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Another set of travel books for your reading list(part 13)

When I don't travel, I love to read about places I have been, places I plan to travel to, or places I might otherwise never consider.

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe - Kapka Kassabova

In this extraordinary work of narrative reportage, Kapka Kassabova returns to Bulgaria, from where she emigrated as a girl twenty-five years previously, to explore the border it shares with Turkey and Greece.

Kassabova discovers a place that has been shaped by successive forces of history: the Soviet and Ottoman empires, and, older still, myth and legend. Her exquisite portraits of fire walkers, smugglers, treasure hunters, botanists, and border guards populate the book. There are also the ragged men and women who have walked across Turkey from Syria and Iraq. But there seem to be nonhuman forces at work here too: This densely forested landscape is rich with curative springs and Thracian tombs, and the tug of the ancient world, of circular time and animism, is never far off.

Border is a scintillating, immersive travel narrative that is also a shadow history of the Cold War, a sideways look at the migration crisis troubling Europe, and a deep, witchy descent into interior and exterior geographies.

Adventure Coordinators review - a gem of a book - I could not put it down. 9.5 out of 10

True North: Travels In Arctic Europe - Gavin Francis

The stark, vast beauty of the remote Arctic Europe landscape has been the focus of human exploration for thousands of years. In this striking blend of travel writing, history and mythology, Gavin Francis offers a unique portrait of the northern fringes of Europe. His journey begins in the Shetland Isles, takes him to the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard and on to Lapland. Following in the footsteps of the region’s early pioneers, Francis observes how the region has adapted to the 21st century, giving an observed insight into the lives of people he encounters along the way. As with all the best travel writing, True North is an engaging, compassionate tale of self-discovery, whilst blending historical and contemporary narratives in the tradition of Bruce Chatwin and Robert Macfarlane.

Adventure Coordinators review - well researched and a good read about the furthest reaches of Europe. Some of these areas I have travelled to, which made some of his adventures recognizable. 7.5 out of 10

Dancing Bears: True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life Under Tyranny - Witold Szablowski

Szablowski's on-the-ground reporting—of smuggling a car into Ukraine, hitchhiking through Kosovo as it declares independence, arguing with Stalin-adoring tour guides at the Stalin Museum, sleeping in London’s Victoria Station alongside a homeless woman from Poland, and giving taxi rides to Cubans fearing for the life of Fidel Castro—provides a fascinating portrait of social and economic upheaval and a lesson in the challenges of freedom and the seductions of authoritarian rule.

Adventure Coordinators review - while the title is a bit misleading - there is little nostalgy for tyranny in this book - it does provide a fascinating insight into how lives were upended during the fall of Communism. 7 out of 10

A History of the World in 500 Walks - Sarah Baxter

From geologic upheavals and mad kings to trade routes and saints' ways, this book relates the tales behind the top 500 walks that have shaped our society. It's easy to imagine traveling back in time as you read about convicts and conquistadores, silk traders and Buddhists who have hiked along routes for purposes as varied as the terrain they covered. From prehistory to the present day, take a grand tour of world events at eye-level perspective with accounts that combine knowledgeable commentary with practical detail. You may even be inspired to lace up your own boots!

Adventure Coordinators review - I loved this book for its incredible selection of walks. I added some of them to my ever-growing bucket list. 8.5 out of 10

Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World Paperback – Stephan Orth

In Couchsurfing in Iran, award-winning author Stephan Orth spends sixty-two days on the road in this mysterious Islamic republic to provide a revealing, behind-the-scenes look at life in one of the world's most closed societies. Thanks to hospitable, English-speaking strangers, Orth gets up close and personal with locals, peering behind closed doors and blank windows to uncover the inner workings of a country where public show and private reality are strikingly opposed.

Adventure Coordinators review - good read of a hidden and often misunderstood country. 7.5 out of 10