A Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City by Edward ChisholmAn Englishman in Paris: Broke, jobless, alone after a breakup, and speaking little French, Edward Chisholm found work in a nice restaurant. But never having been a waiter before, it was trial by fire and he faced terrible working conditions and homelessness.
Reviewers say: "absorbing and moving" (Library Journal); "a potent look at the gritty underbelly of a glittering world" (Publishers Weekly).
For fans of: The Bear TV series, Anthony Bourdain, and David Lebovitz.
Africa Is Not a Country: Notes on a Bright Continent by Dipo FaloyinWhat it is: a lively, thought-provoking look at Africa, home to 54 countries, 1.4 billion people, and over 2,000 languages.
Why you might like it: Though this isn't a traditional travelogue, acclaimed journalist Dipo Faloyin presents a needed corrective about the continent and its past, present, and future.
Don't miss: his views on Lagos (where he grew up), a look at democracy via 10 dictatorships, details about the African Cup of Nations rivalries, and the debate over which country makes the best jollof rice.
My Travels with Mrs. Kennedy by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin HillTreasure trove: Going through old belongings, retired Secret Service agent Clint Hill found photos, diaries, and other items from his time protecting Jacqueline Kennedy.
Locations include: Virginia, France, Mexico, India, Italy, Greece, and South America.
Read these next: The author's earlier memoir, Mrs. Kennedy and Me, or Jackie's Girl by Nancy McKeon, who as an Irish teen became Jackie's live-in assistant, working and traveling with her in the years following John F. Kennedy's death.
Feels Like Home: A Song for the Sonoran Borderlands by Linda Ronstadt and Lawrence Downes; photographs by Bill SteenWhat's inside: an eclectic, evocative look at the place where award-winning singer Linda Ronstadt grew up, featuring scenic color photos and recipes as well as stories about her life, family, and friends.
The setting: the Sonoran borderlands, which begin near Tucson, Arizona, and dip into Mexico, encompassing desert, mountains, and forests.
For fans of: warmhearted books about singular locales; the author's more music-focused 2013 memoir, Simple Dreams.
Solito: A Memoir by Javier ZamoraWhat it is: poet Javier Zamora's moving story about his 3,000-mile journey from El Salvador to the United States in 1999 when he was nine years old.
What happened: The planned two-week trip took two months, and Zamora faced dangerous boat trips, desert treks, and more. But though he was traveling unaccompanied alongside a group of strangers, he found a makeshift family who helped him survive.
Want a taste? "Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago -- 'one day, you'll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure.'"
Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of my Ancestors by Louise ErdrichWhat it's about: In the early 2000s, together with her 18-month-old daughter, acclaimed writer Louise Erdrich traveled via car and boat visiting the land and lakes of her Ojibwe ancestors in southern Ontario and northern Minnesota, often accompanied by her daughter's Ojibwe spiritual leader father.
Reviewers say: Readers will find Erdrich's "signature combination of the sacred and the ordinary in this lively traveler's memoir" (Booklist).
Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan JerkinsWhat it's about: Bestselling author Morgan Jerkins, who lives in New York and was raised in New Jersey, traveled to Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California for insight as she thoughtfully explored how the Great Migration affected families, especially her own.
Read this next: For more on the Great Migration, which saw millions of African Americans leave the South between 1916 and 1970, pick up Isabel Wilkerson's award-winning history The Warmth of Other Suns; for another book combining family, travelogue, and modern African American history, try Candacy Taylor's Overground Railroad.
Two Trees Make a Forest: In Search of My Family's Past Among Taiwan's Mountains... by Jessica J. LeeWhat it is: a meditative, lyrical mixture of travelogue, history, and memoir, by a British Canadian Taiwanese author fascinated by language and nature, who explored Taiwan, guided by the writings of her maternal grandfather, who'd been a Flying Tiger before immigrating to Canada.
Want a taste? "Born into conflict at the junction of two volcanic arcs, Taiwan is an unstable landmass in perpetual confrontation."
Reviewers say: "poignant and beautifully written" (Library Journal).
The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey by Dawn Anahid MacKeenEscape: During and after World War I, over one million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman government in one of the first modern genocides. Stepan Miskjian survived, walking 1,000 miles across Turkey and Syria.
In his footsteps: Using Miskjian's journals as a guide, his American granddaughter, journalist Dawn Anahid MacKeen, retraced his path and learned about her grandfather, herself, her roots, and the Middle East.
Read this next: Meline Toumani's There Was and There Was Not, which describes the Armenian American writer's move to Istanbul, Turkey, to try to understand the genocide she heard about every day growing up.
House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East by Anthony ShadidWhat it's about: After Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist Anthony Shadid visited his great-grandfather's abandoned house in southern Lebanon, he moved there to restore it, pondering his failed marriage and dealing with contractors as armed conflict loomed nearby.
Why you might like it: This thoughtful, evocative memoir explores renovation projects, family, war, and the meaning of home.
About the author: Just before the 2012 publication of this memoir, which was a National Book Award finalist, the talented Shadid died while reporting in Syria.
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