Packed with a wealth of information, this publication charts the evolution of garden design through a selection of some of our best-loved country house estates and historic gardens, including Hampton Court Palace, Chatsworth, Sissinghurst, and Kew. In addition, it also provides fascinating profiles on the geniuses who created some of our most inspirational gardens, including William Kent, Lancelot "Capability" Brown, Humphry Repton, Gertrude Jekyll, and Sir Joseph Paxton.
After spending his 20s traveling the world and hopping from job to job, Gabriel Schirm was lost. At 32 years old, he desperately needed to find direction and meaningful purpose in his life. With no physical training, he decided his answers were waiting for him somewhere along the historic 490-mile pilgrimage route called the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
Travel is an excuse to challenge your beliefs and increase your perspective. Telling travel stories is an excuse to discuss society, philosophy, the evolution of modern relationships, and the state of contemporary marketing.
Goethe was probably the greatest universal genius who ever lived. Although known primarily as a poet, playright, and novelist, he was also known for his work in anatomy, botany, color, art criticism, and jurisprudence. Many people are deterred from attempting to read anything by Goethe because of his extremely penetrating intelligence and dense prose. But his travel diary, Italian Journey, is by far easier to digest than anything else by him.
Keen to move out of the elephant's stomach, that stew of gray mists called weather in Wales, Jean Gill offered her swimming certificate to a bemused Provençale estate agent and bought a house with good stars and its own spring water. Or, rather, as it turns out, a neighbor's spring water that is the only supply to the kitchen, which, according to the nice men from the Water Board, is emptying its dirty water directly and illegally onto the main road.... And there's worse....
What would YOU do with a multi-million-dollar aircraft and time on your hands? Join the adventures of a Silicon Valley salaryman whose good fortune put him in the pilot's seat of a radical, high-tech Beechcraft Starship airplane, one of only a handful ever made. He set out on what many only dream of: slowly meandering around the world with no fixed route and no fixed return date. Discover new countries and cultures.
I was middle-aged and homeless, soon to be penniless, and really and truly no different from that bag lady sitting on the bench over there. I couldn't jack it in and go home, because I didn't have a home to go to anymore. The bicycle and the tent were now home. Wherever I found myself on any given night was now home. And that meant, for tonight, Genoa Piazza Principe Railway Station was home.
We've been going to music festivals since 2004. We've seen Bruce Springsteen rip it up on the guitar while on his knees in true rock god fashion. We've seen Willy Nelson strum his guitar and that iconic long hair. We've seen Paul McCartney emanate harmonious Beatles tunes from his piano. We've seen Robert Randolph, Buddy Guy, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beach Boys, Radiohead, Widespread Panic, The Flaming Lips, Tom Petty, Dave Matthews Band, The Allman Brothers, Umphrey's McGee....
As Hillaire Belloc explains it, one fine day while walking about the town in northern France where he was born, he suddenly decided to take a pilgrimage to Rome. Not just any pilgrimage, mind you. He not only decided to walk the whole way, but he decided to make a beeline for the Holy City, doing everything possible to avoid leaving the straight path.
Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris bureau chief of The New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street, offering an homage to street life and the pleasures of Parisian living. While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, the rue des Martyrs maintains its distinct allure. On this street, the patron saint of France was beheaded and the Jesuits took their first vows.
"Warm and wonderful"
What do most people think of Idaho? Well, see, that's the problem - they don't think of Idaho. Despite its breathtaking natural beauty and the fact that it's crammed to the gills with eccentrics and freethinkers, Idaho may as well be the moon as far as the rest of America is concerned. Jim Goad recently spent a week in Idaho mingling with state troopers, political extremists, collegiate progressives, and heartbreakingly friendly locals.
Hundreds of hardy people have tried to carve a living in the Alaskan bush, but few have succeeded as consistently as Heimo Korth. Originally from Wisconsin, Heimo traveled to the Arctic wilderness in his feverous 20s. Now, more than four decades later, Heimo lives with his wife approximately 200 miles from civilization - a sustainable, nomadic life bounded by the migrating caribou, the dangers of swollen rivers, and the very exigencies of daily existence.
The definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of Into the Wild. Read by the author. Also, hear a Fresh Air interview with Krakauer conducted shortly after his ordeal.
From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.
"Devout Fan Disappointed"
The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America - majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaing guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way - and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
"What a treat"
Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned 30, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be. To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. She got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world, all alone. This is the absorbing chronicle of that year.
"Witty and Wonderful"
In the first of three essays included in this audiobook, Bill Bryson decides to move his wife and kids back to his homeland, the United States, after nearly two decades in Britain. But not before taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. The result is a hilarious social commentary.
"A humorist in the Mark Twain tradition."
Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door, memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion on the Appalachian Trail resulted in the best seller A Walk in the Woods. Now, we follow him "Down Under" to Australia with this delectably funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance that combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiosity. More from Bill Bryson.
"Laugh out loud funny"
From the best selling author of A Walk in the Woods, comes this hilarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain. Check out more Bill Bryson.
"Crackin' yarn, lad!"
