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Blue Highways: A Journey into America
Heat-Moon, William Least
A masterful view of the diversity of America, told via the author's 13,000-mile, 38-state, automobile trek down the country's fascinating backroads. His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience.
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
Many authors have attempted to describe what happiness is: fewer have shown us where it is, what we can learn from the inhabitants of different cultures, and how changing your location can change your mood. Now in this enlightening book, Eric Weiner, a self-described mope and longtime foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, travels to some of the world's most contented places. Full of inspired moments and earned epiphanies, this riveting book will make you happier as you visit: India, where happiness and misery live side-by-side; Bhutan, where the king has made Gross National Happiness a national priority; Switzerland, where residents believe envy is the great enemy of happiness; Iceland, which, despite being cold, remote, and full of failure, is among the world's happiest places - and for good reason, the author finds.
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey
Rinker Buck’s The Oregon Trail is an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way - in a covered wagon with a team of mules - that has captivated readers, critics, and booksellers from coast to coast. Simultaneously a majestic journey across the West, a significant work of history, and a moving personal saga, Buck’s chronicle is a “laugh-out-loud masterpiece” (Willamette Week) that “so ensnares the emotions it becomes a tear-jerker at its close” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) and “will leave you daydreaming and hungry to see this land” (The Boston Globe).
Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland
A brilliantly funny exploration of the Sunshine State from the man who knows it best: Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry. We never know what will happen next in Florida. We know only that, any minute now, something will. Every few months, Dave Barry gets a call from some media person wanting to know, "What the hell is wrong with Florida?" Somehow, the state's acquired an image as a subtropical festival of stupid, and as a loyal Floridian, Dave begs to differ. Join him as he goes in hunt of the legendary Skunk Ape; hobnobs with the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs; and visits Cassadaga, the psychic capital of the world, to have his dog's aura read (apparently, she's "very spiritual"). Hitch a ride for the non-stop thrills of alligator-wrestling ("the gators display the same fighting spirit as a Barcalounger"), the hair-raising spectacle of a clothing-optional bar in Key West, and the manly manliness of the Machine Gun Experience in Miami. It's the most hilarious book yet from "the funniest damn writer in the whole country" (Carl Hiaasen, and he should know). By the end, you'll have to admit that whatever else you might think about Florida - you can never say it's boring.
Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell's 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon
On May 24, 1869, a one-armed Civil War veteran named John Wesley Powell and a ragtag band of nine mountain men embarked on the last great quest in the American West. No one had ever explored the fabled Grand Canyon; to adventurers of that era it was a region almost as mysterious as Atlantis - and as perilous. The ten men set out down the mighty Colorado River in wooden rowboats. Six survived. Drawing on rarely examined diaries and journals, Down the Great Unknown is the first book to tell the full, true story.
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
Walking is the best way to experience the romance, history, and off-the-beaten-path pleasures of Paris (and life itself, perhaps). In that spirit, the author of the popular "Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas" reveals the most beautiful walks through Paris.
Fifty Places to Sail Before You Die
In this beautiful guide, sailing experts reveal their picks for the world's greatest cruising and racing waters to author Chris Santella.
Fifty Places to Bike Before You Die
Fifty Places to Bike Before You Die is the ninth addition to the bestselling Fifty Places series by Chris Santella. Biking has grown increasingly popular in recent years, as both a leisure and an extreme exercise activity, and Santella covers trips for cyclists of every level. Fifty Places to Bike covers environments as varied as the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, the Indochina Trail in Vietnam, and the urban jungle of New York City. With a healthy mix of international and national locations, the 50 chapters capture the breathtaking vistas cyclists will enjoy around the world. As always, the places are brought to life with more than 40 stunning color photographs.
With Assassination Vacation, Sarah Vowell takes us on a road trip like no other - a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage. From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism. We learn about the jinx that was Robert Todd Lincoln (present at the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and witness the politicking that went into the making of the Lincoln Memorial. The resulting narrative is much more than an entertaining and informative travelogue - it is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including literature, architecture, sculpture, and - the author's favorite - historical tourism. Though the themes of loss and violence are explored and we make detours to see how the Republican Party became the Republican Party, there are all kinds of lighter diversions along the way into the lives of the three presidents and their assassins, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, and a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
Troost, J. Maarten
After racking up useless graduate degrees and muddling through a series of temp jobs, author Troost decided the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the Earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better. This is his hilarious story.
Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York
For native Brooklynite Roz Chast, adjusting to life in the suburbs (where people own trees!?) was surreal. But she recognized that for her kids, the reverse was true. On trips into town, they would marvel at the strange world of Manhattan: its gum-wad-dotted sidewalks, honeycombed streets, and "those West Side Story things" (fire escapes) Their wonder inspired Going Into Town, part playful guide, part New York stories, and part love letter to the city, told through Chast's laugh-out-loud, touching, and true cartoons.
Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World
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Michener, James A.
