in this astoundingly productive period between the two World Wars. Twelve essays by leading French and American scholars and 250 illustrations vividly re-create the contributions of the era’s legendary figures.”–BOOK JACKET.

Syndetics book coverThe essence of style : how the French invented high fashion, fine food, chic cafés, style, sophistication, and glamour / Joan DeJean.
What makes fashionistas willing to pay a small fortune for a particular designer accessory — a luxe handbag, for example?  Why are diamonds the status symbol gemstone, instantly signifying wealth, power, and even emotional commitment?One of the foremost authorities on seventeenth-century French culture provides the answer to these and other fascinating questions in her account of how, at one glittering moment in history, the French under Louis XIV set the standards of sophistication, style, and glamour that still rule our lives today. Written with wit, dash, and lan by an author who knows this astonishing true story better than virtually anyone, The Essence of Style will delight fans of history and everybody who wonders about the elusive definition of good taste. – adapted from Global Books in Print.

Syndetics book coverCitystyle : a field guide to global fashion capitals / [editor-in-chief, Heather Corcoran].
“City Style is a guide to the world’s most fashionable cities, curated by their most stylish residents. From the runways of New York and Paris to the streets of Tokyo and the London club scene, our expert guides give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the local look and how to get it, complete with required reading (magazines and blogs), street style photos and a comprehensive designer guide featuring photos. In addition, interviews with designers, stylists and other industry insiders answer the question: What makes each city uniquely stylish?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCity of style : exploring Los Angeles fashion from Bohemian to rock / Melissa Magsaysay ; original photography by Donato Sardella.
“City of Style” is a visual ride and intellectual approach through L.A.’s fashion past, the mark it’s making on the world today, and the individuals who fuel this influential style. – Global Books in Print.

Syndetics book coverStyle city : how London became a fashion capital / Robert O’Byrne ; consultant, Annette Worsley-Taylor.
“Learn how fashion developed in Britain from the early 1970s, when designer fashion scarcely existed, to the present day, when London ranks alongside Paris, New York and Milan as a global fashion capital.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashion, Italian style / Valerie Steele.
“Italian fashion – which encompasses designers and companies from Armani to Zegna – has become a dominant force in the fashion world. This stunning book discusses the rise of Italian fashion since 1945, the development of the Italian Look from the late 1970s to the present, and the many great designers who have contributed to Italy’s fashion triumphs.” “This book is the catalogue for an exhibition, sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission, at The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City from February 11, 2003 through April 12, 2003.”–BOOK JACKET.

Syndetics book coverNew York look book : a gallery of street fashion / by Amy Larocca & Jake Chessum.
“Since 2004, “New York” magazine has been celebrating New York City style in a feature called The Look Book: a centerfold with its subject shot at random anywhere and everywhere across Gotham, along with an interview about the subject’s personal style. “The New York Look Book” collects more than 200 of the best Look Book features, and a special Where to Find It? section offers readers not only store listings, but also an insider’s guide to New York’s distinctive neighborhoods.” (Syndetics summary)

Doctor Livingstone, I presume? and other famous explorers

Need some motivation to go out and do great deeds today?  These books containing various heroic exploits may just provide the added push you need!

