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Whether you're making it through a long-haul flight or looking for a quick read between meetings, these books deserve a spot in your carry-on.
When you're on a never-ending long-haul flight:
China Rich Girlfriend, (Doubleday) Kevin Kwan’s frothy sequel to his debut novel, Crazy Rich Asians, revisits the world of Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s super-super-elite. Kwan himself is from Singapore, and these sharply observed books have an insider’s authority. Girlfriend is also so diverting that it (almost) made me forget that my seatmate on a recent flight from New York to Dubai was muttering to himself nonstop.
When you're between meetings:
The men and women in Mia Alvar’s collection of short stories, In the Country (Knopf)—most memorably, expat Filipinos working as engineers and maids in Bahrain—share a profound sense of dislocation, either because of the unfamiliar place they find themselves in or because they no longer recognize their own country. Each story requires a minimal time commitment but feels as complete as a novel.
When you need style inspiration:
Writer, stylist, and Condé Nast Traveler contributor Amanda Brooks’s Always Pack a Party Dress (Blue Rider)—an illustrated memoir about what she calls her “(half) life in fashion” and her move from Manhattan to the English countryside—makes the soigné life look (almost) achievable.
[PHOTO via Conde Nast Traveler]
Let’s say you’re planning to take the Great American Road Trip this summer. Packing up the car and hitting the highway is a classic American pastime. Just like baseball, apple pie – and boozing.
Frequent beer judge and food and drink writer Niki Ganong makes it easy to imbibe across the United States* with her brand new book, The Field Guide to Drinking in America: A Traveler's Handbook to State Liquor Laws. Colorful infographics makes sense of confusing state-by-state liquor laws, detail how, when and (most importantly) how late beer, wine and liquor can be bought and include tips from local booze industry experts in each state.
When I first conversed with veteran travel writer Bruce Northam at a media event last summer about his soon-to-be-published book, The Directions to Happiness, he described it as “Chicken Soup for the Traveler,” but then quickly added, “…with balls.” It's a book comprised of 110 uplifting narrative short stories from his travels through 135 countries, he said, meant to inspire hope about the world and how much we can learn when we dive head first into it.
Northam’s description proved to be true in many ways. For starters, he definitely gets into his fair share of adventure and rock ‘n’ roll – like when he has a life-changing experience on Ayahuasca in Peru, successfully commandeers a bamboo raft down a whitewater river in Laos, and spends two weeks sleeping nose-to-feet on a 2,000-mile journey from San Francisco to the tip of Baja and back. For me, an adventurer at heart, I was captivated by his quests of exploration.
In his new book, an Australian author named John Stapleton places one of Southeast Asia's flagship destinations amongst the most dangerous on earth. The title of the book, Thailand: Deadly Destination, pretty much says it all.
Sounds dramatic and, according to an extensive review by the Daily Mail, it doesn't get any less intense once you open the cover. Stapleton's overall theme is that "widespread police corruption, violence and crime are all blighting a country once commonly referred to as the ‘Land of Smiles.’" He claims that the boom in tourism has created "a hatred of foreigners" and a "murderous indifference" towards tourists.
The last book we recommended to you shed some light onto the dark side of the travel industry, showing that, for all the good it can bring, tourism has the capacity to become a virus that diminishes the cultures of destinations around the globe. This time, we're suggesting something a little more uplifting. And, believe it or not, it's about the airline industry.
Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections, written by commercial pilot Patrick Smith, attempts to unblur the line between fact and fiction when it comes to all things air travel.
While we know commercial airline pilots are real people with thoughts and feelings (usually), we passengers rarely get even the slightest glimpse into the other side of the flight deck door.
Commercial airline pilot of 28 years, Chris Manno, has flipped this with the release of Flight Crew. . .like you, a collection of illustrations showcasing the behind-the-scenes view of a career pilot.
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Have you ever wondered how to be a seat filler at the Oscars, join the paparazzi at Sundance, become a movie extra, volunteer at the Tribeca Film Festival, or help set up the halftime stage at the Super Bowl?
