Crossing the River
By Amy Ragsdale
Overwhelmed with her fast-paced, competitive lifestyle, Amy Ragsdale moved with her husband, writer Peter Stark, and their two teenage children from the US to a small town in northeastern Brazil, where she hoped they would learn the value of a slower life. In this culturally rich and economically poor region, Amy and her family learn to fundamentally connect with their neighbours across language and customs. In the year they spend there, Amy grows close to her new neighbours, from the men who cut sugar cane to the clinical university students, as they became the family's guides to Brazilian life.Elegantly written and vibrant in detail, Crossing the River tells a global story through a personal memoir, examining life without the trappings of modern American culture, and revealing surprising truths about identity, family, and love.
By John Waters
John Waters is putting his life on the line. Armed with wit, a pencil-thin moustache, and a cardboard sign that reads 'I'm Not Psycho', he hitchhikes across America from Baltimore to San Francisco, braving lonely roads and treacherous drivers. But who should we be more worried about, the delicate film director with genteel manners or the unsuspecting travelers transporting the Pope of Trash?Along the way, Waters fantasizes about the best and worst possible scenarios: a friendly drug dealer hands over piles of cash to finance films with no questions asked, a demolition-derby driver makes a filthy sexual request in the middle of a race, a gun-toting drunk terrorizes and holds him hostage, and a Kansas vice squad entraps and throws him in jail. So what really happens when this cult legend sticks out his thumb and faces the open road? Laced with subversive humour and warm intelligence, Carsick is an unforgettable ride with a wickedly funny companion - and a celebration of America's weird, astonishing, and generous citizens.
By Richard Grant
No-one travels like the renowned writer-adventurer Richard Grant and, really, no-one should. Having narrowly escaped death at the hands of Mexican drug barons in Bandit Roads, he now plunges with his trademark recklessness and curiosity into Africa. Setting out to make the first descent of a previously unexplored river in Tanzania, he gets waylaid by thieves, whores and a degenerate former golf pro in Zanzibar, then crosses the Indian Ocean in a cargo dhow before the real adventure begins on the Malagarasi river. Travelling by raft, dodging bullets, hippos, lions and crocodiles, hacking through swamps and succumbing to fevers, Grant's gripping, illuminating and often hilarious book will thrill his devoted readers and bring him to an even broader audience.
A Corkscrew Is Most Useful
By Nicholas Murray
In the early 19th century there was a huge surge forward in travel of all kinds. Queen Victoria's accession in 1837 came barely a year after John Murray's first guidebook was published. Then in 1838 Bradshaw's famous portable railway timetable appeared. In 1841 Thomas Cook, the world's first travel agent, organised its first tour (from London to Leicester and back by train). The age of mass tourism had arrived. Side by side with it another phenomenom began to develop: exploration to wilder shores and uncharted lands. This is the focus of Nicholas Murray's fascinating book which draws upon the extraordinary stories of Livingstone's journey across Africa; Burton and Speke reaching Lake Tanganyika; John Stuart crossing Australia from south to north; Livingstone reaching the Zambezi; Richard Burton's travels across Arabia, and countless others' extraordinary and brave expeditions.
The Cave Of The Yellow Dog
By Byambarusen Davaa, Lisa Reisch
Davaa, a young filmmaker, returns to her native country and to the region where she grew up to show us life among the nomadic people. Through the touching story of the young girl Nansaa and her little dog Zochor, she depicts the freedom of life on the steppes, as well as the spirituality of the people and the significance of the Buddhist faith. Delicate and poignant, Davaa's story also highlights the increasing tensions as these rich traditions come into conflict with the demands of modern urban life.Following the international success of The Story of the Weeping Camel, director Byambasuren Davaa takes us on a journey into another world, and through poetic writing and exquisite photography she reveals the magic of a culture very different from our own.
By Douglas Kennedy
Money as a weapon. Money as revenge. Money as a substitute for sex and love. Money as status ... This intriguing and extraordinarily well-written book is cheering for those of us who aren't rich, and will go happily to our graves without ever pulling down £300,000 per annum' Simon Hoggart, LITERARY REVIEW'How we chase Mammon defines us. Because, like it or not, we are what we earn,' CHASING MAMMON is the first travel book ever written about the uses of money and the attitudes of the wheelers and dealers in the international marketplace. Douglas Kennedy spent a year loitering with intent in six very disparate financial realms, including the Casablanca bourse (where stocks and bonds are listed on a blackboard), the squeaky-clean Singapore money markets, the Sydney futures market and the first Hungarian stock exchange to open since 1948. From the 'New Age' City folk in London, unsure whether greed really is good for you, to the tireless toilers of Wall Street, Knnedy's encounters with money-makers around the globe make for an exhilarating and quirkily original journey through the modern cash nexus.
