In Pursuit of Jefferson: Traveling through Europe with the Most Perplexing Founding... by Derek BaxterWhat it's about: Following advice in Thomas Jefferson's "Hints to Americans Travelling in Europe," Virginian Derek Baxter and his family visited places in the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, England, Italy, and the United States.
What's inside: fun stories about what they did, including going to gardens and museums and exploring cheese- and wine-making; eye-opening lessons Baxter learned about Jefferson, history, and himself.
For fans of: engaging books that mix U.S. history and contemporary travel, such as Tony Horwitz's Spying on the South, Nathaniel Philbrick's Travels with George, or Clint Smith's How the Word Is Passed.
The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir by Karen CheungWhat it is: a lyrical memoir of a young journalist coming of age against the backdrop of a Hong Kong newly under Chinese control; an intimate look at the author's unhappy family, her schooling (including university), and her struggles with depression.
Read it for: the evocative insider's look at the city, including its stratified society, alternative music scene, and protests for democracy.
Read this next: Louisa Lim's Indelible City or Mark Clifford's Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World -- two recent books that, while less personal, offer broader looks at, respectively, the city's history and its politics.
Becoming Forrest: One Man's Epic Run Across America by Rob PopeRun, Rob, Run: British marathoner and veterinarian Rob Pope undertook a run of over 15,000 miles, following in the fictional footsteps of Forrest Gump, who crisscrossed the U.S. several times.
What happened: Sometimes accompanied by his girlfriend in an RV named Jenny, Pope recreated scenes from the award-winning movie, saw the U.S. in a variety of temperatures, raised money for charity, met all kinds of people, and pondered following one's dreams.
Reviewers say: "an enjoyable travelogue and a welcome antidote for anyone needing an affirmation of faith in humanity" (Booklist).
The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth by Ben RawlenceWhat's inside: an evocative travelogue, engaging nature and science writing, and a perceptive look at arctic forests in Scotland, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Siberia, and Norway, including the effect climate change is having on the trees there.
For fans of: Porter Fox's The Last Winter, Jonathan C. Slaght's Owls of the Eastern Ice, and Roger Deakin's Wildwood.
Reviewers say: "Nature lovers and travelers alike will find this a lovely paean to a rapidly changing landscape" (Publishers Weekly).
In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage by Silvia Vasquez-LavadoWhat happened: Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, who grew up in Lima, Peru, worked in high-pressure Silicon Valley. Struggling with alcoholism and memories of childhood sexual abuse, she began climbing mountains, eventually starting a nonprofit to help girls heal through adventure and becoming the first openly gay woman to climb the Seven Summits.
For fans of: Cheryl Strayed's Wild, and other books that combine unflinching honesty with evocative travelogue.
Movie buzz: Film rights have already been sold, and Selena Gomez is set to star in the big-screen version of this moving memoir.
The Puma Years by Laura ColemanThe setup: In 2007, aimless 24-year-old Brit Laura Coleman quit her latest unfulfilling job to backpack in Bolivia, hoping the trip would focus her. Though ready to give up after two months, she impulsively decided to volunteer at an animal refuge in the Amazon jungle.
What happened: She encountered an array of fascinating people and troubled animals, including pigs, monkeys, birds, and more, but it was a puma called Wayra who stole her heart and gave her a purpose.
Reviewers say: "honest, wry, self-effacing, and always entertaining" (Booklist); an "adrenaline rush-inducing debut" (Publishers Weekly).
The Snow Leopard by Peter MatthiessenNepal 1973: Author Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled for five weeks in remote Himalayan mountains.
What happened: While both hoped to glimpse the reclusive snow leopard, for Schaller, the trip was decidedly scientific (he planned to study rare blue sheep) and for Matthiessen, who had recently lost his wife to cancer, it was more spiritual.
Why you might like it: First published in 1979, this eloquent, thought-provoking modern classic won two National Book Awards and will please fans of travelogues, nature writing, and spiritual memoirs.
All the Way to the Tigers by Mary MorrisWhat's inside: compelling, short chapters that move back and forth between time and place describing the acclaimed author's 1950s Chicago-area childhood, her catastrophic 2008 ankle injury in New York, and a 2011 solo tiger-spotting trip to India during the middle of a cold snap.
Read it for: candid writing, interesting factoids, an evocative look at India, and a thoughtful examination of life and travel.
Did you know? Unseen tigers are always referred to as "she."
Nala's World: One Man, His Rescue Cat, and a Bike Ride Around the Globe by Dean NicholsonWhat's inside: the charming, heartwarming story of affable Scotsman Dean Nicholson, known on social media as 1bike1world, and his travels with the adorable cat he found on a Bosnian mountaintop.
What happened: Feeling purposeless, Nicholson left his job to bike alone around Europe and Asia, leading to his life-changing encounter with Nala, their inspiring bicycle journeys through remarkable terrain, and their visits to refugee camps, animal shelters, beaches, and more.
Locations include: Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary.
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