Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club: And Other Unlikely Travel Tales by Paul Gogarty

Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club: And Other Unlikely Travel Tales by Paul Gogarty

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VIGNETTES OF TRAVEL WRITING FROM AROUND THE GLOBE IN TWENTY SIX  A – Z  STORIES, PEOPLED WITH ECCENTRIC CHARACTERS–In Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club acclaimed travel writer Paul Gogarty shares his life on the road in 26 A-Z stories recording his very particular engagement with some highly eccentric characters. An eclectic range of destinations sees Gogarty skiing in Algeria, deep sea fishing in Kenya and attending a George Formby ukulele convention in Blackpool. Often hilarious, these tales range from an end-of-the-line bachelor auction in Alaska to attending the Henley-on-Todd Regatta in the parched dustbowl of Alice Springs. A passion for music is a thread running through several of the stories. In “Caister Soul Weekender” Gogarty checks into an East Anglian static caravan site for three days of dance, Red Bull and camaraderie. After hanging out with country wannabes in Nashville and attending the Delta Blues Festival in Greenville his car breaks down at the very crossroads where bluesman Robert Johnson reputedly sold his soul to the devil in return for guitar mastery. Nor is Gogarty afraid to sign up for the bizarre, whether visiting a homemade Stonehenge, taking an Arctic plunge protected only by swimming trunks, or learning the arcane art of healing and dowsing for hereditary diseases in Basingstoke. This collection showcases the diversity and possibilities of travel writing. More than anything else these tales underline a fascination with people and an openness to experience the world in all its diversity.

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How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents about Building a Happy Marriage

How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents About Building a Happy Marriage by Jo Piazza

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Everyone tells you marriage is hard, but no one tells you what to do about it.

At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galápagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to be married? How does an independent, strong-willed feminist become someone’s partner—all the time?

In the tradition of writers such as Nora Ephron and Elizabeth Gilbert, award-winning journalist and nationally bestselling author Jo Piazza writes a provocative memoir of a real first year of marriage that will forever change the way we look at matrimony.

A travel editor constantly on the move, Jo journeys to twenty countries on five continents to figure out what modern marriage means. Throughout this stunning, funny, warm, and wise personal narrative, she gleans wisdom from matrilineal tribeswomen, French ladies who lunch, Orthodox Jewish moms, Swedish stay-at-home dads, polygamous warriors, and Dutch prostitutes.

Written with refreshing candor, elegant prose, astute reporting, and hilarious insight into the human psyche, How to Be Married offers an honest portrait of an utterly charming couple. When life throws more at them than they ever expected—a terrifying health diagnosis, sick parents to care for, unemployment—they ultimately create a fresh understanding of what it means to be equal partners during the good and bad times.

Through their journey, they reveal a framework that will help the rest of us keep our marriages strong, from engagement into the newlywed years and beyond.

JO PIAZZA is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling coauthor of the novel The Knockoff.  Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York magazine, Glamour, Elle, Time, Marie Claire, the Daily Beast, and Slate. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money; and If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a master’s in religious studies from New York University. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Nick and their giant dog.

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My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now

My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle

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My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle

The beloved author Peter Mayle, champion of all things Provence, here in a final volume of all new writing, offers vivid recollections from his twenty-five years in the South of France—lessons learned, culinary delights enjoyed, and changes observed.

Twenty-five years ago, Peter Mayle and his wife, Jennie, were rained out of a planned two weeks on the Côte d’Azur. In search of sunlight, they set off for Aix-en-Provence; enchanted by the world and life they found there, they soon decided to uproot their lives in England and settle in Provence. They have never looked back. As Mayle tells us, a cup of café might now cost three euros—but that price still buys you a front-row seat to the charming and indelible parade of village life. After the coffee, you might drive to see a lavender field that has bloomed every year for centuries, or stroll through the ancient history that coexists alongside Marseille’s metropolitan bustle. Modern life may have seeped into sleepy Provence, but its magic remains.