Best-selling author Simon Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world, exploring our relationship with this imposing force of nature. Winchester's personal experience is vast and his storytelling second to none. And his historical understanding of the region is formidable, making Pacific a paean to this magnificent sea of beauty, myth, and imagination that is transforming our lives.
"Another good Simon Winchester book"
After running an ultramarathon through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, Christopher McDougall finds his next great adventure on the razor-sharp mountains of Crete, where a band of Resistance fighters in World War II plotted the daring abduction of a German general from the heart of the Nazi occupation.
"A solid follow-up"
Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other, a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage.
"extremely entertaining and informative"
In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.
"into thin air"
On October 6, 1973, Ted Simon knew there was no going back. He loaded up his 500cc Triumph Tiger in the pouring rain and said good-bye to London. Over four years he rode 64,000 miles round the world. Breakdowns, revolutions, war, a spell in prison, and a Californian commune were all part of his experience, which was colored variously by utter despair and unimaginable joy. He was treated as a spy, a god, a welcome stranger and a curiosity
"Eloquently Written ~ Exquisitely Told"
After her plane crashes, a 17-year-old girl spends 11 days walking through the Peruvian jungle. Against all odds, with no food, shelter, or equipment, she gets out. A better equipped group of adult survivors of the same crash sits down and dies. What makes the difference?
"I'm not sure it can get better than this"
Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness". This uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is.
"Brew your coffee, get some cookies"
Sarah Vowell travels through the American past and investigates the dusty, bumpy roads of her own life. Her essays confront a wide range of subjects, icons, and historical moments: Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton; Canadian Mounties and German Filmmakers; Tom Cruise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; twins and nerds; the Gettysburg Address, the State of the Union, and George W. Bush's inauguration. The result is an engrossing audiobook, capturing Vowell's memorable wit and her keen social commentary.
"A great listen"
Paul Theroux has spent 50 years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Now, for the first time, in his 10th travel book, Theroux explores a piece of America - the Deep South.
In this exuberantly praised book - a collection of seven pieces on subjects ranging from television to tennis, from the Illinois State Fair to the films of David Lynch, from postmodern literary theory to the supposed fun of traveling aboard a Caribbean luxury cruiseliner - David Foster Wallace brings to nonfiction the same curiosity, hilarity, and exhilarating verbal facility that has delighted readers of his fiction.
"Overdramatic narrator for my taste"
This memoir is laced with wonderful stories about the French character, particularly in the world of food, and the way of life that Julia Child embraced so wholeheartedly. Above all, she reveals the kind of spirit and determination, the sheer love of cooking, and the drive to share that with her fellow Americans that made her the extraordinary success she became.
"What a pleasure!"
A landmark in travel writing, this is the incredible true story of Heinrich Harrer’s escape across the Himalayas to Tibet, set against the backdrop of the Second World War. Heinrich Harrer, already one of the greatest mountaineers of his time, was climbing in the Himalayas when war broke out in Europe. He was imprisoned by the British in India but succeeded in escaping and fled to Tibet.
Like a well-crafted stage play, Just Passin' Thru delivers one suspenseful scene after another. But in this historic setting a store on the Appalachian Trail called Mountain Crossings the characters who show up are no fictional creations. Like any good drama, there are the good guys (and gals) and the weirdos, too. Some show up once (and that’s enough), and some appear again and again. But all are united by two things: the author’s story-capturing talent, and whatever it is that lures them to attempt (or conquer) a 2,200-mile path that climbs and plummets from Georgia to Maine.
"Well Worth it!"
Why would a middle-aged businessman who had never even spent the night outdoors, attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail? Bill Walker, a former commodities trader in Chicago and London, and an avid walker, had developed a virtual obsession to hike this historic 2,175 mile footpath in one hiking season. In the spring of 2005 he set off from his home state of Georgia, hoping to make it to Mount Katahdin in northern Maine before the arrival of winter.
Within the dark corners of America’s forests grow culinary treasures. Chefs pay top dollar to showcase these elusive and beguiling ingredients on their menus. Whether dressing up a filet mignon with smoky morels or shaving luxurious white truffles over pasta, the most elegant restaurants across the country now feature an abundance of wild mushrooms. Langdon Cook embeds himself in this shadowy subculture, reporting from both rural fringes and big-city eateries.
"Intriguing and full of fun!"
The “mountain men” were the hunters and trappers who fiercely strode the Rocky Mountains in the early to mid-1800s. They braved the elements in search of the skins of beavers and other wild animals, to sell or barter for goods. The lifestyle of the mountain men could be harsh, existing as they did among animals, and spending most of their days and nights living and camping out in the great unexplored wilds of the Rockies.
"Good for boys"
In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident.
"Peter Berkrot Again?"
Spanning 15 years of travel, beginning when she is a sophomore in college, Wanderlust documents Elisabeth Eaves’ insatiable hunger for the rush of the unfamiliar and the experience of encountering new people and cultures. Young and independent, she crisscrosses five continents and chases the exotic, both in culture and in romance.
