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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.
Radiant with an infectious enthusiasm for life, Scottish writer Iain Maloney has created a playful, powerful page-turner in The Only Gaijin in the Village, a brilliant blend of memoir and travel writing at its most edifyingly entertaining. Maloney’s post-uni TEFL work led him to fall in love with Japan and his future wife Minori. After moving to Scotland, the couple chose to return to Japan as a result of “racist and elitist” Tory government immigration rules that made it near impossible for them to live together in the UK. “I have embraced exile. I am home,” he says of living in Japan, first in a city, before he and Minori relocate to a rural environment. Fiercely funny, the author’s voice is akin to being regaled by a witty friend’s pub anecdotes, with observations moving between lyrical eulogies to nature’s beauty and outright hilarity, such as when he describes a wild typhoon as a “blowy bastard”. From deciphering the codes of Japanese rural culture, to navigating trials of the natural world (including snakes, centipedes and behemoth bees), Maloney takes everything in his stride with an exhilarating can-do spirit. “Humans can get used to anything”, he blithely - and sagely - remarks. Maloney comically covers cultural culinary differences when he describes encountering whale bacon and flame-grilled snakes, but true to form counterbalancing comes when he mentions haggis in the same context. There are similarly entertaining accounts of his farming endeavors, from uncovering digging myths the hard way (“Where is this ground made of tofu that’s easier to dig than a Miles Davies solo?”), to his superb description of growing peas that possess “a smell and taste so evocative Proust could have bored the arse off half of France for decades”. Honest, amusing, humble and informative, with prescient political underpinnings (“every immigrant story is also an emigrant story. This is what the Right want us to forget. They want us to believe it’s all about them coming here, not about them leaving there...the term ‘expat’ is encoded racsim”), I can’t praise this highly enough.
If you have followed Carol through her trials and tribulations of running her olive farm then this is a must. Newcomers will find her enthusiasm for her subject irresistible. Now she knows that new approaches to farming are needed and so she travels through France, Spain, Italy and North Africa to seek the best solutions. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
Moving on from The Olive Farm, The Olive Season sees Carol and Michel taking on an entirely new challenge: pregnancy. As ever, nothing goes entirely to plan and Carol writes wonderfully of her struggles and triumphs on her cherished olive farm. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
Fourth volume in the bestselling olive series by writer and actress Carol Drinkwater. Transporting readers across the olive's ancient paths, celebrating its venerable past, tracking trade routes, unearthing unlikely stories, encountering peoples of today and bygone times, Carol comes full circle, back to her farm in the sun-baked Provencal hills. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
This is the third of Carol’s books documenting her idyllic life in the South of France but despite the title speaking of plenty and abundance, there was no harvest, no husband and no easy life. I admire this woman; with stoic determination and a certain acceptance of life, she soldiers on and writes about it honestly and warmly. A lovely book. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
A beautiful tale of a new life in France; an account of the highs and lows of restoring an olive farm, and the colourful characters met with in a typical Provencal village. It'll make you want to sell up and escape the UK for a sun-drenched life on the continent. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
Shortlisted for The THWAITES WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2014 - The new literary prize for Nature & Travel Writing about Britain. The Old Ways is the stunning new book by acclaimed nature writer Robert Macfarlane. Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize 2012. Following the tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast ancient network of routes criss-crossing the British Isles and beyond, Robert Macfarlane discovers a lost world - a landscape of the feet and the mind, of pilgrimage and ritual, of stories and ghosts; above all of the places and journeys which inspire and inhabit our imaginations. Really do love it. He has a rare physical intelligence and affords total immersion in place, elements and the passage of time: wonderful . (Antony Gormley). A marvellous marriage of scholarship, imagination and evocation of place. I always feel exhilarated after reading Macfarlane . (Penelope Lively). Macfarlane immerses himself in regions we may have thought familiar, resurrecting them newly potent and sometimes beautifully strange. In a moving achievement, he returns our heritage to us . (Colin Thubron). Every Robert MacFarlane book offers beautiful writing, bold journeys...With its global reach and mysterious Sebaldian structure, this is MacFarlane's most important book yet . (David Rothenberg, author of Survival of the Beautiful and Thousand Mile Song ). Luminous, possessing a seemingly paradoxical combination of the dream-like and the hyper-vigilant, The Old Ways is, as with all of Macfarlane's work, a magnificent read. Each sentence can carry astonishing discovery . (Rick Bass, US novelist and nature writer). The Old Ways confirms Robert Macfarlane's reputation as one of the most eloquent and observant of contemporary writers about nature . ( Scotland on Sunday ). Sublime writing ...sets the imagination tingling...Macfarlane's way of writing [is] free, exploratory, rambling and haphazard but resourceful, individual, following his own whims, and laying an irresistible trail for readers to follow . ( Sunday Times ). Macfarlane relishes wild, as well as old, places. He writes about both beautifully...I love to read Macfarlane . (John Sutherland, Financial Times ). Read this and it will be impossible to take an unremarkable walk again . ( Metro ). Robert Macfarlane won the Guardian First Book Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Sunday Time Young Writer of the Year Award for his first book, Mountains of the Mind (2003) . His second, The Wild Places (2007) , was similarly celebrated, winning three prizes and being shortlisted for six more. Both books were adapted for television by the BBC. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Octogenarian Anthony Smith's journey was originally inspired by both the Kontiki Expedition of Thor Heyerdahl (who he knew) and the incredible story of the survivors of a 1940 boat disaster, who spent 70 days adrift in the Atlantic, eventually reaching land emaciated and close to death. While this might sound like a voyage no-one would wish to emulate, to octogenarian Anthony Smith it sounded like an adventure, and he placed a typically straightforward advertisement in the Telegraph that read Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only. In his inimitable style, Smith details their voyage and the hardships they endured with a matter-of-fact air that makes his story seem all the more impressive. His advanced age allows him a wider perspective not only on the journey but on life itself, and his never-say-die attitude to the difficulty of the journey is inspirational. 'Old men ought to be explorers' said T.S. Eliot, and this book certainly gives a compelling argument in his favour. It is both a great story (a huge storm on the final night of the voyage almost wrecked them on a reef) and a call to action for the older generation - do not go quietly, says Anthony Smith, but seek out adventure as long as you are able.
Che Guevara. Most of us know him as a face on a T-shirt. These frank, irreverent diaries reveal the complex and appealing human being behind the iconic revolutionary image.
Funny, outrageous, irreverent, politically incorrect and not to be missed! The fifth adventure for our Englishman in France. Paul West is living the Parisian dream (but with no money, no job, nowhere to live), and doing his best not to annoy the French. But recently things have been going wrong... Jean-Marie, his old boss, is trying to cheat him out of his share in their English tea room. Alexa his old girlfriend seems to be stalking him. And to make things worse, his American friend Jake keeps reciting poems at him. Listen to an audio extract by clicking on the orange arrow below. The Merde Factor by Stephen Clarke by Random House Audiobooks
Paul West's apartment is so small that he has to cut his baguettes in two to fit them in the kitchen. His research into authentic French cuisine is about to cause a national strike. His Parisian business partner is determined to close their tea-room. And thinks that sexually harrassing his female employees is a basic human right. And Paul's gorgeous ex-girlfriend seems to be stalking him. Threatened with eviction, unemployment and bankrupcy, Paul realises that his personal merde factor is about to hit the fan...
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