A new travel guide, 101 Places Every Pop Culture Fan Should See, seeks to explain all this, plus 96 other things all media enthusiasts should experience at least once in their lives and, hopefully, on their travels. The book will include information about comic-cons, awards ceremonies, annual parties, film festivals, famous filming locations, and celebrity hang-outs all across the U.S. and Canada.
To get the guide into fans' hands fast, the author has teamed up with a new crowd-driven publishing platform, Inkshares, in order to raise enough money to cover the cost of production. There's only about $3,000 to raise towards the goal.
Travel is so damn exciting that it can often blind us to the harsh realities it bestows on both global and local levels. While we certainly believe in the positive that results from travel in terms of personal gain for individuals and, to a point, monetary gain for destinations, no one should be ignorant to the major political and economical agendas that surround the world of travel and the impact it has on communities within countries. In her book Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism, Elizabeth Becker investigates the effects of the world's top industry, both positive and negative, but mostly focusing on the latter.
Through personal experiences and interviews, she sheds light on topics ranging from the detrimental effects the cruise industry has on the environment and how it has ruined the authenticity in cities (and how they get away with it through political loopholes) to the booming segment of Chinese travelers that will essentially determine the future of tourism. She takes a hard look at some of the world's leading countries in terms of tourism, analyzing what they're doing right and what has gone wrong, including how France has remained an example to follow and how much trouble Africa has had preserving its natural parks.
Every so often, a traveler needs to have a good rant. Here, Jaunted Editor Cynthia shares a few thoughts on an old guidebook and its dwindling power.
The book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die was first published in 2003. It was a steamroller of a hit, topping best seller lists (especially around graduation time in the spring) and finding its place on the bookshelves of anyone who’d listed “travel” as one of their interests.
I was a bookseller at the time, enjoying steady employment after a year of wandering Europe “on a shoestring," and getting that book into shopping bags was something of my specialty. Indeed I was suited for the job, having racked up postcard moments at nearly 100 of those 1,000 sites.
Ten years later, what has changed? The book is still for sale, now ranked #95,806 on Amazon. My area of expertise remains the sharing of travel information, although you’re getting it for free now. A shift has come, alas, in the way travelers compile bucket lists.
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Just when you think you've amassed enough coffeetable books to do away with the actual table, along comes another title to entice.
It was only earlier this year we shared our discovery of 800 Views of Airports with you, but while that tome focused on bustling tarmacs and busy-bee ground crews, a new photography monograph explores the opposite vibeקthat of an airline with no flying planes, no paying passengers, and little hope.
Wired has an inside look at the book by photographer Nick Ballon, who spent months with unfettered access to the mothballed offices and remaining staff of L.A.B. Lloyd Aereo Boliviano at Jorge Wilstermann Airport in Cochabamba. He titled the photo book, "Ezekiel 36:36," the name of L.A.B.'s last operating plane, which touched down for the final time in 2007.
It's a little too late to make any holiday wish lists, but the new photo book 800 Views of Airports belongs on your coffee table if you're reading this.
It's a glossy tome of 408 pages, all presenting the photography work of Swiss duo Peter Fischli & David Weiss who, for more than 25 years, snapped photos of the airports wrapped up in their travels. Plane spotters before "plane spotters" was a term, Fischli & Weiss often focus on the long-haul aircraft but also turn their lens towards the tarmac activities of ground support vehicles and orange-vested airport employees.
The official publisher description gets a bit flowery: "Whether presenting a Lufthansa airplane sitting idle in a yellowy light, a Swiss Air plane waiting in a neon-haunted dusk or an Air France plane getting its belly filled in the dead of night, Fischli and Weiss's images present the evanescence of any national identity when reduced to a symbol on a vertical stabilizer."
It's not often that an airline comes out with its own book; actually, it's been damned rare since Pan Am ended production of their regional and world guidebooks. Still, it does happen and one such instance is now, with Finnair's publication of Airborne: Tales from A Thousand and One Flights [in Finnish, the title is Taivas mikä työpaikka].
The book, a 256-page collection of flight crew stories, was conceived of and written by Finnair's own people. The stories themselves are short and often with a quip, making for light and quick reading. Here's one such story we nipped off its site: