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Armchair Travel December 2012
"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."
~ Maya Angelou, American author and poet
New and Recently Released!
Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land - by James McClintock
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 09/18/2012
Share Lost Antarctica%3a Adventures in a Disappearing Land ISBN-13: 9780230112452
ISBN-10: 0230112455
In this evocative combination of natural history, adventure memoir, and travelogue, veteran marine biologist James McClintock, one of the foremost experts on Antarctica, describes the stunning beauty of the continent, its amazing diversity of life, and the devastating effects of global warming that threaten it -- and he does so in a "charming and anecdote-filled" (Publishers Weekly) way that even English majors can enjoy. McClintock, who has been studying Antarctica's diverse plant and animal life for decades and has made 13 research trips there, also discusses the area's dangerous and harsh living conditions. If you'd like another vividly described look at this fascinating place and would appreciate hearing an outsider's perspective, try journalist Sara Wheeler's Terra Incognita.
A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi - by Aman Sethi
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/22/2012
Share A Free Man%3a A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi ISBN-13: 9780393088908
ISBN-10: 0393088901
What is life like for India's working poor? Award-winning reporter Aman Sethi answers this question by painting a "darkly comical and imminently readable" (Booklist) picture of one man: charismatic, philosophizing, and homeless house painter Mohammed Ashraf. Sethi hangs out with the middle-aged day laborer and a couple of his friends for months, listening to their stories, sharing drinks and joints, and learning about their lives on the streets. Readers who enjoyed journalist Katherine Boo's National Book Award-winning Behind the Beautiful Forevers, about residents of a Mumbai slum, may be interested in Sethi's "moving and irrepressible work of narrative reporting" (Publishers Weekly).
Walking the Amazon: 860 Days. One Step at a Time. - by Ed Stafford
Publisher: Plume
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 08/28/2012
Share Walking the Amazon%3a 860 Days. One Step at a Time. ISBN-13: 9780452298262
ISBN-10: 0452298261
Imagine walking 4,000 miles across South America over the course of two years. That's just what former British Army Captain Ed Stafford did between April 2008 and August 2010 in his quest to be the first person to walk the entire length of the Amazon River, from the Pacific coast of Peru, through Colombia, and on to Brazil's Atlantic coast. In this "gripping celebration of physical and mental endurance" (Kirkus Reviews), Stafford provides details about the trip's hardships and dangers (boredom, jaguars, flooding, snakes, etc.), the people he meets (armed natives, his long-term walking partner), and deforestation. Though Stafford's a more experienced outdoorsman than David Gran (The Lost City of Z) or Mark Adams (Turn Right at Machu Picchu), all three authors are appealing guides who offer a fresh look at modern South American exploration.
My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes)  - by Luisa Weiss
Publisher: Viking
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 09/13/2012
Share My Berlin Kitchen%3a A Love Story (with Recipes) ISBN-13: 9780670025381
ISBN-10: 0670025380
Born in 1977 West Berlin to an American father who made an amazing tomato sauce and an Italian mother who didn't like to cook, chef Luisa Weiss lived in the divided city during the first three years of her life. After her parent's divorce, she became a frequent traveler, spending part of the year near Boston, part in Germany, and always feeling like she never fit in. Later she lived (and ate, and cooked) in Italy, Paris, and New York -- but her heart always longed to return to her first home. Leaving behind a stable job and her boyfriend, she risks everything and moves back to Berlin...where she meets a man she might be happy cooking with forever. Still living in Germany, Weiss writes the award-winning blog The Wednesday Chef. If you're a fan of Julie and Julia, put this foodie memoir on your to-be-read menu!
"Home" (for the Holidays)
Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York - by Adam Gopnik
Publisher: Vintage Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/06/2007
Share Through the Children ISBN-13: 9781400075751
ISBN-10: 1400075750
After living in Paris for five years, author Adam Gopnik and his family moved to Manhattan in the fall of 2000. In a series of essays that examine everything from the cleaned-up Times Square to school plays, Gopnik describes what life is like for him, his wife, and their two small children in a changing New York that's increasingly being populated by families. He also touches on larger issues, like the impact of 9/11 on city dwellers. This "detailed, rhapsodic, and altogether satisfying chronicle" (Los Angeles Times) is sure to have readers pondering what their own version of New York looks like. For a more classic view of the city, try E.B. White's Here is New York, written over 60 years ago.
Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy - by Frances Mayes
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 09/01/1996
Share Under the Tuscan Sun%3a At Home in Italy ISBN-13: 9780811808422
ISBN-10: 0811808424
"I am about to buy a house in a foreign country." So begins Frances Mayes' classic bestselling memoir, which was first published in 1986, became the basis for a 2003 movie starring Diane Lane, and inspired other books about throwing caution to the wind and buying a house in a strange land. To add to the fun, poet and professor Mayes didn't just buy a new house, she purchased a Tuscan villa that needed major refurbishing. In Under the Tuscan Sun, she relates experiences from her new Italian life, such as spending time with Tuscans, dealing with repairs, and dining on delicious foods (recipes are included!). "This is armchair travel at its most enticing" (Booklist).
House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East - by Anthony Shadid
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 02/28/2012
Share House of Stone%3a A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East ISBN-13: 9780547134666
ISBN-10: 0547134665
When two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony Shadid visited the abandoned house his great-grandfather had built in southern Lebanon, he decided to restore the nearly 100-year-old two-story abode. In this memoir, he explores renovation, war, home, family, and change. In his great-grandfather's day, Christians (like his relatives) and Muslims resided peacefully together -- but for years now, the town has been affected by often-violent conflicts, including 18 years of Israeli occupation. Just before the publication of this "complicated, elegiac, beautiful" (Kirkus Reviews) memoir earlier this year, the amazingly talented Shadid died from an apparent asthma attack while reporting in Syria.
Running Away to Home: Our Family's Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came From, and What Really Matters - by Jennifer Wilson
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/11/2011
Share Running Away to Home%3a Our Family ISBN-13: 9780312598952
ISBN-10: 0312598955
Unhappy with what their young family's life had become ("We worked. We drove the kids around. We shopped."), Iowa travel writer Jennifer Wilson and her architect husband decide to move to Mrkopalj, her ancestral Croatian mountain village. She's looking for home, but what she finds on a fact-finding trip (lots of drinking, wild boars) doesn't endear the town to her. Still, her family makes the move, and for a year they experience a simpler, more primitive life, living according to local customs while reconnecting with ancestors and each other. This lighthearted yet meditative look at one family's life-changing experience provides armchair travelers with a "fun-filled, revealing peek into the Croatian countryside" (Booklist).
Contact your librarian for more great books!

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