A magical, eye-opening account of a journey into a Europe that rarely makes the news and is in danger of being erased altogether. Another Europe. A Europe few people believe exists and many wish didn't. Muslim Europe. Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2021. Londoner Tharik Hussain sets off with his wife and young daughters around the Western Balkans, home to the largest indigenous Muslim population in Europe, and explores the regions of Eastern Europe where Islam has shaped places and people for more than half a millennium. Encountering blonde-haired, blue-eyed Muslims, visiting mystical Islamic lodges clinging to the side of mountains, and praying in mosques older than the Sistine Chapel, he paints a picture of a hidden Muslim Europe, a vibrant place with a breathtaking history, spellbinding culture and unique identity. Minarets in The Mountains, the first English travel narrative by a Muslim writer on this subject, also explores the historical roots of European Islamophobia. Tharik and his family learn lessons about themselves and their own identity as Britons, Europeans and Muslims. Following in the footsteps of renowned Ottoman traveller Evliya Celebi, they remind us that Europe is as Muslim as it is Christian, Jewish or pagan. Like William Dalrymple's In Xanadu, this is a vivid reimagining of a region's cultural heritage, unveiling forgotten Muslim communities, empires and their rulers; and like Kapka Kassabova's Border, it is a quest that forces us to consider what makes up our own identities, and more importantly, who decides?
Vanessa Bolosier’s Sunshine Kitchen is one of those rare kinds of cook books that can truly transform your cooking habits. It’s a life-filled, love-filled feast of recipes you’ll be proud to make and delighted to taste - recipes that are sure to become firm favourites. What’s more, it’s so beautifully-presented, you’ll want to give it pride of place on your shelves, or gift it to someone special - it’s a blast of sunshine in food (and book) form. Born in Guadeloupe, and half-Guadeloupian and half-Martiniquan, Bolosier brings a wealth of knowledge, passion and charm to the table. The book’s introduction is fabulously informative, explaining that Caribbean Creole food is a melting pot, “one of the first fusion foods, drawing influences from trading and cultural mixing since the 16th century. It reflects the diversity of the environment in which it developed - the land, the ocean, the climate - and also the diversity of the people on the islands.” These diverse people comprise the indigenous Amerindians who inhabited the region before Europeans came, Europeans, Africans and Asians. As for the recipes, the book covers drinks, starters, fish and seafood, meat and poultry, sides, soups, sauces, syrups and desserts. If you’ve never had the immense pleasure of drinking a planteur, dive straight to page 30 to find your new favourite cocktail (seriously - planteurs are paradise in a glass). Alongside recipes for classic Caribbean Creole meat and fish dishes (among them Creole fried fish, Creole cassoulet and pork ragout), there are some dazzlingly zingy, colourful salads and sides (pumpkin mash, coconut slaw), and inventive sweets (banana and rum fritters, wine pineapple). Without question, this is my new favourite cook book.
