Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure by Rinker BuckWhat it is: a fascinating combination of history and travelogue by Rinker Buck, who built a 19th-century-style wooden flatboat and sailed it from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, with the help a small, entertaining crew.
Want a taste? "The inland rivers -- not the wagon ruts crossing from Missouri to Oregon -- were American's first western frontier."
Read this next: the author's The Oregon Trail, Tony Horwitz's Spying on the South, Imani Perry's South to America, or Peter Fox's Northland.
Shadowlands: A Journey Through Britain's Lost Cities and Vanished Villages by Matthew GreenWhat it is: a historian's lyrical, haunting look at eight lost British towns, covering their rise and demise, the people who lived there, and what the places are like now.
Locations include: Skara Brae, a Neolithic site in the Orkney Islands; Wharram Percy, a deserted medieval village; Dunwich, a city that fell into the sea, and Capel Celyn, a village flooded in 1965 for a reservoir.
For fans of: Robert Macfarlane's books, Annalee Newitz's Four Lost Cities, and Alastair Bonnett's Unruly Places.
A Place in the World: Finding the Meaning of Home by Frances MayesWhat it is: a short collection of personal essays centered on home and place by the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun.
Locations include: San Francisco, where she once lived; Cortana, Italy, where she renovated a home; Hillsborough, NC, where she now lives and grows roses; Fitzgerald, Georgia, where she grew up; Provence, Capri, and other places she's felt at home.
Want more essay collections? Try Aminatta Forna's The Window Seat, Letitia Clark's Bitter Honey, or Pam Houston's Deep Creek.
France: An Adventure History by Graham RobbWhat it is: the fascinating latest by British historian and author Graham Robb, who offers a quick, wide-ranging history of France, from Ancient Gaul to the election of Emmanuel Macron, based on a series of bicycle journeys he's taken throughout the country.
Read this next: Paris to the Past by Ina Caro, The Seine by Elaine Sciolino, or the author's other books.
Reviewers say: "Delightful, discerning, and charmingly irreverent" (Kirkus Reviews); "refreshing as well as deeply researched" (Booklist).
The Last Resort: A Chronicle of Paradise, Profit, and Peril at the Beach by Sarah StodolaWhat it's about: Travel writer Sarah Stodola details visits to beach resorts around the globe, offering an eye-opening, well-researched look at these "sanitized bubbles" and their sometimes troubling aspects, as well as their history and what climate change might mean for their future.
Locations include: Thailand, England, New Jersey, Monte Carlo, Fiji, Nicaragua, Senegal, Ibiza, Hawaii, Portugal, Florida, Indonesia.
Want a taste? "We haven't really conquered the sea, as it likes to remind us. The beach resort only works as well as our ability to pretend otherwise."
Driving Miss Norma: An Inspirational Story About What Really Matters at the End of Life by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie LiddleStarring: charming nonagenarian Norma; her retired son, Tim; his personable wife, Ramie; and their standard poodle, Ringo.
What happened: After receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis the same week her husband died, Norma decided to forgo a nursing home and invasive chemotherapy to embark on a lively tour of the country with Tim, Ramie, and Ringo in their Airstream RV.
Adventures include: hot air balloon rides, NBA courtside seats, a fêted appearance at the Boston St. Patrick's Day parade, and more.
Dirt: Adventures in Lyon, as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the... by Bill BufordWhat it's about: New Yorker writer Bill Buford worked in the kitchen at Washington, D.C.'s famed Citronelle restaurant to learn about French cooking before moving to Lyon in 2008 with his wife and three-year-old twins to really dig into the subject, and stayed for almost five years.
Who it's for: those who appreciate haute cuisine, stories of families abroad, or vibrant foodie travelogues with amiable guides.
About the author: Buford also wrote about living and cooking in Italy in 2006's Heat.
Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of the Himalaya by Bruce KirkbyFeaturing: Canadian TV journalist Bruce Kirkby, his introverted wife Christine, their highly intelligent autistic seven-year-old son Bodi, and their free-spirited three-year-old son Taj.
What happened: From British Columbia, they slow traveled (no planes!) for three months, making their way to South Korea, India, China, and finally Nepal, staying at a Buddhist monastery for three months.
For fans of: rich, uplifting family travelogues; the Travel Channel's Big Crazy Family Adventure, which covers the first part of their trip.
From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi LockeWhat it is: a poignant, heartfelt memoir by actress Tembi Locke, who fell in love with Saro, an Italian professional chef. Saro's Sicilian family wasn't sure about him marrying a Black American, but as he battled and then succumbed to cancer, Tembi grew closer to them and spent summers in Sicily with the couple's adopted daughter.
Media buzz: An eight-part Netflix series starring Zoe Saldaña arrives this month. Locke and her sister, bestselling crime writer Attica Locke, created, wrote, and produced the show.
We Came, We Saw, We Left: A Family Gap Year by Charles WheelanWhat it's about: In 2016, college professor Charles Wheelan, his math teacher wife, 18-year-old daughter, 16-year-old daughter, and 13-year-old son left their New Hampshire home to spend nine months visiting six continents on a budget.
What happened: They visited Colombia, Australia, the Republic of Georgia, India, and other locales while seeing amazing sights, large spiders, and not always getting along with each other.
Read this next: For other entertaining family travelogues, try Dan Kois' How to Be a Family.
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