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Another handful of books that will make you want to travel (part 18)

Books keep me sane when I am not travelling. Here is another selection of books I read in the last little while, guaranteed to make you want to pack your bags and hit the road.

Red sands: reportage and recipes through Central Asia from hinterland to heartland - Carline Eden

Red Sands, the follow-up to Caroline Eden’s multi-award-winning Black Sea, is a reimagining of traditional travel writing using food as the jumping-off point to explore Central Asia. In a quest to better understand this vast heartland of Asia, Caroline navigates a course from the shores of the Caspian Sea to the sun-ripened orchards of the Fergana Valley.

A book filled with human stories, forgotten histories and tales of adventure, Caroline is a reliable guide using food as her passport to enter lives, cities and landscapes rarely written about. Lit up by emblematic recipes, Red Sands is an utterly unique book, bringing in universal themes that relate to us all: hope, hunger, longing, love and the joys of eating well on the road.

Adventure Coordinators review: I loved this book for its human-scale stories, the personal encounters, the photography and recipes. 8.5 out of 10

The old ways - Robert MacFarlane

Robert Macfarlane travels Britain's ancient paths and discovers the secrets of our beautiful, underappreciated landscape.

Following the tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast ancient network of routes criss-crossing the British Isles and beyond, Robert Macfarlane discovers a lost world - a landscape of the feet and the mind, of pilgrimage and ritual, of stories and ghosts; above all of the places and journeys which inspire and inhabit our imaginations.

Adventure Coordinators review: I loved this book for its insights and its eloquent writing, a style I would call "poetry in motion". Take this observation when he sees a young boy running down a wintry slope, arms outstretched: "Lift is created by the onwards rush of life over the curved wing of the soul " 9 out of 10.

The other side of paradise - Julia Cooke

Change looms in Havana, Cuba's capital, a city electric with uncertainty yet cloaked in clichés. Journalist Julia Cooke, who lived there at intervals over a period of five years, discovered a dynamic scene: baby-faced anarchists with Mohawks gelled with laundry soap, whiskey-drinking children of the elite, Santeria­trainees, pregnant prostitutes, university graduates planning to leave for the first country that will give them a visa.

Eye-opening and politically prescient, The Other Side of Paradise offers a deep new understanding of a place that has so confounded and intrigued us.

Adventure Coordinators review: an enjoyable insightful read although a little slow at times. 6.5 out of 10

The hero's way: Walking with Garibaldi from Rome to Ravenna - Tim Parks

In the summer of 1849, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italy’s legendary revolutionary, was finally forced to abandon his defense of Rome to prevent slaughter and destruction at the hands of a huge French army.

Against all odds, Garibaldi was determined to turn defeat into moral victory. On the evening of July 2, riding alongside his pregnant wife, Anita, he led 4,000 hastily assembled men to continue the struggle for national independence elsewhere. Hounded by both French and Austrian imperial armies, the garibaldini marched hundreds of miles across the Appenines, Italy’s mountainous spine, and after two months of skirmishes and adventures arrived in Ravenna with just 250 survivors.

Best-selling author Tim Parks set out in the blazing summer of 2019 to follow Garibaldi's arduous journey through the heart of Italy. In The Hero’s Way he delivers a superb travelogue that captures Garibaldi’s determination, creativity, reckless courage, and profound belief.

Adventure Coordinators review: while Parks likes to talk about himself, this did not distract too much from what otherwise is a fascinating story. 8 out of 10.

National parks of Europe - Lonely Planet

A celebration of and practical guide to Europe's areas of incredible natural beauty. Step into a world boasting hilltop coastal villages, frozen Arctic landscapes and sweeping mountain ranges - and discover the 60 most breathtaking national parks, as well as itineraries for experiencing their top sights and activities. The beautiful hardback includes:

- Suggested itineraries for long and short visits

- The essential activities for every season

- Awe-inspiring landscape photography

- How to get to each park and where to stay

- Illustrations of local wildlife to look out for

Adventure Coordinators review: a great inspirational book for anyone who would like to explore a lesser-known side of Europe. 8 out of 10