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Another eight books that inspire to travel (part 8)

Regular readers of our blog and newsletters will know we do not only love to travel, we also love to read about travels to far-flung destinations.  It helps us keep sane during a busy life, makes us dream of or transports us back to destinations.  And every now and then there are places we read about that sound so wonderful, we decide to visit.

 

Here are eight more books that will inspire you to travel.

 

 

Vanilla Beans and Brodo: Real Life in the Hills of Tuscany by Isabella Dusi
Isabella Dusi, a native Australian, settled in Montalcino, a beautiful mountain eyrie famous for its wine and the proud nature of its inhabitants. Her acceptance into this close-knit community was a hard-won thing and has inspired Isabella to capture the true spirit of Montalcino. Vanilla Beans & Brodo tells of the violent history of this medieval village, which has lefts its mark on the character traits of the Montalcinese, and also offers a rare insight into the anxiety, joy, fun, and pressure of daily life as it unfolds with the seasons. An evocative story of the rivalry between village neighborhoods, of football fever and festival pageantry, Isabella Dusi destroys the myth that Tuscan villages are tranquil places, and instead reveals a life infinitely rich and full of dramas.

Adventure Coordinators verdict: while it took me a little while to warm up this book, the nice thing is that this is indeed about real life in Tuscany, not the a tourist's impressions or a visitor's musings  - 8 out of 10

 

 

The Best Travel Writing: True Stories from Around the World
The Best Travel Writing is an annual Travelers' Tales series launched in 2004 to celebrate the world's best travel writing — from Nobel Prize winners to emerging new writers. The points of view and perspectives are global, and themes encompass adventure, spiritual growth, romance, hilarity and misadventure, service to humanity, and encounters with exotic cuisine. Sweat, suffer, and fall in love in Guyana, meet a traveler who conducts his own detente in Russian baths, and encounter the light of a stranger in Burma. Further tales include methods on comprehending the nuances of bargaining in Senegal and an archaeologist who digs up her own past in Greece.

 

 

The Best Women's Travel Writing: True Stories from Around the World

Since publishing the original edition of A Woman's World in 1995, Travelers' Tales has been the recognized national leader in women's travel literature, and with the launch of the annual series The Best Travel Writing in 2004, the obvious next step was an annual collection of the best women's travel writing of the year, presenting stimulating, inspiring, and uplifting adventures from women who have traveled to the ends of the earth to discover new places, peoples, and facets of themselves.
The common threads connecting these stories are a female perspective and fresh, compelling storytelling to make the reader laugh, weep, wish she were there, or be glad she wasn't. 

 

 

To the Heart of the Nile: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa - Pat Shipman
In 1859, at age fourteen, Florence Szász stood before a room full of men and waited to be auctioned to the highest bidder. But slavery and submission were not to be her destiny: Sam Baker, a wealthy English gentleman and eminent adventurer, was moved by compassion and an immediate, overpowering empathy for the young woman, and braved extraordinary perils to help her escape. Together, Florence and Sam - whose love would remain passionate and constant throughout their lives - forged into literally uncharted territory in a glorious attempt to unravel a mysterious and magnificent enigma called Africa.
A stunning achievement, To the Heart of the Nile is an unforgettable portrait of an unforgettable woman: a story of discovery, bravery, determination, and love, meticulously reconstructed through journals, documents, and private papers, and told in an inimitable narrative style.

Adventure Coordinators verdict: what struck me most reading this book is it all happened 160 years ago - a short time ago indeed.  And Shipman's descriptions of the Sudd and the Sudan made me curious about travelling there  - 7 out of 10

 

 

The last Storyteller - Frank Delaney

In The Last Storyteller, Delaney weaves an absorbing tale of lasting love, dangerous risk, and the healing power of redemption. 
Ireland in 1956: the national mood is downtrodden; poverty, corruption, and a fledgling armed rebellion rattle the countryside, and although the main character Ben wants no part of the upstart insurrection, he unknowingly falls in with an IRA sympathizer and is compromised into running guns. Yet despite his perilous circumstances, all he can think about is finding his former wife and true love. 
Brimming with fascinating Irish history, daring intrigue, and the drama of legendary love, The Last Storyteller is an unforgettable novel as richly textured and inspiring as Ireland itself.

Adventure Coordinators verdict: fascinating at times but has the tendency to ramble on a bit -  7 out of 10.

 

 

The 50 Greatest Walks of the World - Barry Stone
The perfect accompaniment to practical guidebooks, Stone relates how slings and carabiners kept him from falling headlong off the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and reports on the progress of the continental-wide monster, the Trans Canada Trail, gaps in which are still being filled by countless grass-roots communities. With walks that will appeal to everyone regardless of ability, The 50 Greatest Walks of the World includes British classics such as the Pennine Way, Offa's Dyke Path, and the Old Man of Hoy as well as personal favourites such as Italy's Cinque Terre Classic and the Isle of Skye's Trotternish Ridge, one of Britain's finest ridge traverses with almost 2,500m of ascents. Whether it's a climb, a stroll, or a life-changing slog, this book has the walk for you.
Adventure Coordinators verdict: with 34 out of 50 walks located in the UK and Ireland, the title of this book is a bit misleading.  Yet it is a handy compendium for people looking for inspiration - 6 out of 10

 

 

1001 Walks you must take before you die - Barry Stone

This generously illustrated volume features 1,001 carefully selected scenic walks throughout the world in both natural and urban settings—from Africa’s Rift Valley to the Appalachian Trail. This latest volume in the hugely popular 1,001 series is the ideal guide to the world’s most exhilarating walks, hikes, and views. Walking is one of our favorite pastimes and one of the easiest—and healthiest—ways to explore the world. It allows walkers to go at their own pace, savor local colors and details, and discover sights that would be missed if in a car or even on a bicycle. The popularity of recreational walking is on the rise with the growing number of trails and the conversion of former canal towpaths and railway lines into mixed-use walkways. Wide-ranging routes carefully selected for scenic beauty, historic attributes, or natural charms include South Africa's Otter Trail,  Hadrian’s Wall in England, the Florence to Siena Chianti trail, and many others, from easy jaunts to more rugged hikes.  Each entry provides essential details about a must-try walk, including start and finish points, overall distance, difficulty rating, maps, and likely duration, making this book an inspiring reference for anyone looking to venture off the beaten path.

Adventure Coordinators verdict: this volume has a much better title than the book mentioned above by the same author.  Albeit a little awkwardly sorted, this is a handbook that should be on every hiker's bookshelf.  Very few of the world's great hikes are missing from its pages - 8 out of 10

 

 

Midnight in Siberia - David Greene

Far away from the trendy cafes, designer boutiques, and political protests and crackdowns in Moscow, the real Russia exists. Midnight in Siberia chronicles David Greene's journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, a 6,000-mile cross-country trip from Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. In quadruple-bunked cabins and stopover towns sprinkled across the country s snowy landscape, Greene speaks with ordinary Russians about how their lives have changed in the post-Soviet years.
These travels offer a glimpse of the new Russia a nation that boasts open elections and newfound prosperity but continues to endure oppression, corruption, a dwindling population, and stark inequality.
Midnight in Siberia is a lively travel narrative filled with humor, adventure, and insight. It opens a window onto that country s complicated relationship with democracy and offers a rare look into the soul of twenty-first-century Russia."

Adventure Coordinators verdict: good read for those trying to get a better insight into Russian culture, history and thought processes - 8 out of 10

 

 

 

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