Exams are in full swing here at WCU, but they’ll be over soon. And when the tests and papers are done and you’re getting ready to head off for some well-deserved vacation time, think about stopping by Hunter Library’s Leisure Reading Collection first. We’ve got books to fit all kinds of reading tastes and this month we’re highlighting some of our picks for the best “summer reads”.
This month we’ll be bringing you posts featuring several different genres and reading areas. Today we’re focusing on nonfiction, specifically travel writing. Travel books don’t just mean guides to cities; writing in this area encompasses essays, guides to local food, destination ideas, and much more. Here are a few titles to consider:
- The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life, by Pam Grout
This National Geographic travel guide categorizes getaways in four ways: Arts & Crafts Getaways, Volunteer Vacations, Learning Retreats, and Wellness Escapes. Destinations range across the world and include studying classic Russian art at Catherine the Great’s academy in St. Petersburg, Russia; assisting scientists in monitoring wild Przewalski horses in Mongolia, mastering the art of blending Scotch in Scotland, and snowshoeing in Bulgaria. Each entry includes contact information for associated institutions.
- 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, by Patricia Schultz
This guide for the ambitious world-traveler is made up of concise entries that detail locations, activities, and events of interest across the globe. It is broken down into sections on Europe; Africa; the Middle East; Asia; Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Islands; the United States of America and Canada; Latin America; and the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda. Each section is further broken down by country, with individual entries ranging from the Aran Islands of Ireland to Santa’s Village in Finland to Phangnga Bay in Thailand, and beyond. Entries include descriptions, locations, contact information, pricing, and best times to consider visiting.
- 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die, by Patricia Schultz
This guide is structured much like its global counterpart, but it focuses entirely on destinations in the US and Canada. Regional sections are broken up by state or province and list cities, museums, festivals, restaurants, and other unique or interesting things to do or see. Entries in North Carolina include the Biltmore Estate, the Outer Banks, BBQ in Lexington, Pisgah National Forest, and the Reynolda Mile. Other entries include Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado, Pebble Beach in California, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Halifax Waterfront & the Citadel in Nova Scotia, and the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, among many others.
- 1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die, edited by Rae Spencer-Jones
For the lover of horticulture, a guided tour of impressive gardens all over the world. The book is split mostly by continent, with sections for North America, Europe, Asia, Central and South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and Islands. Entries on specific gardens include location, designer, owner, style, size, climate, descriptions, and most also include at least one photograph. Featured gardens include the Getty Villa in Chalifornia, Drummond Castle Gardens in Scotland, Kokyo Higashi Gyoen in Tokyo, Rashtrapati Bhavan in India, Sitio Roberto Burle Marx in Brazil, Stellenberg Gardens in South Africa, Flecker Botanic Gardens in Australia, and the Priory in Grenada. Further information includes climate classification information, useful addresses, and a garden directory.
- Backroads of North Carolina: Your Guide to Great Day Trips & Weekend Getaways, by Kevin Adams
A book dedicated entirely to explorations of North Carolina’s scenery and history via trips that are somewhat off the beaten path. The majority of the entries focus on mountain or coastal getaways, including the mining district from Little Switzerland to Roan Mountain, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and Cherohala Skyway, river towns along the Cashie, Chowan, Roanoke, and Perquimans rivers; and the Green Swamp. A handful of Piedmont destinations are also included, such as the Uwharries and Yadkin Valley Wine Country. The book includes maps, fabulous photographs, driving routes, as well as suggestions for further reading.
- The British Virgin Islands: The Hometown Lowdown Guide to Travel and Taste, by Paul Spicer
A guide to the food of the British Virgin Islands, complete with a little history of the islands and their cuisine. Local ingredients, such as conch, lobster, and chayote, are featured, including tips on where to find them. Recipes include conch fritters, tuna and steamed callaloo, BVI jerk chicken, pan fried cassava bread, and drinks such as the Painkiller. The book is peppered with tips on where to go and what to do, including hikes, fishing, beachcombing, and more.
- The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns
A coffee table book created as a companion piece to the recent PBS series on America’s national parks. Chapters trace the history of the parks and the park system and are presented with maps, reproductions of park-related ephemera, and breathtaking historic and contemporary photography.
- Something to Declare: Good Lesbian Travel Writing, edited by Gillian Kendall
A book for readers who are looking for travel essays over travel guides. This collection brings together personal essays about travel and exploration from lesbian authors.
- Southern Belly: The Ultimate Food Lover’s Companion to the South, by John T. Edge
For the eater living in or traveling through the South, or the student of food or Southern culture. This book provides “a social history of Southern food,” looking at restaurants, recipes, and other points of culinary interest and history from the Southern states.
- Where to Go When: The Best Destinations All Year Round, edited by Joseph Rosendo
A large and visually exciting book to keep at home while planning your travels, this one is too unwieldy to carry with you. Where to Go When is organized by month, with each section divided into cities, countries, continents, or activities that are well-suited for that time. Some suggestions include Jamaica and Hong Kong in January, Prague and China’s Silk Road in May, and Manu National Park in Peru and Germany’s Black Forest in August. Entries include information on weather, trip planning, accommodations, dos and don’ts, as well as lavish illustrations.