With his signature warmth, wit, and humor—and twenty-five years of experience—Peter Mayle is a one-of-a-kind guide to the continuing appeal of Provence. This thoughtful, vivid exploration of life well-lived, à la Provence, will charm longtime fans and a new generation of readers alike.

PETER MAYLE is the author of fifteen previous books. A recipient of the Légion d’Honneur from the French government for his cultural contributions, he lived in Provence with his wife, Jennie, for more than twenty-five years. He died in January 2018.

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Travels with Tinkerbelle: 6,000 Miles Around France

Travels with Tinkerbelle: 6,000 Miles Around France by Susie Kelly

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The author and her husband devised a simple plan – to take a tent and the dog and drive around the perimeter of France. Like many simple plans it went wrong before it started and they ended up with two dogs and a campervan named Tinkerbelle. Starting in Brittany, they drive along the Atlantic Coast south to the Pyrenees, then follow the Mediterranean resorts to the Alps before juddering off towards the north coast along terrifyingly high mountain causeways. But on the second day of their journey Tinkerbelle begins to self-destruct, helped by the new dog who does his best to eat her from the inside out. This is their story, as they travel from sandy beaches to snow-topped mountains exploring the diverse cultures, cuisines and countryside making up the country called France. Their journey takes them to places out of the ordinary, meeting interesting characters and witnessing ancient traditions. While the dogs rejoice in the freedom they find running on the beaches, Susie and Terry spend a lot of time holding their breath, wondering whether their clapped out old campervan called Tinkerbelle will manage to negotiate impossible mountain routes and get them home before she completely disintegrates.

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Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains

Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

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A thrilling and dangerous adventure though the Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh—a mountainous area in to the far north-eastern corner of India—one of the world’s least explored regions.

Arunachal Pradesh—meaning “land of the dawn-lit mountains”—has remained uniquely isolated. Steeped in myth and mystery, not since pith-helmeted explorers went in search of the fabledFalls of the Brahmaputra” has an outsider dared to traverse it—until now. Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent sets out to chronicle this forgotten corner of Asia, travelling more than 2,000 miles she encounters shamans, lamas, hunters, opium farmers, fantastic tribal festivals, and little-known stories from the Second World War. In the process, she discovers a world and a way of living that are on the cusp of changing forever.

Beautifully written and vividly told, this is an exciting and exuberant journey through India’s forgotten frontier.

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On the Ganges: Encounters with Saints and Sinners on India’s Mythic River

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On the Ganges: Encounters with Saints and Sinners on India’s Mythic River by George Black

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Journey along one of the world’s greatest rivers and catch a glimpse into the lives and cultures of the people who live along its banks

The Ganges flows through northern India and Bangladesh for more than 1,500 miles before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. It is sacred to Hindus who worship Ganga, the river goddess. But it has also long been a magnet for foreigners, some seeking to unravel its mysteries and others who have come in search of plunder. In On the Ganges, George Black, who chronicled the exploration of the American West and the creation of Yellowstone National Park in Empire of Shadows, takes readers on an extraordinary journey from the glaciers of the Himalayas to the sacred city of Varanasi to the “hundred mouths” of the Ganges Delta.

On the Ganges, parts of which originated from a New Yorker article published last year, introduces us to a vivid and often eccentric cast of characters who worship the river, pollute it, and flock to it from all over the world in search of enlightenment and adventure. Black encounters those who run the corrupt cremation business, workers who eke out a living in squalid factories, religious fanatics, and Brits who continue to live as if the Raj had never ended.

By the end of his journey, Black has given us a memorable picture of the great river, with all its riddles and contradictions, both sacred and profane, giving the last word to a man scavenging for the gifts left by pilgrims: “There are good days and there are bad days. It all depends. Everything is in the hands of our mother, Ma Ganga.”