Syndetics book coverResolution : the story of Captain Cook’s second voyage of discovery / Peter Aughton.
“On 13 July 1772, a year and a day after James Cook had returned to England having claimed Australia and New Zealand for the British crown, he set sail again on another voyage to the Pacific with two ships, the Resolution and the Adventure, to complete his search for lands in the southern hemisphere. This three-year venture still remains the greatest exploratory voyage ever undertaken in the far southern waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. No other sailing ship has ever been further south through the ice. This was an epic voyage. The Pacific Ocean, covering more than a quarter of the earth’s surface, still had great lonely expanses where no ship had ever sailed. Numerous small islands had been spotted over the previous 250 years but nearly all had been sightings and not landings; even of the landings many were unvisited since their first discovery. Fresh food and water supplies were always a problem – and scurvy always a worry, in spite of the eighty barrels of sauerkraut they took with them. They also took invaluable instruments supplied by the Board of Longitude, not least a copy of Harrison’s fourth marine chronometer.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverRace to the end : Amundsen, Scott, and the attainment of the South Pole / Ross D.E. MacPhee.
“Between 1910 and 1912, parties led by Norway’s Roald Amundsen and England’s Robert Scott made simultaneous attempts to be the first to reach the South Pole. Both parties attained the pole (Amundsen’s first, Scott’s second), but only Amundsen and his comrades returned alive. In a handsome volume that accompanies the American Museum of Natural History’s exhibit on the Scott and Amundsen expeditions, curator MacPhee sheds new light on this well-known story of triumph and tragedy. His text is complemented by a treasure trove of photos, maps, journals, and artifacts (some seen here for the first time). Seamlessly combining high adventure with meticulous documentation, this book will have broad appeal. Includes five contemporary panoramas showing Scott’s journey, as well as two vertical maps.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExplorers : the most exciting voyages of discovery : from the African expeditions to the lunar landing / Andrea de Porti.The Explorers: The Most Exciting Voyages of Discovery — From the African Expeditions to the Lunar Landing
“Journalist De Porti not only explains the reasons why these apparently sane people left safe havens to explore the world and beyond, but supplies hundreds of period photographs and illustrations in gatefolds that create posters that explain the length and breadth of 53 journeys into the unknown. The seemingly sane people include Charles Lindbergh, Rosita Forbes, Richard Burton, John Speke, Robert Peary, Howard Carter, Freya Stark, Neil Armstrong and Yuri Gargarin, whom De Porti puts in context with their various and sundry motives, compatriots, beasts of burden, mistakes, and triumphs.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverXanadu : Marco Polo and Europe’s discovery of the East / John Man.
“Marco Polo’s journey from Venice, through Europe and most of Asia, to the court of Kublai Khan in China is one of the most audacious in history. His account of his experiences, known simply as The Travels, uncovered an entirely new world of emperors and concubines, great buildings — ‘stately pleasure domes’ in Coleridge’s dreaming; huge armies and imperial riches. His book shaped the West’s understanding of China for hundreds of years. John Man travelled in Marco’s footsteps to Xanadu, in search of the truth behind Marco’s stories; to separate legend from fact. Drawing on his own journey, archaeology and archival study, John Man paints a vivid picture of the man behind the myth and the true story of the great court of Kublai Khan.” (Global Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverThe race to the New World : Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and a lost history of discovery / Douglas Hunter.
“It’s hard to imagine that there is still uncharted territory in the history of the New World’s discovery. But Hunter indeed sails unsullied waters, offering an intriguing and surprising new twist on the old subject. Other historians have paralleled the voyages of Columbus and Cabot, Italian explorers for hire determined to find a westward route to Asia, but Hunter interweaves their stories and places them firmly into the complex geopolitical landscape of Renaissance Europe. Insisting that one cannot understand the career and motivations of one without understanding the career and motivations of the other, he analyzes the significant influence and impact these two rivals had upon one another. As this fascinating historical detective story unfolds, new pieces of an old puzzle are put into place, providing fresh perspective on the traditional discovery narrative. This important contribution to the scholarship of exploration history should also please readers who enjoy well-researched revisionist histories like Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower (2006).” (Drawn from Booklist, courtesy of Syndetics)

The Joys of Armchair Travel

Can’t afford to go on a holiday? No problem, explore the world through travel books in the comfort of home! They’re creatively written, and often more interesting and comprehensive than travel guides that tend to gloss over certain experiences. Still wishing it was you on a beach? We have all the best travel horror stories that will make you think twice!

Some great authors to try:

Looking for a reason to stay home:

Syndetics book coverSod abroad: why you’d be mad to leave the comfort of your own home / Michael Moran.
“Ok, its not absolutely certain that you’ll catch a fatal bout of food-poisoning or be banged up in jail as a drugs mule. But you might. Why would a sane person risk it? Holidays aren’t economical, they arent ecological, and they’re not much bloody fun. With travel tips, handy warnings and lists of stuff you can only do at home, Sod Abroad will help you kick the holiday habit. Instead, why not spend a fortnight on your sofa, in your home, watching your telly (/reading this book), and eating food that you can actually pronounce.” – (adapted from Fishpond.co.nz summary)

