Hurrah! Glorious summer has finally arrived in the UK, offering unto us magnificent sunshine and rosy cheeks. After the bleak darkness of winter and the unforgiving thunderstorms of spring, we as a nation have welcomed the change in season with open arms (and open-toed shoes). An obvious transformation in attitudes has taken place, with the usual day-to-day rush and tension replaced with a sense of joy and anticipation for all the fun that summer brings.
Although summer has a different significance for everyone, for a good many people it means a bit of holiday – with the heat comes a perfect chance to get away, relax, rejuvenate and, of course, take in a bit of culture. It goes without say that we at Turnaround are all itching to travel. Many of us are browsing for cheap, last-minute flights, salivating over the prospects of luscious foreign food or brushing up on our language skills. Others are simply stuck. With the whole wide world at our fingertips and a plethora of must-visit destinations in the UK alone, it’s all too easy to be left feeling overwhelmed and indecisive.
So for those still seeking inspiration, we have selected a handful of titles to help stimulate the imagination and arouse a sense of wonder. After all, as Saint Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Even if you can’t find a way to get away, we say the pages within a book can still open up your mind to all fascinating surprises the world has to offer. If these don’t pique your interests, we don’t know what will!
Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
By Mark Adams
Dutton, 9780525952244, h/b £18.99
Mark Adams has spent his career editing adventure and travel magazines and polishing hair-raising tales about the exploits of famous explorers. So his plan to investigate the allegations against Hiram Bingham by retracing the explorer’s perilous path to Machu Picchu isn’t completely far-fetched, even if it does require him to sleep in a tent for the first time in his life. Along the way he finds a still-undiscovered country populated with brilliant and eccentric characters, as well as an answer to the question that has nagged scientists for generations: just what was Machu Picchu?
A Prize Every Time
By Neil Peart
ECW Press, 9781770410596, p/b £14.99
Legendary Rushdrummer Neil Peart lets readers ride along on his numerous road trips through North America, Europe and South America, sharing his experiences in personal reflections and full-colour photos. Spanning almost four years, these 22 stories are open letters that recount adventures both personal and universal – from the challenges and accomplishments in the professional life of an artist to the birth of a child. A love of drumming and the open road threads through the narrative as Peart explores new horizons – both physical and spiritual.
Akashic Books, 9781936070954, p/b £9.99
Barcelona, with all of its illustrious colour and exterior finery, hasn’t always been able to curb its darker yearnings. Blame it on a bubbling, repressive concoction made with a pinch of Church, a touch of Crown and a large dose of General Franco to stir up the insides of its very independent and anarchic Catalonian spirit. Repression, vice, immigration – the 14 stories in Barcelona Noir will divert readers’ eyes from Barcelona’s lively Ramblas and Gaudi spires and open them to the city’s tainted side; one that will never appear on any tour.
(Part of Akashic’s Noir series, which features collections of crime stories set in locations such as Brooklyn, Chicago, Copenhagen, Delhi, Havana, Istanbul, London, Moscow, Paris and many more.)
Two Years Travelling Around Australia in a 1978 Ford Falcon
By Paul Martin
Liberties Press, 9781907593420, p/b £13.99
Paul Martin extended a one-year working holiday visa into thirty months as he lived the colourful, precarious and occasionally solitary life of a ‘backpacker’ in various locations throughout Australia. Paul travelled extensively (at first without his car Bertha), visiting every state and territory in Australia including a trip across the Bass Straits to Tasmania. In this and two other journeys across the continent, he travelled (and slept) in Bertha, alone, encountering many fascinating characters and much of Australia’s hidden history and landscape.
Red Sea Press, 9781569020937, p/b £14.99
The fascinating true story of an American family’s adventures in the Semian Mountains in Ethiopia, Summerskill’s book follows their travels through each of the thirteen provinces of Ethiopia. She vividly details life in Ethiopia during the final years of Emperor Haile Selassie’s reign; the bustling marketplace of the capital, Addis Ababa; learning to prepare spicy Ethiopian food; radical student activism in Ethiopia; and Ethiopia’s great historical sites, such as Lalibela, Harar and Gondar. All these and more come alive in the author’s recollection of her sojourn in Ethiopia.
ASIA (and more!)
A Compilation of Columns from McSweeney’s Kevin Dolgin Tells You About the Places you Should Go
By Kevin Dolgin
Santa Monica Press, 9781595800435, p/b £11.99
A humorous and entertaining collection of travel essays which celebrates the distinctive qualities of locales all over the world. Each focuses on a specific place, capturing the flavours and cultures through individual observations and exceptional experiences. Funny, irreverent and insightful, the writings eschew the bland touristy veneers with subjects including: The Best Falafel in the World – Beirut; The Door to Hell – Paris; Kafka’s Erotic Dream – Prague; and The Third Tower up from the Road – Beijing.