For the bookworm in your life (Photo: Thinkstock)
It’s that time of year again: excuses to stay out late, festive and sometimes tacky decorations, and… those office cocktail parties. This is also the time of year we travel addicts plan our 2015 trips! The shops are buzzing and everyone is looking for that oh-so-perfect gift. If you have travel lovers in your life you need something personal yet worldly.
We at Traveler’s Bookcase are ready to help with those decisions. We have come up with a list of the 10 best travel books for that difficult-to-buy-for travel junkie to make things easier this shopping season. It’s also a fun wish list to check off yourself, especially if you are a fellow globetrotter.
For the Urbanite:The World’s Best Cities, Celebrating 220 Great Destinations by National Geographic; $40
Every year this trusted name in travel comes out with a new wanderlust-themed coffee table book and this time it’s for the metropolis-seekers. The personal narrative by rock star chef Roy Choi about Los Angeles is one of my favorites, and the local secrets in each entry are key. The slick photos of the top destinations, along with cool groupings like “happiest” and “foodie” make this a must for all travel-book collectors.
For the Solo Female Traveler: 50 Places in Rome, Florence and Venice Every Woman Should Go by Susan Van Allen; $16.95
Susan Van Allen is THE Italian aficionado and her guides to places women love are always in demand. Grab this brand new book while it’s hot off the presses. 50 Places in Rome, Florence and Venice Every Woman Should Go is filled with wine tasting, chocolate shops, gelaterias, artisan shopping experiences, and the best salons. What more could a woman need while being glamorous on vacation in Italia?
For the Garden Lover: Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West and the Creation of a Garden by Vita Sackville-West and Sarah Raven; $34.99
This book is esoteric, historical, and lovely, just as a garden should be. “Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West and the Creation of a Garden” combines Vita’s writings with stunning photos while celebrating one of the world’s most visited gardens. There is also intrigue and drama between the lines, as Sackville-West was romantically linked to Virginia Woolf, among others. Her weekly gardening column in the Observer introduced radical new hybrids into the staid gardening scene and this book is equally entertaining, funny, and useful.
For the Cartographer: The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World by the Times of London; $200
>Other atlases might have more bells and whistles — like CDs, downloads, or pull-outs. They’re just jealous. The Times Comprehensive Atlas is the gold standard for simplicity, clarity, cartography, and status. This biggest-of-them-all version commands center stage in any room and has that wow factor people are looking for this holiday. The updated 14th edition contains all the global newbies, like South Sudan. Can’t wait to see what they’ve done with Crimea.
For the Extreme Sports Addict: Chasing Epic: The Snowboard Photography of Jeff Curtes by Jeff Curtes; $39.95
The snowboarder in your group will of course be unimpressed by anything less than epic, book-wise. But Chasing Epic is, in a word, epic. Extra large format. The best snowboarders of our time shredding down surreal landscapes. The awe-inspiring cover is just the beginning. Featuring never before seen photography, this is the go-to extreme sports gift book.
Of All the Gin Joints by Mark Bailey; $21.95
‘Tis the season, to overindulge. Why else were New Year’s resolutions invented? If you want to make your homies feel better about themselves give them Of All the Gin Joints. A brisk, excellent read from Mark Bailey, it recounts benders from the Golden Age of Hollywood that make Bukowski look like a rank amateur. Not just raucous accounts of one too many, this book is also well-written and is filled with interesting film history and lesser-known anecdotes.
For the Gourmand: The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food by Charles Phan; $40
Thanks to its divine cuisine and fortuitous location in San Francisco’s Embarcadero, Slanted Door has become America’s favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Now, for the first time, James Beard award-winner Charles Phan dishes the scoop on those perfect spring rolls you’ve enjoyed whilst sipping a Moscow Mule, looking over the waters of the City By the Bay. Phan’s stories of hard work, a little luck, and devoted customers create a heartwarming tale. The over 100 tongue-teasing recipes, like clams with butter-lime sauce, are easy to create at home.
For the Roadtripper: The New York Times: 36 Hours USA & Canada, 2nd Edition by the New York Times; $39.99
The New York Times “36 Hours” columns are the ultimate travel guilty pleasure. They feel great while reading but are ultimately disposable, and the next morning you’ll wake up and wonder where your shoes went. This volume, from Taschen, turns those columns into a long-lasting relationship based on trust, mutual desire, and shared shelf space. The newly updated USA & Canada edition is filled with exciting itineraries and perfect weekends. Just jump in a car and drive to experience them all.
For the Outsdoorsy Type: America’s Great Hiking Trails: Appalachian, Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, North Country, Ice Age, Potomac Heritage, Florida, Natchez Trace, Arizona, Pacific Northwest, New England by Karen Berger; $50
Sure, you’re content to hike your local trails week after week, but there’s always someone in the group who aspires to go bigger. America’s Great Hiking Trails compiles more than 50,000 miles of trails in one beautifully photographed tome. Eight national parks in 49 states, gorgeous photos, and lots of details about each featured trail make this book a nature lover’s bible. At a pace of four miles per hour you won’t have to gift again until 2071.
For the Francophile: Paris Magnum by Flammarion; $65
You might think those selfies you took on the Bateau Mouche would be a perfectly adequate souvenir of the City of Light. But what if actual Magnum photographers captured the world’s most beautiful city, and had it all compiled in a single book? The Magnum photo group was founded by Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, among others. So they might know a little something about photography. Jazz clubs, cafe life, Parisians and iconic buildings abound. Stop reading this right now and head to your local book store.
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