A Tokyo Romance: A Memoir by Ian BurumaWhat it is: an eloquent, vividly drawn memoir by Ian Buruma, the editor of The New York Review of Books.
Read it for: a candid look at a tall, upper-class Dutchman’s post-college years studying film in Japan and immersing himself in the wild underground art world of 1970s Tokyo.
Who it's for: those interested in unlikely coming-of-age travelogues or the avant-garde art scene.
Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage by Brian CastnerWhat it's about: Combining history with travelogue, acclaimed writer Brian Castner engagingly describes his 1,124 mile-canoe trip across Canada, following in the wake of Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie, who, in 1789, set out to find the fabled Northwest Passage.
Is it for you? Yes, if you like books with a thoughtful guide who combines fascinating history and modern-day adventure.
The Monk of Mokha by Dave EggersStarring: Mokhtar Alkhanshali, who grew up in San Francisco's notorious Tenderloin district, lived with his grandparents in Yemen for a while as a teen, and then moved back to the U.S. and made a career in his twenties importing Yemeni coffee. Then, a 2015 civil war left Mokhtar stranded in Yemen, trying to get home via any path he could.
For fans of: Dave Eggers, of course, but also coffee lovers and fans of Ian Purkayastha's Truffle Boy, another fascinating book about a globe-trotting, gourmet food-importing son of an immigrant.
Dressed Up for a Riot: Misadventures in Putin's Moscow by Michael IdovWhat it is: a witty, pop culture-infused look at modern Russia. Recounting his experiences as editor-in-chief of Russian GQ from 2012-2014 and as a successful screenwriter, American Michael Idov also describes moving his young family to Moscow, hanging with the media and cultural elite, and watching freedoms fade under Putin.
About the author: Idov grew up in a Jewish family in Soviet Latvia until age 16, giving him a unique and insightful perspective.
What you should read next: Peter Pomerantsev's Nothing is True and Everything Is Possible, which covers the decade prior to Idov's book.
The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul BogardWhat it is: an engaging, eye-opening look at the importance of night-time darkness. Author Paul Bogard travels the world -- Paris, Walden Pond, Quebec, various national parks across the globe, and other locations -- exploring varying degrees of darkness and light pollution and how that affects what people see (or don't see) in the night sky.
Did you know? The brightest beam of light on Earth is at the top of the Luxor pyramid in Las Vegas.
Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution by Marcus EriksenWhat it is: activist scientist and Gulf War veteran Marcus Eriksen's impassioned chronicle of his and a friend's Pacific sailing trip -- from Los Angeles to Hawaii -- on a home-made "junk raft" made from plastic bottles, used sailboat masts, and an old airplane. Along the way, they encountered storms, "plastic smog" in the water, and more.
Who it's for: readers concerned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the health of the world's oceans.
Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape by Barry LopezWhat it is: an evocative, expansive, and keenly observed tour of the Arctic that discusses topics like the landscape, wildlife, indigenous people, history, explorers, and the author's multifaceted experiences there.
Award buzz: Originally published in 1986, the bestselling Arctic Dreams won the National Book Award for author Barry Lopez, a writer and field biologist who spent years in the Canadian north.
On Trails: An Exploration by Robert MoorWhat it's about: While thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, journalist Robert Moor pondered the history and purpose of trails, planting the seed for this fascinating, elegantly written examination of why we walk where we do.
Why you might like it: Letting his curiosity lead him around the world (from Maine to Morocco and beyond), Moor talks to historians, Native Americans, scientists, and others while quoting everyone from Wendell Berry to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Fans of Robert Macfarlane will especially enjoy this wide-ranging (literarily and figuratively) debut.
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