Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard... by Siân EvansWhat it is: an engaging look at the golden age of transatlantic ocean travel via the stories of women, both employees and passengers, who found unprecedented freedoms onboard.
Don't miss: stories about famous people such as Josephine Baker and Martha Gellhorn; details about the ocean liners used as World War I hospital ships.
For fans of: Erik Larson's Dead Wake; Hugh Brewster's Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage; well-researched social histories centered on women; or amusing tales of ocean travel.
The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence by Stephen KurczyWelcome to... the Quiet Zone of Green Bank, West Virginia, home to the local observatory's large single-dish radio telescope, which means that for miles around there's no WiFi and no cell signals.
What happened: Journalist Stephen Kurczy spent several months over the course of three years in the rural Appalachian area, meeting longstanding residents, people who moved there to get away from technology, and others with unsettling reasons for wanting radio silence.
Reviewers say: "Captivating" (Kirkus Reviews); "An engaging and sympathetic study of the myriad people who call this unique place home" (Booklist).
The Passenger: How a Travel Writer Learned to Love Cruises & Other Lies From a Sinking Ship by Chaney KwakThe opening: "As the cruise ship almost tips over, the horizon that once bisected my lovely balcony door rises like a theater curtain and disappears."
What happened: Along with nearly 1400 others in March 2019, travel writer Chaney Kwak was aboard the Viking Sky cruise ship off the coast of Norway when it was rocked by such severe waves and winds that it listed, lost power, and began to drift into dangerous waters
Why you might like it: Incorporating interviews with others involved, this book is a riveting blend of humor and seriousness that also movingly details the author's examination of his life as he waited to be rescued.
Travels With George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy by Nathaniel PhilbrickDid you know? After George Washington became president, he visited each of the 13 former colonies between 1789 and 1791 to try to unite the brand-new country.
What's inside: a thoughtful examination of the first U.S. president and the country's early years, plus an intimate look at award-winning author Nathanial Philbrick's own 2018 journey (with wife and dog) retracing the route of Washington's long-ago carriage wheels.
Reviewers say: "Both a lighthearted travelogue and a timely exploration of Washington’s historical legacy" (Wall Street Journal).
Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the... by Anthony DoerrImagine... moving to a foreign country for a year, with six-month-old twin boys in tow. That's just what author Anthony Doerr and his wife did in 2004 after he won the prestigious Rome Prize.
Why you might like it: In this amusing memoir, first-time parent Doerr writes eloquently of children, sleepless nights, intriguing Romans, the funeral of Pope John Paul II, and the multitude of things to see and do.
Author buzz: Doerr's the author of the mega-bestselling 2014 book All the Light We Cannot See; his newest novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, just came out to stellar reviews.
Paris in Love: A Memoir by Eloisa JamesWhat it's about: Bestselling romance writer Eloisa James (aka Mary Bly, Shakespearean scholar) moved her family of four to Paris for a year after her beloved mother's death and her own battle with cancer.
What's inside: James' familial anecdotes together with memories of her mother (author Carol Bly) and worries about her aging father (poet Robert Bly) make this charming look at Paris also a loving look at family.
Read this next: Readers interested in a young male novelist's very different view of the famed city can check out Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin.
On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey by Paul TherouxWhat happened: Erudite 70-something author Paul Theroux drove the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border alone. Crossing back and forth, he visited Mexico City, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and other areas, where he met locals, witnessed the monarch butterfly migration, visited historic locations, taught writing, and learned about drug cartels.
Author buzz: Theroux's written acclaimed travelogues and fiction, including books that've been made in movies like The Mosquito Coast. His latest novel, Under the Wave at Waimea, came out in April.
Read this next: For a penetrating look at both U.S. borders, try Stephanie Elizondo Griest's travel narrative All the Agents and Saints.
The Colossus of New York: A City in Thirteen Parts by Colson WhiteheadWhat's inside: vibrant essays that incorporate memories, anecdotes, vignettes, and lyrical meditations to offer an intimate portrait of life in New York City.
The opening line: "I'm here because I was born here and thus ruined for anywhere else, but I don't know about you."
Author buzz: Colson Whitehead has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction twice, for The Underground Railroad and for The Nickel Boys. His latest acclaimed novel, Harlem Shuffle, was released in September.
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