Spain is an immemorial land like no other, one that James A. Michener, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and celebrated citizen of the world, came to love as his own. Iberia is Michener's enduring nonfiction tribute to his cherished second home. In the fresh and vivid prose that is his trademark, he not only reveals the celebrated history of bullfighters and warrior kings, painters and processions, cathedrals and olive orchards, he also shares the intimate, often hidden country he came to know, where the congeniality of living souls is thrust against the dark weight of history. Wild, contradictory, passionately beautiful, this is Spain as experienced by a master writer.
Gessler, Diana Hollingsworth
Cobblestone streets leading to perfectly preserved historic homes. Intricate wrought-iron gates opening to lush, fragrant gardens. A skyline of steeples and a river harbor bustling with schooners and sailboats. Charleston is one of America's most charming cities. In vibrant watercolors and detailed sketches, artist Diana Gessler captures the beauty and riches that make Charleston so unique: White Point Gardens, the Spoleto Festival, Rainbow Row, Waterfront Park, Fort Moultrie, the beaches of Sullivan's Island, sumptuous Lowcountry cuisine, and handmade sweetgrass baskets. Full of fascinating details - on everything from the art of early entertaining, the city's inspired architectural and garden designs, and George Washington's Southern tour to famous Charlestonians and the flags of Sumter - Very Charleston celebrates the city, the Lowcountry, the people, and our history. Hand-lettered and full color throughout, Very Charleston includes maps, an index, and a handy appendix of sites.
Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler's Journey Home
Part memoir and part philosophical look at why we travel, filled with stories of Matt Kepnes' adventures abroad, an exploration of wanderlust and what it truly means to be a nomad. New York Times bestselling author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, Matthew Kepnes knows what it feels like to get the travel bug. After meeting some travelers on a trip to Thailand in 2005, he realized that living life meant more than simply meeting society's traditional milestones, such as buying a car, paying a mortgage, and moving up the career ladder. Inspired by them, he set off for a year-long trip around the world before he started his career. He finally came home after ten years. Over 500,000 miles, 1,000 hostels, and 90 different countries later, Matt has compiled his favorite stories, experiences, and insights into this travel manifesto. Filled with the color and perspective that only hindsight and self-reflection can offer, these stories get to the real questions at the heart of wanderlust. Travel questions that transcend the basic "how-to," and plumb the depths of what drives us to travel - and what extended travel around the world can teach us about life, ourselves, and our place in the world.Ten Years a Nomad is for travel junkies, the travel-curious, and anyone interested in what you can learn about the world when you don’t have a cable bill for a decade or spend a month not wearing shoes living on the beach in Thailand.
River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (P.S.)
In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident. Hessler taught English and American literature at the local college, but it was his students who taught him about the complex processes of understanding that take place when one is immersed in a radically different society. Poignant, thoughtful, funny, and enormously compelling, River Town is an unforgettable portrait of a city that is seeking to understand both what it was and what it someday will be.
"[A] smart, evocative and sharply observed memoir . . . Giridharadas's narrative gusto makes the familiar fresh." - The Wall Street Journal Anand Giridharadas sensed something was afoot as his plane from America prepared to land in Bombay. An elderly passenger looked at him and said, "We're all trying to go that way," pointing to the rear. "You, you're going this way?"Giridharadas was returning to the land of his ancestors, amid an unlikely economic boom. But he was more interested in its cultural upheaval, as a new generation has sought to reconcile old traditions and customs with new ambitions and dreams. In India Calling, he brings to life the people and the dilemmas of India today, through the prism of his emigre family history and his childhood memories of India. He introduces us to entrepreneurs, radicals, industrialists, and religious seekers, but, most of all, to Indian families. Through their stories, and his own, he paints an intimate portrait of a country becoming modern while striving to remain itself.
Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, the Last Great American Frontier
In 1899, railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman organized a most unusual summer voyage to the wilds of Alaska: He converted a steamship into a luxury "floating university," populated by some of America's best and brightest scientists and writers, including the anti-capitalist eco-prophet John Muir. Those aboard encountered a land of immeasurable beauty and impending environmental calamity. More than a hundred years later, Alaska is still America's most sublime wilderness, both the lure that draws one million tourists annually on Inside Passage cruises and as a natural resources larder waiting to be raided. As ever, it remains a magnet for weirdos and dreamers.Armed with Dramamine and an industrial-strength mosquito net, Mark Adams sets out to retrace the 1899 expedition. Traveling town to town by water, Adams ventures three thousand miles north through Wrangell, Juneau, and Glacier Bay, then continues west into the colder and stranger regions of the Aleutians and the Arctic Circle. Along the way, he encounters dozens of unusual characters (and a couple of very hungry bears) and investigates how lessons learned in 1899 might relate to Alaska's current struggles in adapting to the pressures of a changing climate and world.
The Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart
In the tradition of Elizabeth Gilbert and Ruth Reichl, former New Yorker editor Emily Nunn chronicles her journey to heal old wounds and find comfort in the face of loss through travel, home-cooked food, and the company of friends and family.One life-changing night, reeling from her beloved brother’s sudden death, a devastating breakup with her handsome engineer fiancé and eviction from the apartment they shared, Emily Nunn had lost all sense of family, home, and financial security. After a few glasses of wine, heartbroken and unmoored, Emily - an avid cook and professional food writer - poured her heart out on Facebook. The next morning she woke up with an awful hangover and a feeling she’d made a terrible mistake - only to discover she had more friends than she knew, many of whom invited her to come visit and cook with them while she put her life back together. Thus began the Comfort Food Tour.Searching for a way forward, Emily travels the country, cooking and staying with relatives and friends. She also travels back to revisit scenes from her dysfunctional Southern upbringing, dominated by her dramatic, unpredictable mother and her silent, disengaged father. Her wonderfully idiosyncratic aunts and uncles and cousins come to life in these pages, all part of the rich Southern story in which past and present are indistinguishable, food is a source of connection and identity, and a good story is often preferred to a not-so-pleasant truth. But truth, pleasant or not, is what Emily Nunn craves, and with it comes an acceptance of the losses she has endured, and a sense of hope for the future.In the salty snap of a single Virginia ham biscuit, in the sour tang of Grandmother’s Lemon Cake, Nunn experiences the healing power of comfort food - and offers up dozens of recipes for the wonderful meals that saved her life. With the biting humor of David Sedaris and the emotional honesty of Cheryl Strayed, Nunn delivers a moving account of her descent into darkness and her gradual, hard-won return to the living.
There are nearly 1,400 known varieties of wine grapes in the world—from altesse to zierfandler—but 80 percent of the wine we drink is made from only 20 grapes. In Godforsaken Grapes, Jason Wilson looks at how that came to be and embarks on a journey to discover what we miss.Stemming from his own growing obsession, Wilson moves far beyond the “noble grapes,” hunting down obscure and underappreciated wines from Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, France, Italy, the United States, and beyond. In the process, he looks at why these wines fell out of favor (or never gained it in the first place), what it means to be obscure, and how geopolitics, economics, and fashion have changed what we drink. A combination of travel memoir and epicurean adventure, Godforsaken Grapes is an entertaining love letter to wine.
The Nature Instinct: Relearning Our Lost Intuition for the Inner Workings of the Natural World
Readers of master outdoorsman Tristan Gooley have learned that the world is filled with clues to look for—we can use the Big Dipper to tell time, for example, and a budding flower to find south. But what about the innate survival instincts that told Gooley to move on one night, just as he was about to make camp? Everything looked perfect, but something felt wrong. When Gooley returned to his abandoned campsite to search for clues, there they were: All of the tree trunks were slightly bent. The ground had already shifted once in a storm—and could easily shift again, becoming treacherous in heavy rain.The Nature Instinct shows us how Gooley and other expert observers—from hunters in the English countryside to the Pygmy people in the Congo—have recovered and rekindled this lost “sixth sense;” a subconscious,deeper understanding of our surroundings. By training ourselves through slow, careful observation, we too can unlock this kind of intuition—for finding the forest’s edge when deep in the woods, or knowing when a wild animal might pose danger—without even having to stop to think about it.
Safari: A Memoir of a Worldwide Travel Pioneer
Geoffrey Kent had nothing but an East African shilling and an old Land Rover when he pioneered the luxury tent safari business in 1962 with his parents in Nairobi. Today Kent takes thousands of adventurers, hungry for extraordinary and life-changing experiences, to the planet’s wildest frontiers.In his gripping memoir, this “Indiana Jones-meets-James Bond” entrepreneur recounts his phenomenal journey. Kent’s life reads like a work of fiction: growing up barefoot in the African bush, riding his motorcycle across the continent, and ultimately becoming the most sought-after travel professional in the world. Safari is a breathtaking and exhilarating trip to some of the most exotic and stunning locations on earth.
Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America's National Parks
"In this remarkable journey, Mark Woods captures the essence of our National Parks: their serenity and majesty, complexity and vitality--and their power to heal." --Ken BurnsMany childhood summers, Mark Woods piled into a station wagon with his parents and two sisters and headed to America's national parks. Mark’s most vivid childhood memories are set against a backdrop of mountains, woods, and fireflies in places like Redwood, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon national parks. On the eve of turning fifty and a little burned-out, Mark decided to reconnect with the great outdoors. He'd spend a year visiting the national parks. He planned to take his mother to a park she'd not yet visited and to re-create his childhood trips with his wife and their iPad-generation daughter. But then the unthinkable happened: his mother was diagnosed with cancer, given just months to live. Mark had initially intended to write a book about the future of the national parks, but Lassoing the Sun grew into something more: a book about family, the parks, the legacies we inherit and the ones we leave behind.
Never Can Say Goodbye
Botton, Sari (Edt)
The follow-up to the award-winning anthology Goodbye to All That, Never Can Say Goodbye is an exuberant celebration of New York, featuring contributions from luminaries such as Elizabeth Gilbert, Susan Orlean, Rosanne Cash, Nick Flynn, Whoopi Goldberg, Phillip Lopate, Owen King, Amy Sohn, Alexander Chee, and many others. These essays take place in dive bars and museums, cinemas and old restaurants, horse-drawn carriages and subway cars, capturing the true essence of life in New York. Never Can Say Goodbye is ultimately a love letter to the Big Apple and a must-have for every lover of New York - regardless of whether or not you call the city home.
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