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How to Pick a Cruise: 7 Tips to Keep You Afloat

 

Do you want a big ship or a small one?

  • The size of the ship may be the biggest factor in the type of cruise experience you have. Today’s cruise ships come in all sizes, from massive mega-ships that carry thousands of passengers, down to small expedition vessels or yacht-style ships that may carry fewer than 100. Each size of ship has its pros and cons. The largest ships—like a floating resort—offer a huge array of dining and entertainment options, and lots of onboard activities. They can be great for multi-generational family trips, because there’s plenty to occupy passengers of all ages. The downside is the potential for long lines for the buffet, disembarking for shore excursions, and so on, but the cruise lines are pretty adept at managing the crowds. The smallest ships offer a much more intimate and personal experience. You’ll definitely get to know your fellow passengers, and you’ll rarely have to wait for anything. Onboard activities, though, will be much more limited and will generally tend toward the intellectual. Often these cruises will have a distinct focus, such as exploring the culture or wildlife of the destination. A midsize ship (1,000 – 2,000 passengers) might be a great compromise, with lots of activities and entertainment, but less time waiting in line for shore excursions, dining, and so on. But they may not offer all the latest bells and whistles.

Do you want an action-packed itinerary, or one with more days to relax at sea?

  • Some destinations stop at a new port just about every day, like lots of Mediterranean cruises, while others may spend a few to several days at sea. If you’re looking to visit as many different places as possible, you’ll probably want as many stops as possible, but depending on the size of the ship, that can be exhausting. If you’re looking for a more relaxing vacation, days spent sailing between destinations give you time to enjoy the ship’s activities and amenities, get pampered at the spa, or just relax.

Do you want to get dressed up?

  • Formal night is a cruising tradition that harkens back to the golden days of the transatlantic passage, when passengers “dressed” for dinner each night. Most ships have at least one special formal night per cruise. For some cruisers, dressing up in swanky clothes for an elegant dinner is a highlight of the cruise experience. Others may want to skip the fuss altogether and opt for a cruise line that doesn’t offer a formal night. Remember that even if your cruise has a formal night, you’re not required to take part, and if you’re on a less formal ship, no one will object of you dress up nicely for dinner! What may matter more in terms of dress code is the everyday attire that’s expected. Small expedition vessels are typically very informal, and the largest ships offer something for everyone, while more upscale cruise lines may expect “country-club casual” attire on the ship.

What do you like to do for entertainment?

  • In this era of ever-bigger ships, you can find just about any kind of nightlife you like, from movies and stage shows, to casinos, dance clubs and karaoke. You won’t be bored during the day, either. When you’re not on shore, larger ships offer an array of classes and lectures, cooking demonstrations, beer and wine tastings and more. Kids and teens are catered for with special clubs and spaces giving them a space to play and hang with their peers. Smaller ships with less space tend to focus on more intellectual diversions—enrichment lectures, card & board games, and the like. Often, they offer a robust library, as well.

Do you get seasick?

  • If you’re worried about seasickness, the size of the ship and the destination can make a huge difference. Larger ships are equipped with stabilizers to minimize side-to-side motion in all but the most severe weather, while smaller ships tend to move around more. Choosing a destination is important, too. Cruises that stick closer to shore, like the Mediterranean or Alaska’s Inside Passage, rarely enter the open ocean where wind and swells are stronger. Some areas are notorious for rough water—the Drake Passage on Antarctica cruises, Queen Charlotte Strait in Alaska, and the Bay of Biscay, for example—but the time of year can also be a factor. Caribbean cruises are usually fairly calm, but during hurricane season, tropical storms can make voyages rougher. If you are sailing where there’s a potential for rough seas, your cabin location can help. The most stable part of the ship is in the middle of the ship near the waterline. Bonus? Those are often the least expensive cabins, as well!

Are you a night owl or early to bed?

