A Beginner's Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations by Pico IyerWhat it is: lyrical, thought-provoking snippets and essays that ponder life in Japan, covering such varied topics as silence, signage, emotion, clothing, anime, baseball and more.
About the author: British-born bestselling travel writer Pico Iyer is married to a Japanese woman and the country is his adopted home.
Want a taste? "Being in Japan has taught me to say, 'I wonder,' more often than 'I think.'"
How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way... by Dan KoisWhat it's about: A dad humorously details the year his stressed Northern Virginia family gave up regular life for three months each in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas.
The family: journalist father and podcast host Dan, lawyer mom Alia, and their daughters 11-year-old Lyra and nine-year-old Harper.
Read this next: For a more nature-inspired family travel memoir, try Michael Lanza's Before They're Gone.
Classic Krakauer: Essays on Wilderness and Risk by Jon KrakauerWhat it is: a compelling collection of ten essays, all previously published between 1985 and 2014, that profile adventures and adventurers around the globe, including a poignant look at surfer Mark Foo's last ride.
Reviewers say: "A solid mix of conversations, background, and travel adds up to cleareyed reportage that still shocks" (Kirkus Reviews).
Read this next: For a more lighthearted collection about outdoor exploits, pick up Out There by the editors of Outside magazine.
On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey by Paul TherouxWhat happened: Erudite 70-something travel writer Paul Theroux drove the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border alone, crossing over the border multiple times; he also visited Mexico City, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and other areas.
Why you should read it: Theroux saw the border situation up close, met locals, witnessed the monarch butterfly migration, visited historic locations, taught writing, and learned about drug cartels and corruption.
Read this next: Richard Grant's God's Middle Finger, about his trip through the Sierra Madres; or, for a penetrating look at both U.S. borders, try Stephanie Elizondo Griest's All the Agents and Saints.
The Dog Went Over the Mountain: Travels with Albie: An American Journey by Peter ZheutlinWhat it's about: Sixty-four-year-old journalist Peter Zheutlin and his beloved aging rescue dog Albie took a 9,200-mile road trip across the U.S. in a BMW convertible.
Don't miss: the musical references and locations, including visits to Winslow, Arizona and Woody Guthrie's Oklahoma hometown.
Read this next: John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley (the book that inspired this one), Rob Kugler's A Dog Named Beautiful, or Philip Caputo's The Longest Road.
The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China by David EimerWhat it's about: British journalist David Eimer, who'd lived in China for years, traveled the country's edges, including the Islamic area of Xinjiang province and the forbidden zone of Tibet, speaking with the often overlooked ethnic groups who face social and political discrimination from the Han Chinese majority.
Did you know? China borders 14 countries and has 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities.
Why you might like it: Eimer provides a unique view of an unfamiliar China in this compelling, vibrant book.
Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America's Forgotten Border by Porter FoxWhat it is: a beautifully written, reflective look at the border region between the United States and Canada, which traces the area's rich history (including Native Americans' roles) and draws on three years of exploration from Maine to Washington via car, canoe, foot, and freighter.
Did you know? "Before September 11, 2001, half of the 119 border crossings between the U.S. and Canada were unguarded at night."
Read this next: For more on the U.S.-Canadian border, pick up Brian Castner's Disappointment River.
Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka KassabovaAbout the author: Bulgarian-born poet and writer Kapka Kassabova lives in Scotland, and in Border she describes her return visits home to Eastern Europe between 2013-2015.
What happened: In the complex area where Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece meet, Kassabova traveled through mountains and forests and spoke with villagers, ex-border guards, people who'd tried to escape Communist Bulgaria, incoming Syrian refugees, and others.
Read it for: a clever, lyrical, and acutely observed examination of Eastern European borderlands; references to myths and folktales.
The Marches: A Borderland Journey Between England and Scotland by Rory StewartWhat it's about: Rory Stewart has written about Iraq (Prince of Marshes) and Afghanistan (The Places In Between), but this journey is more intimate: it's the landscape of his homeland, the border between England and Scotland, and he walked it with his 89-year-old Scottish father.
What's inside: family stories as well as thoughtful musings on the plants, animals, conflicts, people (from Romans to modern-day locals), and more that have shaped this stunning area.
Read this next: Max Adams' In the Land of Giants, another richly detailed book that engagingly mixes British history and travel.
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