Chile: Travels In A Thin Country
By Sara Wheeler
Squeezed in between a vast ocean and the longest mountain range on earth, Chile is 2,600 miles long and never more than 110 miles wide - not a country which lends itself to maps, as Sara Wheeler found out when she travelled alone with two carpetbags from the top to the bottom, form the driest desert in the world to the sepulchral wastes of Antarctica.This is Sara Wheeler's account of a six-month odyssey which included Christmas Day at 13,000 feet with a llama sandwich, a sex hotel in Santiago and a trip round Cape Horn delivering a coffin. Eloquent, astute and amusing, CHILE: TRAVELS IN A THIN COUNTRY confirms Sara Wheeler's place in the front rank of today's travel writers.
Cuba: The Land Of Miracles
By Stephen Smith
For a growing number of British holidaymakers, Cuba is a Caribbean paradise, but it is also a land of cutbacks and economic instability. Stephen Smith comes to live on the island, and his search for the real Cuba inevitably becomes a search for Fidel Castro too. Before meeting his quarry, Smith travels extensively through the 'land of miracles' in an old American automobile. His highly-personalised account features a bloody initiation into a voodoo-like cult, dining on giant rat, and checking into the Love Hotel. And he goes on manoeuvres in the Everglades with armed, but not especially competent, Cuban exiles dreaming of a second Bay of Pigs. With disarming wit and considerable insight, Stephen Smith investigates a country where communism and voodoo coexist, and where the influence of its leader of forty years continues to throw a long shadow.
Chasing the Mountain of Light
By Kevin Rushby
In the beginning diamonds came from India. And the greatest of those ancient stones, the Koh-i-Noor, the Mountain of Light, cut a deep and bloody path across its history and legends. Fought over, cursed and occasionally lost, taken from the mines of Golconda in the south to the Mughal palaces of Agra and Delhi in the north, it finally reached the Sikhs in the Punjab, only to be seized by British agents eager to please the young Queen Victoria. It now lies in the Tower of London, its ownership still disputed.Kevin Rushby follows the trail of this great jewel through fascinating corners of India, crossing along the way the paths of dealers, smugglers and petty crooks. The historical characters he also encounters are no less colourful, from the bloodthirsty tyrants who built mountains of human heads to the man-god Krishna. Rushby unravels the religious symbolism and mysticism behind our passion for diamonds, on a journey that is humorous, informative and, as it progresses, more than a little dangerous.
By Tim Moore
They stuck their coaches on ride-on, ride off ferries, whisked through France and Italy moaning about garlic and rudeness, then bored the neighbours to death by having them all round to look at their holiday watercolours'Many people associate the Grand Tour with the baggy shirted Byrons of its 19th century heyday, but someone had to do it first and Thomas Coryate, author of arguably the first piece of pure travel writing, CRUDITIES, was that man. Tim Moore travels through 45 cities in the steps of a larger-than-life Jacobean hero incidentally responsible for introducing forks to England and thus ending forever the days of the finger-lickin'-good drumstick hurlers of courts gone by. Coryate's early 17th century bawdy anecdotes include being pelted with eggs, pursued by a knife wielding man in a turban and, finally, being vomited on copiously by a topless woman with a beer barrel on her head:- For once, Tim Moore has no trouble keeping up the modern-day side. And his authentic method of travel to replicate these adventures? A clapped-out pink Rolls Royce, of course.
Chomolungma Sings the Blues
By Ed Douglas
If there is one mountain that is known across the whole world, it must be the highest - Everest. To the people who live at its feet she is Chomolungma, Goddess Mother of the World. The disappearance of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine close to the summit in 1924 lent the mountain a tragic romanticism, of young men risking everything for a dream. When Norgay Tenzing and Ed Hillary became the first men to stand on the summit in 1953, it was the crowning glory for the coronation of Elizabeth II.But nearly fifty years on, there are scores of ascents nearly every season. There are stories of bodies and heaps of garbage abandoned on the slopes, of the loss of cultural identity among the Sherpas and Tibetans who live at the foot of Everest. Ed Douglas spent parts of 1995 and 1996 travelling in Nepal and Tibet, talking to politicians and environmentalists, to mountaineers and local people. He found a poor region struggling to develop, and encountering environmental problems far greater than rubbish left by climbers. Local people are resourceful and cultured, reliant on the work the mountaineers and the mountain provide, but striving to find a balance between the new and the old.
"It's well known that Mother River doesn't like a smart aleck," says Patricia McCairen. Accordingly, she plies her oars with reverence and skill on a sometimes hair-raising solo rafting trip along the Colorado River that winds though the stupendous stone valleys of the American Grand Canyon. Like the waters of the Colorado, which change from long, still stretches to boiling white water that barely clothes sharp rocks and hides holes that can suck down a raft, McCairen's moods- and even her name- change as the miles unwind. One moment, she's the cocky, athletic river guide Babe the next, she's an earthier, more spiritual woman who answers to the name of Patch. Hours later, she seems more vulnerable, less convinced of her strength and joy in the solitude she so zealously courts. Canyon Solitude records these shifts and beautifully limns a journey that tests McCairen's mettle and shows that determination, grit, and the will to spurn conventional rewards offer their own deep satisfactions.