Syndetics book coverDon’t go there! : the travel detective’s essential guide to the must-miss places of the world / Peter Greenberg ; Sarika Chawla, chief research editor.
“We’ve all suffered through bad vacations: tourist traps, endless lines, rundown hotels, and the worst airports on earth. Before you book your next trip, get all of the facts-that “idyllic” beachfront hotel could really be one of the world’s hellholes.In this follow-up to his New York Times bestseller, The Complete Travel Detective Bible, Peter Greenberg shares his experiences and hard-won knowledge of where not to go and why, so you can make sure your big vacation isn’t to a dismal destination.From dangerous roads, crime-ridden cities, and countries overrun with disease to depressing destinations, polluted beaches, and places that (literally) stink, the ultimate travel expert leaves no stone unturned, no garbage heap unexplored, to list the locations you should forget even exist.Backed up by information he has been compiling for years, Greenberg unapologetically exposes misrepresented resorts, corrupt countries, and cringe-worthy cruise ships so that travelers can confidently pack their bags and avoid vacation tragedy. Book jacket.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover101 places not to see before you die / Catherine Price.
“From the Grover Cleveland Service Area to the Beijing Museum of Tap Water to, of course, Euro Disney, 101 Places Not to See Before You Die brings you lively tales of the most ill-conceived museums, worst theme parks, and grossest Superfund sites that you’ll ever have the pleasure of not visiting. Journalist Catherine Price travels the globe for stories of misadventure to which any seasoned traveler can relate-including guest entries from writers such as Nicholas Kristof, Mary Roach, Michael Pollan, Rebecca Solnit, and A. J. Jacobs-and along the way she discovers that the worst experiences are often the ones we’ll never forget.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover101 places not to visit : / Adam Russ.
“101 Places Not to Visit” has it all: dull attractions, pointless festivals, sites famous for their biohazards or radioactivity, tips on how to avoid marriage to locals desperate to escape, and more. Brimming with vitriol and useful information, this eye-opening guide will have you canceling your next vacation. Stopping at every continent, this cautionary companion offers a look at the places that tourist organizations would rather you didn’t know about. Refreshingly abusive, it makes no effort whatsoever to be fair or even-handed. Each entry begins with a unique point system that awards stars for “Boredom Factor” and “Likelihood of Fatal Visit.” This is followed by a history of the destination, a look at its culture or lack of it, non-attractions, and any culinary specialties you might be expected to endure. Throughout, color photos and special features draw attention to particularly ghastly places, people, and events. Don’t leave home without it…or, perhaps, don’t leave home at all.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

Syndetics book coverOverboard: the stories cruise lines don’t want told / Gwyn Topham.
A cruise was once the trip of a lifetime: a byword for refinement, luxury, romance, the millionaire lifestyle. No longer. Boats are bigger and brasher, and every year more and more people of all ages and walks of life are clambering aboard to join the party. But are they safe? Out at sea, there are no police. Many cruise ships fly flags of convenience, sailing in murky legal waters. Reports of disappearances, disease, death and debauchery are becoming alarmingly frequent. Can you be sure your dream holiday, or your ship, won’t end up on the rocks? Gwyn Topham, travel editor of Guardian Unlimited, talks to crew and passengers in Australia and around the world to find out what really happens on the high seas. In tales spanning ships from the Fairstar to the QM2, he discovers pirates and pollution, missing persons and mutinies, colourful captains and crew, and passengers whose antics would make your hair curl. You cannot afford to get aboard until you have read Overboard: the stories cruise lines don’t want told.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Titanic awards : celebrating the worst of travel / Doug Lansky.The Titanic Awards: Celebrating the Worst of Travel
“From the worst airport layout to the most confusing subway system to the most overrated tourist attraction, Lansky looks at flawed travel destinations with a gimlet eye and a sense of the absurd.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAround the world by mouse / Harry Pearson.
“Inspired by the efforts of 1950s comic writer Alex Atkinson who wrote a travelogue about the USA without bothering to visit it, Harry Pearson embarks on an epic trip around the globe without leaving his office except for the obvious necessities (snacks, bathroom breaks and removing an electrocuted mouse from inside the toaster). Using the Internet, he traverses an incredible virtual world where natural wonders are rendered all the more remarkable by the florid language of computer translation programmes (“Glorious opinions of the provincial topography can be had from our high-up windows”). By train, car, motorbike, and yacht, as well as homepage, live cam, and blog, the author traverses the planet; fights off wave after wave of Spam-hucksters (“Want to make love like you were a teenager again?” What, you mean, on my own?); barters with locals using the recognized currency of the cyberspace–trivia; tries very hard not to be distracted from the appalling situation in Tajikstan by the news that a group of men in Michigan regularly recreate the great medieval battles using thousands of Playmobile figures; and along the way learns about truth, beauty, and why his septic tank is a ticking time bomb.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Where in the World? Guidebooks

Travel guidebooks for June include:

Syndetics book cover100 countries, 5000 ideas : where to go – when to go – what to see – what to do / [prepared by the Book Division, National Geographic Society] ; foreword by Rudy Maxa.
“100 Countries, 5000 Ideas highlights 100 must visit countries from Antarctica to Zimbabwe. This travel planner features more than 200 color images as well as detailed maps. The guide also contains specific charts and sections, disseminating important travel information such as climate, language, currency, and required travel documents”–Provided by publisher. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverTips on tipping : a global guide to gratuity etiquette / Carole French & Reg Butler.
“What do you tip the bellboy in Botswana? Should you give a gratuity on top of the service charge in a Parisian restaurant? Is it good practice to pay a Casablanca snake charmer if you wish to take his photo? Everyone who travels, whether for business or pleasure, has suffered the embarrassment caused by not knowing when or how much to tip. Now Bradt’s Tipping offers the answers in a convenient, pocket-sized guide covering more than 150 countries…. Carole French is a BBC-trained journalist, former newspaper business editor, a respected travel and real-estate journalist and the author of several guidebooks. The late Reg Butler enjoyed a long and varied career in journalism.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBack roads : Australia / contributors, Jarrod Bates … [et al.].
The DK Eyewitness Back Roads Australia driving holiday guide will take you via scenic routes to discover charming Australian towns, local restaurants and intimate places to stay. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe rough guide to India / written and researched by David Abram … [et al.] ; with additional contributions from Edward Aves.
“A country of breathtakingly diverse landscape, history and culture, India offers unique experiences from peaceful, 1000-year-old temples to chaotic, twenty-first-century cities. The Rough Guide to India gets to the very heart of this fascinating place”–Back cover. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAll aboard : the complete North American train travel guide / Jim Loomis.
“All Aboard – here completely revised and updated – is much more than just a mile-by-mile scenery guide for train travelers. Written for both veterans and novices of rail travel, it will make any trip run smoothly and enjoyably with its insightful tips and information about how railroads operate. Author and expert rail traveler Jim Loomis offers not only well-tested itineraries based on his intricate knowledge of North American routes and the best times to ride them, but he also provides invaluable advice on the nitty-gritty: booking trips, finding the lowest fares, knowing which onboard staff members to tip and how much, packing for an overnight trip, and even maneuvering in those cramped sleeping-car bathrooms. Book jacket.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBali & Lombok / [written and researched by Ryan Ver Berkmoes, Iain Stewart].
New edition of the best-selling guide to Bali and Lombok on the market. Extended up-front planning information with recommendations by region, month and interest. ‘What’s new’ section for return visitors, plus expanded coverage of the Gili Islands and other emerging hot spots. (Syndetics)

Random Film Festival Factoids: Certified Copy

Certified Copy (imdb page) netted Juliette Binoche the Best Actress award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Not too much happens in this story of an antique shop owner (Binoche) who has the chance to show a writer and art historian (played by William Shimell, who is actually an opera singer), around a village (Lucignano) in the Arezzo Province in Tuscany for a day. At least that’s on the face of it: the film also talks about what it means to be an original and what it means to be a copy. Is being a copy less worthy?

The slow, conversational nature of the film suggested a Before Sunrise for another generation, swapping out Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Vienna (even down to the pressing nature of train timetables, which wait for no existential discussion).

Some random facts and links:

Read about the background to Certified Copy in ‘Reality Check’ by Jonathan Romney in the October 2009 issue of Sight and Sound (you will need your library card number to access it).

This is director Abbas Kiarostami’s first non-Iranian film: if you’re interested in his previous work, the library has got several of his films, including The Wind Will Carry Us, for example.

Arezzo, the home of “She” (Binoche) and also incidentally of the poet Petrarch, also features in Roberto Begnini’s 1997 film Life is Beautiful.

The Cannes Film Festival website has a detailed archives section dating back to 1946 (which included, for example, Brief Encounter (which the library has), based on the play Still Life by Noel Coward).

If you would like to do a retrospective viewing of Juliette Binoche films, the library can offer you this selection.

Wishing you could be in Tuscany? The library has many titles to tempt you, from a collection of aerial photographs (Tuscany: Flying High), through guidebooks, to Frances Mayes’ latest effort, Every Day in Tuscany, the sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun (the book is nothing like the romantic comedy film of the same name starring Diane Lane, apart from the renovations). Have a look in the geography and travel sections at a branch near you.