The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter HesslerWhat it is: a keenly observed look at Egypt during and after the Arab Spring through the lens of both the past and the present featuring can't-miss interactions with a wide variety of people, including a thoughtful garbage collector and a gay translator.
About the author: Between 2011-2016, The New Yorker journalist Peter Hessler lived in Egypt with his wife and young twin daughters and learned Egyptian Arabic. Hessler has also lived in China and written several acclaimed books about the country, including River Town.
A Dog Named Beautiful: A Marine, a Dog, and a Long Road Trip Home by Rob KuglerStarring: Rob Kugler, a Marine veteran and photographer, and Bella, the sweet chocolate lab who was by his side when he returned home from war and dealt with the loss of his brother, who died fighting in Iraq.
What it's about: their poignant road trip around the U.S. after Bella was diagnosed with incurable cancer, as well as Rob's thoughts about purpose and life and his memories of the military and his family.
Will I need a hanky? Probably -- but you'll have some laughs too!
The Shanghai Free Taxi: Journeys with the Hustlers and Rebels of the New China by Frank LangfittWhat it's about: Wanting to provide people a private, casual place to talk, NPR China correspondent Frank Langfitt (a former Philly cab driver) offered free rides to anyone willing to chat.
Did it work? Definitely. All sorts of interesting people opened up about their lives, hopes, and views of their rapidly changing country.
Read this next: For another delightful taxi-centric travel tale, try Layne Mosler's Driving Hungry, which details her experiences asking cab drivers around the globe where she should eat.
Monsieur Mediocre: One American Learns the High Art of Being Everyday French by John von SothenStarring: John von Sothen, an American writer for French Vanity Fair who married a Frenchwoman and has lived and raised his family in a Parisian apartment near the Gare du Nord for the past 15 years.
What it is: a witty, fresh essay collection that lovingly upends rose-colored stereotypes of the City of Light.
Don't miss: the author's memories of growing up in D.C. with his parents (a broadcast journalist and an artist); the family's Parisian staycations.
Jungle of Stone: The Extraordinary Journey of John L. Stephens and Frederick... by William CarlsenWhat it's about: Author William Carlsen explored the Yucatan jungle, retracing the steps of U.S. ambassador to Central America John L. Stephens and British architect Frederick Catherwood, who, in 1839, uncovered amazing 2,000-year-old Mayan ruins that forced a rethinking of recorded history.
Don't miss: how Carlsen skillfully brings Stephens' and Catherwood's personalities to life while recounting their adventures.
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon KrakauerWhat it's about: Researching the commercialization of Mt. Everest in 1996, Jon Krakauer set out with a guide and other groups to trek to the summit. When a snowstorm hit, several people died, including two of the best mountaineers in the world.
What it is: a harrowing and evocative firsthand account of the events.
Read this next: The Climb, by Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt, which offers a competing viewpoint of the tragedy; or the soon-to-be-released essay collection Classic Krakauer, out in October.
Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert KursonStarring: dedicated treasure hunters John Mattera and John Chatterton as well as legendary technology-averse hunter Tracy Bowden.
What happens: Author Robert Kurson (whose Shadow Divers also features Chatterton) compellingly traces the men's high-stakes quest to find the Golden Fleece, a sunken ship that once belonged to notorious English sea captain-turned-pirate Joseph Bannister.
For fans of: Stephan Talty's Empire of Blue Water, pirates, nautical history, and swashbuckling tales of derring-do.
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton SidesWhat it's about: the ill-fated 1879 expedition of the USS Jeannette, led by U.S. naval officer and explorer George Washington De Long, who was looking for a passage to the North Pole via the Bering Strait.
What's inside: a dramatic account -- informed by letters, diaries, expedition records, and news reports -- of what happened when the ship became trapped in pack ice for two years.
Read this next: Paul Watson's Ice Ghosts, which details the history of and contemporary search for shipwrecks from an 1845 Arctic expedition.
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