To celebrate World Book Day, Halima Ali picks out some of the best travel reads of the past few months
National Geographic the Covers: Iconic Photographs, Unforgettable Stories
Those distinctive yellow borders have framed some of the world’s most historic moments, and this collection of iconic magazine covers — including the famous Afghan girl photo — traces the magazines humble beginnings in 1888, when it was a drab offering in brown paper, before moving on to the very first time images were used on the front. It was a move that sparked outrage at the time, with one reader writing: ‘The addition of a coloured picture on the cover…is completely unnecessary and destroys the impression of dignity and timelessness that have heretofore been associated with the magazine.’
National Geographic books. nationalgeographic.com
The Irresponsible Traveller: Tales of Scrapes and Narrow Escapes
Not exactly the stuff travel brochures are made of, these true stories include tales of being chased through the Delhi Metro by a man with a knife and smuggling contraband across the Zimbabwean border. Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of guidebook publisher Bradt, they’re recounted by travel heavyweights such as Michael Palin, Dervla Murphy, Lyn Hughes, Mike Unwin and Matthew Parris and cover destinations all over the globe, from the mountains of India to the forests of Canada, sun-scorched Australian Outback and Libya four months after the fall of Gaddafi.
Bradt Travel Guides. bradtguides.com
Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America
This travelogue sees cult US film director John Waters — whose works include Hairspray and Cry-Baby — hitchhiking from coast to coast across America with a placard reading ‘I am not a psycho’. Within minutes of leaving his home in Baltimore, the famous pensioner (he was 66 at the time) gets picked up by a film fan who invites the director to his house for lunch before offering him funding for his next film using millions of dollars of drug money he has buried in his back garden. Sounds too weird to be true? Well, in actual fact, much of Carsick is actually a product of Waters’ imagination, as the book presents two highly fictionalised account of the journey before relaying Waters actual adventure. It’s an unusual idea, although Waters fans would surely expect nothing less.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux. us.macmillan.com
Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakeable Love for New York
From the editor of the celebrated anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, comes a new collection of original essays on the things that keep writers tethered to New York City. This is followed by a selection of short stories by the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Elizabeth Gilbert and Amy Sohn, and the combination of the two mean this title is essentially a poignant love letter to the Big Apple. Taking place in museums, cinemas, dive bars, old restaurants, horse-drawn carriages and subway cars, the tales capture the essence of life in one of the world’s most exciting cities — a must-read for all those who love NYC.
Touchstone Books. imprints.simonandschuster.biz
To the Ends Of the Earth
Ranulph Fiennes vividly recounts his record-breaking and near-suicidal three- year circumpolar navigation of the world. Undertaking the gruelling 52,000-mile adventure with fellow members of 21 SAS regiment, this record of that journey captures the natural beauty of the landscapes they passed through and deftly recreates the last unexplored regions on Earth. The book also explores the cameraderie that develops whenever groups throw themselves into life-threatening situations, such as when weaving through the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean or sharing a single sleeping bag to ward off the -40C Arctic night.
Simon & Schuster. simonandschuster.co.uk
This feature was published on CountryByCountry.com