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Feeling the desire to explore closer to home or travel to far flung places? We have a selection of titles to satisfy your wanderlust. Whether you’re planning a great adventure or reading about your favourite parts of the world, have a browse of our Travel selection.
A triumph over adversity tale of an idyllic life growing grapes in France going terribly, terribly wrong. The author is left to cope with total disaster and my goodness she does … What a woman.
The thought of travelling across the Sahara is not the most appealing; sand, sand and more sand comes to mind but as usual Michael Plain manages to find the weird and wonderful as he makes the journey in extremes of temperature and through gruelling terrain. Filled with wonderful photos of the journey from photographer Basil Pao, this is a far easier way of experiencing one of the harshest places on earth.
November 2011 Guest Editor Victoria Hislop selects The Art of Travel... Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel is a favourite work of non-fiction and only one of several brilliant books by de Botton. His gift, in my view, is his warmth and good humour - he is absolutely brilliant but he does not baffle us with his intellect. He achieves this by diluting complex ideas with wit and levity so that we understand them and even enjoy reading them. I would have studied philosophy at university if the texts books had been written by de Botton. He is a genius and a great communicator - and there is much to be learned from someone who makes complex ideas so comprehensible. The Lovereading view... Offers insights into things that range from holiday romance to hotel mini-bars, airports to sight-seeing.
Travels around the world discovering the origins of the pigments that make dyes and paint – totally fascinating. Spotted with historical fact, anecdotes, vivid descriptions and a deep appreciation of art, this is a wonderful book.
After writing his novel, about Hemingway, Palin decided he wanted to know more about this fascinating man and so set off to visit the places where Hemingway had lived and what had influenced him over the years. His travels take him form the US to Europe to Africa to Cuba. Hemingway certainly packed in some places and Palin’s warmth towards his subject and obvious admiration and fascination shines through. Whether you know much about Hemingway and his novels or not this is a captivating book that will entertain and engross you.
A journey round Ireland to visit every bar that bears the author’s name. What a wonderful idea and what a journey, made unique by its guide. This is not a travelogue but a delightful, highly humorous, warm look at different sides of Ireland, particularly its people who Pete has a wonderful way of describing. This is a must read, a gem which should lead you on to read his other wonderful books.
April 2014 Guest Editor Nicci French on Waterlog. Roger Deakin set out to swim his way through the British Isles: an icy, salty, weedy, murky journey in seas, lakes, rivers, canals, moats, even ditches. The result is a frog’s eye view of strange and wonderful places. It’s also a glorious tribute to the act of wild swimming, which for him (and for me) is a way to find freedom, exhilaration and peace.
April 2012 Guest Editor Paul Torday on South... I read this book only the other day. I can’t believe I’ve overlooked it until now. The story of Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic in 1914 just before war broke out is absolutely compelling. You can imagine yourself with Shackleton and his team, out on the sea ice with their ship being slowly crushed to death by pressure ridges. What amazing heroism, in circumstances that few people could have survived. An object lesson in how to write simply, yet produce powerful prose.
A 2012 World Book Night selection. A true testament to the human will and spirit. Joe Simpson and his climbing partner Simon Yates both showed great courage and strength after Simpson fell and broke his leg descending Siula Grande but it is Simpson’s harrowing account of what happened to him and how against all the odds he got himself back to base camp that will leave the reader in awe and complete admiration. An intense and totally engrossing read. Listen to an audio extract by clicking on the orange arrow below. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson by Random House Audiobooks
After writing two highly praised travel books, Sara Wheeler was accepted by the American government to be the first foreigner on their National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists' and Writers Program. She spent six weeks at the pole and on the edge of the infamous Ross Ice Shelf, as well as another month with the British Antarctic Survey. Terra Incognita is a meditation on the landscape, myths and history of one of the remotest parts of the globe, as well as an encounter with the people who inhabit this region - living in close confinement despite the surrounding acres of white space - and the mechanics of day-to-day life in extraordinary conditions. Through Sara Wheeler, the Antarctic is revealed, in all its seductive mystery.
A 2012 World Book Night selection. After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a few years, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him. But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells, people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and Gardeners' Question Time.
Eric Newby and his wife set off around Ireland on their bikes in the 1980’s simply for the fun of it. Here he writes about their exploits cycling through rain and sunshine and sometimes aided by a pint of Guinness or three. If this doesn’t want to make you visit Ireland and on a bike then nothing else will!!
We all love to travel. We all love escape. Granted, some are more adventurous than others, hankering to cross vast plains of unchartered territory, while the rest of us just want to find a nice hotel somewhere by a crystal blue sea. Whatever your level of wanderlust, there’s something here to inspire, inform and invade your senses. Follow in the footsteps of pioneers, heroes or trusted raconteurs; visit the real settings of favourite works of fiction (See our Reading on Location guide and read great novels set in the place you’re sitting in!); discover off the beaten track getaways; ponder the history of travel itself, laugh at anecdotes of the hapless. In short, by using our Book of the Month recommendations and taking a little stroll around the section, you can discover the world without leaving your fireside chair. Free your mind, they say, and the rest will follow.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T.S. Elliot