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Feeling the desire to 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.
If there's an adventure to be had, it's likely that David Hempleman-Adams has been there first. Ranking alongside Ranulph Fiennes and Chris Bonnington in the pantheon of British explorers, he is the first person in history to achieve what is termed the Adventurers' Grand Slam, by reaching the Geographic and Magnetic North and South Poles as well as climbing the highest peaks on all seven continents. The question Hempleman-Adams is most often asked is, simply: what drives him on? Why risk frostbite pulling a sledge to the North Pole? Why experience the Death Zone on Everest? Why fly in the tiny basket of a precarious balloon across the Atlantic? Is it simply the case that he likes to push himself to the limits, or is there something more to it? No Such Thing as Failure answers these questions and more, uncovering what drives arguably the world's greatest adventurer.
Great Continental Railway Journeys is now a firmly established series on BBC2, following in the illustrious tracks of its predecessor - Great British Railway Journeys. Both series are fronted by ex-politician Michael Portillo and in this European odyssey he travels around continental Europe, using George Bradshaw's 1913 Continental Railway Guide. Now coming up for its fourth instalment this autumn, Portillo guides the train-travelling fan across Europe arriving at a myriad of magical and historically fascinating cities we all dream of travelling to by train. From London, to Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Copenhagen, Oslo, Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin, Monte Carlo, Prague, Munich, Zurich, Rome, Budapest, St Petersburg; all the way down to Constantinople, Haifa and Jerusalem - Portillo describes the great feats of engineering that built the various railway lines connecting Europe and further afield and the men and women who made these journeys famous through their deeds and words.
Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation's heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed.
The world's greatest living explorer, has travelled to some of the most remote, dangerous parts of the globe. Well-known for his experiences at the poles and climbing Everest, he has also endured some of the hottest conditions on the planet, where temperatures regularly exceed 40 degrees and, without water and shelter, death is inevitable.
'Other things in the world are white but for me porcelain comes first.' A handful of clay from a Chinese hillside carries a promise: that mixed with the right materials, it might survive the fire of the kiln, and fuse into porcelain - translucent, luminous, white. Acclaimed writer and potter Edmund de Waal sets out on a quest - a journey that begins in the dusty city of Jingdezhen in China and travels on to Venice, Versailles, Dublin, Dresden, the Appalachian Mountains of South Carolina and the hills of Cornwall to tell the history of porcelain. Along the way, he meets the witnesses to its creation; those who were inspired, made rich or heartsick by it, and the many whose livelihoods, minds and bodies were broken by this obsession. It spans a thousand years and reaches into some of the most tragic moments of recent times.
The extraordinary story of one of the survivors of the infamous 1996 Everest disaster - now made into a film, Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Josh Brolin. Heartstoppingly exciting and ultimately very moving, Left for Dead is a terrific read. Everest is due to be released in the UK on 18 September 2015. Click below to view the trailer.
In Deep South he turns his gaze to a region much closer to his home. Travelling through North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas he writes of the stunning landscapes he discovers - the deserts, the mountains, the Mississippi - and above all, the lives of the people he meets.
Think you know Agatha Christie? Think again! To the world she was Agatha Christie, legendary author of bestselling whodunits. But in the 1930s she wore a different hat, travelling with her husband, renowned archaeologist Max Mallowan, as he investigated the buried ruins and ancient wonders of Syria and Iraq. When friends asked what this strange 'other life' was like, she decided to answer their questions by writing down her adventures in this eye-opening book. Described by the author as a 'meandering chronicle of life on an archaeological dig', Come, Tell Me How You Live is Agatha Christie's very personal memoir of her time spent in this breathtaking corner of the globe, living among the working men in tents in the desert where recorded human history began.
A major Channel 4 series and a Sunday Times bestseller His journey is 4,250 miles long. He is walking every step of the way, camping in the wild, foraging for food, fending for himself against multiple dangers. He is passing through rainforest, savannah, swamp, desert and lush delta oasis. He will cross seven, very different countries. No one has ever made this journey on foot. Exploration and Africa are two of his great passions - they drive him on and motivate his inquisitiveness and resolution not to fail, yet the challenges of the terrain, the climate, the animals, the people and his own psychological resolution will throw at him are immense. The dangers are very real, but so is the motivation for this ex-army officer. If he can overcome the mental and physical challenges, he will be walking into history...
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 'Ooh lovely' at the sight of a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits; and Gardeners' Question Time. Notes from a Small Island was a huge number-one bestseller when it was first published, and has become the nation's most loved book about Britain, going on to sell over two million copies.
Ahead lay almost 2,200 miles of remote mountain wilderness filled with bears, moose, bobcats, rattlesnakes, poisonous plants, disease-bearing tics, the occasional chuckling murderer and - perhaps most alarming of all - people whose favourite pastime is discussing the relative merits of the external-frame backpack.
Celia Fiennes travelled the length and breadth of England, riding side-saddle, at the dawn of the eighteenth century. o Discover the multiple journeys around the world undertaken in the 1840s by the Austrian Ida Pfeiffer. Dora d'Istria, a mountain-climbing duchess and polymath, travelled widely through Europe but her account of ascending Mont Blanc in 1860 is perhaps the most striking. Read about Isabel Burton's adventures as a government employee's wife stationed all over the world. Explore the writing of Isabella Bird who travelled around the world on doctor's orders - until finally retraining as a doctor and missionary in her sixties for a trip to India and its surrounding countries. Find out what motivated Marie Kingsley to travel solo to the deepest parts of West Africa and how her journeys shaped not only her own way of thinking but that of Europe as whole. Learn how May Kellogg Sullivan undertook her journey to Alaska and the Yukon to seek her fortune in the gold-mining world. Astonish yourself by finding out that, on a trip to Burma, India, Ceylon and Indonesia with her husband, Fanny Bullock Workman cycled 15,000 miles (as a welcome break from glacier-climbing in the Himalayas). Follow investigative journalist Nellie Bly as she takes up Jules Verne's gauntlet to travel around the world in eighty days. Or find out how Ella Sykes once rode on horseback from the Caspian Sea all the way to India.
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