  • Most cruise ships offer plenty to keep passengers occupied after the sun goes down. On larger ships, discos, stage shows, comedy shows, casinos, and a variety of lounges and bars ensure that no one need be bored. If you’re not a night owl, though, you’ll want to pick a cabin away from elevators that can be busy late into the night, and make sure your cabin isn’t beneath a dance floor. Some cruise lines are known for their active nightlife and party atmosphere—Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Norwegian come to mind—while others tend to attract passengers who turn in relatively early. Mainstream cruise lines usually offer the most variety, while luxury and niche vessels generally offer more sophisticated (and sedate) options.

What’s your budget?

  • There’s literally a cruise for just about any vacation budget. The length of the cruise, the destination, the type of ship, and your stateroom category all play a part in the cost of the cruise. Once you’ve decided what kind of cruise experience you’re looking for, there are strategies you can use to get the most for your money. Shorter cruises on larger ships can be very cost-effective, sometimes less than $100 per person per night (a great deal, when you consider all the food and entertainment that’s included). If you’re leaning toward a luxury cruise line, taking a shorter cruise or traveling during the off season can save you some money. Or, choose a less expensive cabin, and spend more time enjoying the ship’s amenities and public areas.
  • Whichever type of cruise you pick, make sure you know what’s included, and what you’ll pay extra for. In almost all cases, you’ll have to pay for guided shore excursions, and things like spa treatments, onboard shopping, etc. Meals are generally included, except for some specialty dining options, but alcoholic drinks generally are not. What can surprise first-time cruisers, though, is that soft drinks (sodas) cost extra, too. Special offers from cruise lines often include on-board credit, which you can spend for just about anything on board the ship, and sometimes things like beverage packages or prepaid gratuities, which can save you quite a bit.Finally, consider costs that aren’t part of the cruise cost, like airfare to and from your port of departure; a hotel the night before your cruise departs; and of course, your trip insurance.

LA NY: Aerial Photographs of Los Angeles and New York

LANYLA NY: Aerial Photographs of Los Angeles and New York

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LA NY is a dazzling visual tale of two cities, Los Angeles and New York, as seen from the air. Photographed straight down at a ninety-degree angle to emphasize the particular patterns of place, how the urban grid adapts to local topography, and how the topography itself adapts to human purposes, these two cities are revealed as never before in astonishing detail. Photographer Jeffrey Milstein explores residential and commercial neighborhoods, parks and recreation spots, as well as industrial districts and the infrastructure of transportation. Iconic buildings and landmarks are easy to spot, alongside suburban housing developments, apartment complexes, commercial hubs, entertainment and financial centers, and airports and shipping terminals. Milstein’s work deftly combines architecture, science, and art.

Using high-resolution cameras mounted to a stabilizing gyro, Milstein leaned out of helicopters over Los Angeles where he grew up and over New York where he now lives, looking for shapes and patterns of culture from above, continually awed by the difference an aerial view makes. In addition to the urban topography, events and activities have also been captured, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and outings at the beach.

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National Geographic Atlas of Beer: A Globe-Trotting Journey Through the World of Beer

ATLAS OF BEERNational Geographic Atlas of Beer: A Globe-Trotting Journey Through the World of Beer

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This ultimate beer lover’s guide to the world is filled with stunning photography, unique drinking destinations, little-known histories, and insider knowledge from brewers and bar owners around the globe. This cover has a vintage design and a slightly worn look is intentional.

The most comprehensive beer atlas available, this richly illustrated compendium includes more beers and more countries than any other book of its kind. Including beer recommendations from Garrett Oliver, the renowned brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, and written by “beer geographers” Nancy Hoalst-Pullen and Mark Patterson, this indispensable guide features more than 100 illuminating maps and 200 beautiful color photos. You’ll find beer history, trends, and tasting across six continents (and how to order a beer in 14 languages!). Travel tips include the best breweries, beer festivals, and pubs in each location. Smart, compelling, and practical, this essential guide will help you discover the best beer wherever you are.

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