There are books focused on travel, all pretty and heavily illustrated and those are what most people seem to opt for – nifty coffee table decorations. That effort and choice has its place.
And then there are the unconventional and not what one would label as travel books; however, in their own way they fit the category. A trio that works is:
“Blue Water, Green Skipper” by Stuart Woods (Putnam, $26.95, 282 pages)
“Walking the Amazon” by Ed Stafford (Plume, $16.00, 319 pages, paper)
The Woods book was published 35 years ago. Now re-issued, it is a compelling work by The New York Times bestselling author of fifty novels. This is a thrilling, chilling memoir of a man alone sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Tight, taut, almost noble, “Blue Water, Green Skipper” is a tribute to true grit. MUST HAVE
The Stafford effort is almost too moving, too adventurous, too tautly told to be believable. Yet, like the Woods opus, this is another testament to human will and grit.
The Blauner book relies on contributors who range from Paul Auster to Marrie Winn – each providing different and illuminating takes on one of the great treasures of the Big Apple. In all, 843 acres, in all host to almost 40 million annual visitors, Central Park is a wonder of the world. My favorite take on the experience is the essay by Jonathan Safran Foer – “the Sixth Borough.” The title tells it all. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
“The Sartorialist Closer” by Scott Schuman (Penguin, $30.00, 512 pages) is a collection of words and pictures that showcases people on the streets of New York, Copenhagen, Sydney, Essaouria and other diverse locales. Part travel, part fashion, part people peeping – a wondrous work to browse.
“The Aleppo Codex” by Matti Friedman (Algonquin, $24.95, 320 pages) is a book as timely as the headlines that poses a very important question – who truly owns a people’s historical treasures? AP reporter Friedman is part detective and part historian as he attempts to answer two questions: How did the Aleppo Codex after being rescued from rioters in 1947 from the Great Synagogue in Aleppo, Syria, wind up in Israel? What was the fate of its missing pages?
So there you have it – travel and/or destination oriented tomes for all tastes. Enjoy.