"A traveler am I, and a navigator, and every day I discover a new region within my soul."
~ Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), Lebanese-American artist and author
South Toward Home: Travels in Southern Literature by Margaret EbyIn this evocative literary travelogue, Margaret Eby, who grew up in Alabama but now lives in New York City, travels to the homes and haunts of her favorite Southern writers. Visiting Jackson, Mississippi, she sees Eudora Welty's garden and explores the area where Richard Wright grew up. She also goes to Oxford, Mississippi (there's William Faulkner's home and Barry Hannah and Larry Brown's fishing hole) and plenty of other places in Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia. During her travels, she ponders the writers' works, meets local people, and explores what the towns are like today. Fans of Southern writing will enjoy this eloquent book; readers craving more about the South can look for two other recent releases, Paul Theroux's Deep South and Rick Bragg's My Southern Journey.
Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture by Matt GouldingIn Rice, Noodle, Fish, Matt Goulding, an editor/publisher for the digital travel and food magazine Roads and Kingdoms, takes a wide-ranging gastronomic tour of Japan, eating ramen, sushi, and things you may never have heard of. Exploring seven key geographic regions, he combines delicious descriptions of food with a detailed travel narrative in this "glorious account" (Publishers Weekly) that includes almost 200 color photographs as well as his correspondence with Anthony Bourdain, which discusses the origins of the book.
A Beginner's Guide to Paradise: 9 Steps to Giving Up Everything... by Alex SheshunoffAlex Sheshunoff was seemingly living the dream: in his mid-twenties, he lived in Manhattan with a lovely Spanish woman and worked at an Internet company he'd helped found. But after a panic attack sent him to the ER, he decided to leave it all behind, move to the South Pacific alone, and read the 100 books he was most embarrassed not to have read. In this "sincerely funny" (Kirkus Reviews) book, he shares his experiences living on a remote island, covering such topics as appropriate attire (loincloths, anyone?), monkey-diapering, building a bungalow...and falling in love.
Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs... by Simon WinchesterThe Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water on Earth. Turning his keen eye to this behemoth, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester touches on its geological history, but mainly focuses on events after January 1, 1950. Assessing not only the ocean and what lies beneath it (diverse animals, coral reefs, etc.), he discusses the countries that border it (including China and the United States) as well as the islands in it. Winchester also addresses humanity's relationship with the ocean and the ocean's inescapable role in the future as climate change occurs and power shifts among the countries at its border. Kirkus Reviews calls Pacific a "superb analysis of a world wonder."
Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses by Bruce FeilerIn this "smart and savvy, insightful and illuminating" (Los Angeles Times) travelogue, author Bruce Feiler teams up with Israeli archaeologist Avner Goren in an attempt to locate and visit some of the most famous places in the Pentateuch (the five Books of Moses that form the Hebrew Torah and the beginning of the Christian Old Testament). Beginning in Turkey, at the presumed site of Noah's Ark, Feiler and Goren explore the Sinai Peninsula, cross into Egypt, and travel through the Negev desert in Israel as well as throughout the West Bank. If you're interested in spiritual journeys, the geography of the Ancient World, and the origins of the Judeo-Christian tradition, don't miss this fascinating book, which is a companion to a PBS mini-series of the same name.
Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James MartinJesuit priest, author, and popular media commentator James Martin visits the Holy Land in Israel for the first time, realizing early on that even with all his years of study, he didn't know as much about the land as he'd thought. Traveling to places associated with Jesus (including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, and the Sea of Galilee), he uses biblical scholarship and his own personal stories to provide readers with a fresh, engaging look at both the modern land he visits and the ancient land that Jesus knew. Christians and non-Christians alike who want an informative, accessible look at the life and land of Jesus will find much to like in this "intelligent, lively travelogue (Kirkus Reviews).
The Snow Leopard by Peter MatthiessenBack in 1973, author Peter Matthiessen and naturalist/biologist George Schaller traveled together with sherpas for five weeks in remote Himalayan mountains. The pair hoped to catch a glimpse of the reclusive snow leopard, which only two people, including Schaller, had seen in almost three decades. But for Schaller, the trip was decidedly more scientific (he planned to study rare sheep), and for Matthiessen, who had recently lost his wife to cancer, it was much more of a spiritual journey. This eloquent, thought-provoking modern classic won two National Book Awards and should please fans of travelogues, nature writing, and spiritual memoirs.
Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine by Eric WeinerWhile a patient in the hospital, author Eric Weiner was asked a question by a nurse that changed the direction of his life: Have you found your God yet? Though he was born in a secular home to "gastronomical Jews," Weiner, author of the popular book The Geography of Bliss, decided to examine spirituality by traveling around the world. From meditating with Tibetan lamas in Nepal and whirling with Sufi dervishes in Turkey to hanging out with practitioners of a UFO-based religion in Las Vegas, Weiner's experiences ran the gamut (he also spent time in Israel, China, and the Bronx). Armchair travelers who enjoy witty looks at spirituality should pick up this "well-researched, informative, and engaging" (The Washington Post) book.
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