"Travel for Love and Love of Travel"
Abounding in secluded, atmospheric parks, artists' studios, cafes, restaurants, and streets little changed since the 1800s, Paris exudes romance. The art and architecture, the cityscape, riverbanks, and the unparalleled quality of daily life are part of the equation. But the city's allure derives equally from hidden sources: querulous inhabitants, a bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and a rich historical past supplying enigmas, pleasures, and challenges.
A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today, the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people.
"Another Excellent Work"
Gerald Asher, who served as Gourmet's wine editor for 30 years, has drawn together this selection of his essays, published in Gourmet and elsewhere, for the collective insight they give into why a wine should always be an expression of a place and a time. Guiding the reader through 27 diverse wine regions in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and California, he shows how every wine worth drinking is a reflection of its terroir - in the broadest sense of that untranslatable word.
"An educational look at wine"
As a kid growing up in Manhattan, William Helmreich played a game with his father they called "Last Stop." They would pick a subway line and ride it to its final destination, and explore the neighborhood there. Decades later, Helmreich teaches university courses about New York, and his love for exploring the city is as strong as ever. Putting his feet to the test, he decided that the only way to truly understand New York was to walk virtually every block of all five boroughs - an astonishing 6,000 miles.
"Not quite as I expected, but compulsively readable"
In the 17 wide-ranging essays collected for the first time in Love and Other Ways of Dying, he brings his full literary powers to bear, pondering happiness and grief, memory and the redemptive power of human connection. In the remote Ukranian countryside, Paterniti picks apples (and faces mortality) with a real-life giant; in Nanjing, China, he confronts a distraught jumper on a suicide bridge.
"Incredibly intimate voice for humanity"
Far from the glittering cities of Beijing and Shaghai, China's borderlands are populated by around one hundred million people who are not Han Chinese. For many of these restive minorities, the old Chinese adage "the mountains are high and the Emperor far away", meaning Beijing's grip on power is tenuous and its influence unwelcome, continues to resonate.
"Engrossing Stories of an Unfamiliar China"
In the picturesque village of Guzmán, Spain, in a cave dug into a hillside on the edge of town, an ancient door leads to a cramped limestone chamber known as “the telling room”. Containing nothing but a wooden table and two benches, this is where villagers have gathered for centuries to share their stories and secrets - usually accompanied by copious amounts of wine. It was here, in the summer of 2000, that Michael Paterniti found himself listening to a larger-than-life Spanish cheesemaker named Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras as he spun an odd and compelling tale about a piece of cheese.
"A little too long but good nevertheless"
Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit of adventure, Strange Stones is a far-ranging, thought-provoking collection of Peter Hessler’s best reportage - a dazzling display of the powerful storytelling, shrewd cultural insight, and warm sense of humor that are the trademarks of his work. Over the last decade, as a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of three books, Peter Hessler has lived in Asia and the United States, writing as both native and knowledgeable outsider in these two very different regions.
The best-selling author of Italian Neighbors returns with a wry and revealing portrait of Italian life - by riding its trains. In his first Italian travelogue in a decade, he deli0vers a charming and funny portrait of Italian ways by riding its trains from Verona to Milan, Rome to Palermo, and right down to the heel of Italy.
Elisabeth Tova Bailey tells the intimate and inspiring story of her year-long encounter with a snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, she becomes an astute and amused observer of the snail's surprising nocturnal adventures as it lives in a flowerpot on her nightstand. Intrigued by the snail’s clear decision making abilities, hydraulic locomotion, mysterious courtship, and molluscan anatomy, Bailey takes the listener deep into the life of this tiny amazing animal. With wit and grace, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating recounts a remarkable journey of human and gastropod survival and resilience, and shows how the natural world illuminates our own human existence. Winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Nonfiction, the John Burrough Medal Award for Natural History, and a National Outdoor Book Award. If you enjoyed Wesley the Owl, The Guest Cat, and Marley & Me, you'll enjoy this unique interspecies audiobook listen.
"3.5 Stars—But Quite Enjoyable"
The life of Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, has, with the passing of time, been magnified to the scale of myth, turning history into the stuff of legend. Known as the First Patriarch, Bodhidharma brought Zen from South India into China in 500 CE, changing the country forever. In Tracking Bodhidharma, Andrew Ferguson recreates the path of Bodhidharma, traveling through China to the places where the First Patriarch lived and taught. This sacred trail takes Ferguson deep into ancient China.
As Kohnstamm comes to personal terms with each of his demanding job requirements, he unveils the underside of the travel industry and its often-harrowing effect on writers, travelers, and the destinations themselves. Moreover, he invites us into his world of compromising and scandalous situations in one of the most exciting countries as he races against an impossible deadline
Whether your idea of travel at its finest is trekking through Europe with a backpack, a map and a foreign-language dictionary; road-tripping across America in a fully loaded RV; or cruising the Caribbean aboard a luxury liner, Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul celebrates the people you’ll meet, the lands you’ll discover and the lessons you’ll learn. Like traveling itself, the stories in this book will take you on a journey of adventure, insight, and discovery. Through the real-life experiences of others, you’ll see that regardless of the destination, it is the journey that provides the fondest memories.