Magdalena: River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia by Wade DavisWhat happened: Long fascinated with Colombia, anthropologist Wade Davis explored the 1,000-mile Rio Magdalena, which runs the length of the country, making five visits over several years.
Read it for: well-researched historical details; evocative descriptions; the respectful treatment of indigenous peoples.
Reviewers say: "An elegant narrative masterfully combining fine reporting and a moving personal journey" (Kirkus Reviews).
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.
The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy RobertsWhat's inside: This lyrical combination of history and travel book details British journalist Sophy Roberts' winter trips in Siberia via plane, train, snowmobile, reindeer, and more, in order to find pianos.
Why pianos? Siberia has hundreds of them -- even gulags sometimes had one -- and Roberts was determined to learn the story behind it all as she searched for a suitable piano for a brilliant Mongolian pianist friend.
Don't miss: Roberts spotting a tiger in the wild; intriguing illustrations; fascinating, detailed footnotes.
The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers by Eric WeinerWhat happened: Popular author Eric Weiner (The Geography of Bliss) traveled by train all over the world to explore philosophy in the places associated with 14 of history’s great thinkers, including Epicurus, Socrates, Confucius, Shōnagon, Thoreau, Nietzsche, and Gandhi.
Why you might like it: Weiner engagingly shows how each philosopher's work provides advice for today via sections like "How to Walk Like Rousseau" and "How to Grow Old Like Beauvoir."
Alone: Lost Overboard in the Indian Ocean by Brett ArchibaldApril 2013: On a charter boat off the coast of Indonesia with a group of old surfer friends, 50-year-old South African Brett Archibald got sick in the middle of the night and fell overboard -- and no one noticed for hours.
What happened: Archibald dealt with rough weather, sharks, jellyfish, and his own thoughts and fears for over 28 hours. Meanwhile, his friends and others frantically tried to find him in the vast, remote region.
Reviewers say: "Solitude is terrifying and awe-inspiring in Alone" (The Wall Street Journal).
Traveling With Ghosts by Shannon Leone FowlerThe accident: Shannon Leone Fowler was swimming with her fiancé off the coast of Thailand when a poisonous box jellyfish wrapped around him, killing him in minutes.
What happened: Grief-stricken and unable to face the ocean and return to her marine biology studies, she traveled solo.
What sets it apart: In addition to describing trips taken by Fowler and her beloved, this engrossing, thoughtful travelogue details her travels after his death to places like Auschwitz, Bosnia, and Romania.
Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude by Stephanie RosenbloomWhat it is: New York Times travel writer Stephanie Rosenbloom's evocative travelogue describing solo trips to four cities in four seasons.
The pairings: spring in Paris, summer in Istanbul, fall in Florence, winter in New York.
Why you might like it: In addition to travel tips, including ones addressing safety, the book examines the pleasures of solo travel and new adventures, underpinning points with scientific studies.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl StrayedStarring: Cheryl Strayed, a 26-year-old novice hiker whose troubles -- her mother's death, the end of her marriage, her own reckless behaviors -- send her solo hiking 1,100-miles of the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT), from California to Washington State.
Is it for you? Though the warm, witty book is centered around her time on the trail (snakes, bears, blisters), it also covers her emotional journey.
Media buzz: The bestselling Wild was the basis for the 2014 film starring Reese Witherspoon with a screenplay written by novelist Nick Hornby.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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