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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.
The first known inhabitant of St Helena - long before Napoleon - was a 16th-century Portuguese renegade. In 1506 Fernao Lopes, a member of his country's minor nobility, travelled to Goa in search of honour and wealth. There he converted to Islam, married a Muslim, fought his former countrymen, and was eventually captured - his nose and hands publicly cut off for treachery. Eventually sailing for home, he jumped ship at St. Helena, becoming the island's first inhabitant, with only a black cockerel for company. News of Lopes reached the King of Portugal. Picked up by a ship sent especially for him, Lopes so impressed the King, and the Pope in Rome, that he was granted one wish. He requested his return to St Helena.
Simon Nye's TV series, The Durrells, is based loosely on Gerald Durrell's Corfu Trilogy and in particular his much-loved bestseller, My Family and Other Animals. These books in turn are based somewhat loosely on actual events. The real-life Durrells went to Corfu at the urging of Lawrence Durrell, who was already living on the island with his wife, Nancy Myers. Their intent was to keep the family together as his mother, Louisa, was drinking heavily and recovering from a breakdown; 'We can be proud of the way we brought her up,' Larry said, only half-jokingly, of the family's subsequent Corfu sojourn.
We have lived in villages a long time. The village was the first model for communal living. Towns came much later, then cities. Later still came suburbs, neighbourhoods, townships, communes, kibbutzes. But the village has endured. Across England, modernity creeps up to the boundaries of many, breaking the connection the village has with the land. With others, they can be as quiet as the graveyard as their housing is bought up by city 'weekenders', or commuters. The ideal chocolate box image many holidaying to our Sceptred Isle have in their minds eye may be true in some cases, but across the country the heartbeat of the real English village is still beating strongly - if you can find it. To this mission our intrepid historian and travel writer Tom Fort willingly gets on his trusty bicycle and covers the length and breadth of England to discover the essence of village life. His journeys will travel over six thousand years of communal existence for the peoples that eventually became the English.
Ordinary women doing the extraordinary. This book is testament to following your dreams and that you can do anything you put your mind too if you work hard enough. Four middle aged friends who met at a local Saturday morning rowing club decide to take on The Talisker Whiskey Challenge – also known as ‘The World's Toughest Row’ - across 3,000 miles of treacherous ocean. All four are mothers, wives and professional women but athletes? No, not athletes, yet they had a dream to follow and follow it they did. This is a story of determination, of pushing past the overwhelming feeling of failing, letting everyone down and of course of silencing the doubters, the people who say ‘You can’t do this’. This is an incredible story about an amazing experience by four amazing women. There were moments that sent shivers down my spine as I followed their journey from the very beginning when even getting to the start line was a massive undertaking. The story is told by all four women, all four friends and it feels like that too. Their warmth and love for each other shines through as they share ever moment, every fear, every failure and ultimately their success. By the end I felt so proud of the achievement and so emotionally engaged with these four ordinary mums who just happened to row an ocean. April 2017 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.
This compact guide is perfect for long weekends in Reykjavik, and longer stays in/tours around the whole country, with excellent information about which out-of-town attractions are in easily reach of the capital, including Arbær Open-Air Museum, Fjörukráin Viking Village and an unforgettable trip to the amazing Blue Lagoon (pre-booking essential!). The “What to do” section is really useful for families, split as it is into interest areas (including outdoor activities like horse-riding, hiking, swimming and whale-watching) so plans can be made to keep everyone happy. If you’re travelling solo or as a couple, it’s also strong on nightlife and shopping recommendations, with plenty of how-to-get-there information throughout.
In 1975, decades before ‘The Gap Year’ was commonplace, 22-year-old student Devika A. Rosamund fulfilled a life long dream to take time away from her studies in England to travel by herself to India. And not by hopping on a plane rather by bus as far as Iran and then by local transport through Afghanistan and Pakistan, taking six weeks with a total budget of just £300!The Road to East India is an authentic diary account of this exciting and emotional journey of a lifetime where as well as seeing famous sites in India she discovers spirituality in an Ashram and her inner strength to overcome the challenges she faces.Devika says ‘I am publishing my diary with the hope that it will inspire others to go on a journey both inner and outer, and explore this beautiful world and also their own world within.’
Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja's salvation is just the beginning of her story. Through eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is an epic tale of family, identity, love, death and survival.
A fictional travelogue of Finn, a free-spirited American and budding travel writer, journeying around Europe and the Middle East in the 1970’s. Letters to Strabo is an evocative, candid and life-affirming coming of age story with a strong sense of place that will appeal to readers who enjoy literary travel writing.David Smith has also written Searching for Amber, Death in Leamington and Love in Lindfield.
Alan Partridge can make a trip to buy a pint of milk into an epic dual with destiny so I’m surprised he’s managed to “trek” as far as he documents in Nomad. It must be the Amazon you guess, or possibly a lone trek across the searing Australian desert? But no, this duel with destiny starts in Norwich and ends at… Dungeness and he’s got the new scarf and safari jacket to prove it. A life or death struggle with the elements, a coming to terms with the past that deals with failure (inability to get into Tilbury Docks) and triumph on reaching the end without too much blood spilt. Only Alan Partridge could do this journey and survive to write about it – learn and laugh reader, learn and laugh... ~ Sue Baker Like for Like ReadingMolvania: A Land Still Untouched by Modern Dentistry, Santo CelauroThree Men in a Boat to Say Nothing of the Dog, Jerome K Jerome
Winner of The Edward Stanford Travel Book of the Year 2017. An investigation into an intriguing subject – Islands that feature in myth, even been found on historical maps, they all have one thing in common, they don’t exist - by Malachy Tallack whose 60 Degrees North was published to acclaim recently. I much enjoyed reading about the history of these islands and was frequently distracted by the beautiful full-colour illustrations by Katie Scott, who has previously worked with the New York Times, Kew Gardens and the BBC. This is a book to cherish and to dip in and out of when time allows. Like for Like ReadingThe Book of Imaginary Lands, Umberto Eco An Atlas of Countries that Don’t Exist: A Compendium of Fifty Unrecognized and Largely Unnoticed States, Nick Middleton
Ten years after walking across Central Asia and through Afghanistan, Rory Stewart returns to Britain. He walks a thousand miles, crossing and recrossing the English-Scottish Border. A referendum is coming on whether Scotland will become independent country; he is a Scot living in England, and the Member of Parliament for the only constituency with 'Border' in its name. He paces back and forth between his family house in Scotland and his own home in Cumbria. He discovers that, buried beneath England and Scotland, is another country, now lost, a Middleland with its own history, its own civilisation: a vanished kingdom. Stewart sleeps on mountain ridges and in housing estates, in motels and in farmhouses. Following lines of neolithic standing stones and the wilderness created by farming subsidies; wading through floods and ruined fields, he traces Hadrian's Wall with soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan. He interviews Buddhist and Christian monks, investigates arson attacks and heritage websites, and tries to get to grips with his tartan-clad father. His book becomes a history of the Middleland, or The Marches , what is now the frontier zone between two contemporary nations. Britain, he argues, is an island whose natural boundaries are the sea, a nation split by a colonial empire that drew a line on a map, separating tribes and families. The book is defined by a profound love of landscape, and walking, an unusual erudition, and an instinct for the most eccentric local histories. It draws on contemporary politics, and long years working in rural Asia, and on troubled borders, to illuminate the pattern of forgetting and remembrance that makes a very modern border and a very modern nationalism.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes has climbed the Eiger and Mount Everest. He's crossed both Poles on foot. He's been a member of the SAS and fought a bloody guerrilla war in Oman. And yet he confesses that his fear of heights is so great that he'd rather send his wife up a ladder to clean the gutters than do it himself. In this fascinating book he explores the concept of fear, and shows us through his own experiences how we can push our boundaries in everyday life.
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