In the bedazzling world of adventure sports, many would say (me included) that Anna McNuff burns the brightest. The title for her latest book, Bedtime Adventure Stories for Grown-Ups, may surprise many of her following who don’t regard Anna as especially grown-up and may also be surprised at the implication that she ever sleeps! There’s a laugh on every page of this compilation of some of the author’s "mini-adventures” over the years - although what’s mini for Anna might be mega for most... Close to home and abroad, on wheels and on foot, at all times of the day and night … Anna’s appetite for adventure is insatiable and her talent for wordplay and punchlines ensures that the stories are lively, colourful and likely to turn up your lust for living. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about these dreamy adventurous bedtime tales… is that they are actually, really, true. I mean, who climbs over their backyard gate to be sent all over Europe by the public egging her on with daily votes on where to head to next? Answer: This gal. Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you were to pursue everything your heart desired? 50 Ways To Cycle The World shares the stories of over 70 cyclists who did just that. Written by Belén Castello and Tristan Bogaard, the book features people from all over the world who packed their life into panniers and set off in search of adventure. What sets this community apart is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. With stunning photography and incredible journeys, this book will inspire you to slow the pace, protect the environment and live with purpose. ~ Harriet Osborne, Sidetracked Magazine Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
Stand-up paddleboarding is the fastest growing watersport in the world - with only a little knowledge and practice, pretty much anyone can get up and get moving, and then there's no limit to where SUP can take you. This complete guide gives you everything you need to know to get started, and much more besides. All the basics are here, from fundamental equipment (a guide to boards, including bargain-priced inflatables, as well as paddles, clothing and simple safety gear) to essential techniques (getting on, getting moving and, just as importantly, landing and getting off). Along with challenges and games to play with your new paddleboarding buddies, the book explores places to go and things to see, from rivers and canals to coastlines and travel further afield. The book also explains all the important stuff you might need to understand about weather, tides, waves and currents. However, The Paddleboard Bible then goes much further. It will take you on paddleboard adventures, from night paddles (showing you the world from the water in a way you've probably never seen it before) to wildlife-spotting safaris and unique photography opportunities; it even reveals the benefits of fishing from a paddleboard. And it's not all gentle stuff - for adrenaline junkies there is SUP surfing, riding white water rapids and for the more competitive types, SUP racing. SUP is also great for fitness (you haven't done yoga until you've done SUP yoga) and there's a booming social side too. It's a fantastic way to meet new people, join groups, go to events and go on unique tours. However you want to get into stand-up paddleboarding, whether you're curious about trying it one afternoon, want to dive into it as a new hobby or really get involved in the scene and the lifestyle, then The Paddleboard Bible is the one-stop book that covers everything you need to know about the most accessible and inexpensive paddlesport. *** Don't miss Dave Price sharing his expertise at A Day at the Riverside, 18th September.
There are so many great things about this book, but perhaps the greatest is the way in which the authors have found the story in each walk. Kids love stories so what better way to get them into the car than with the promise of “The mystery of the four stones at Clent”, “Beaches and battles at Bamburgh” or “Giants and glaciers on Cadair Idris”? This collection of 100 walks is spread out across the country which make it the ideal staycation companion for families. Graded for difficulty, every page turned brings a new map, great photographs, a written overview and a new adventure! The secret to any good guide book is trust and having done quite a few of these walks I can vouch for their accuracy - but what surprised me is what I’d missed! Jen and Sim Benson know their walks but they also know kids. Brilliant! ~ Greg Hackett Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
First published in 2004, Traffic-Free Cycle Trails is an evolving work that covers routes in mainland Great Britain. As more routes become available, readers are encouraged to contribute and the book, inevitably, grows as they do. This is a useful and comprehensive work that covers the vast majority of accessible cycle routes. Inspiring photographs, short routes to enjoy, clear directions – perfect for that quiet Sunday afternoon ride. Read it, you may well be surprised to discover some wonderful treats within a short distance of your home.
For hundreds of years, people have swum for fitness, for pleasure and for their health. Many of us also enjoy getting outdoors, walking and exploring, navigating and sight-seeing, as we appreciate fresh air, blue skies and the call of the countryside. Combining the two, presents us with some problems. How do you do it safely, for example? Or where are the best places to go? If you’re thinking of trying it, Swimming Wild shows you how. Not just through descriptions – although Suzanna Cruickshank’s words do that very nicely – the pictures, the experience of others and the tips this book offers are enough to persuade even those just slightly interested in diving into outdoor waters. The book even tells you how to get there, where to stay and who to book as a guide when you start.
Focusing on the ninety-nine islands that have regular trips or means of access for visitors, plus fifty-five other islands which have no regular transport but are still of significant size or interest, the authors have described the best ways to experience each one. Of the islands featured, many are household names – Skye, Lewis, Bute – while some, such as the isolated St Kilda archipelago and the remote Sula Sgeir, will be unknown to all but a hardcore few. Hillwalkers can bag a Munro, walk the wild clifftops or take in the sights, or you could just escape from it all on one of the dozens of beautiful and deserted beaches – before joining the locals for a ceilidh into the wee hours.