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READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXWLD252. Buy these 6 items as a set for $155 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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Man and Sea

Man and Sea

by Brian Skerry | Yann Arthus-Bertrand

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2013
  • HARD COVER
  • 304 PAGES

Spectacular aerial images by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and striking underwater photographs by Brian Skerry offer a top-to-bottom tour of the world's oceans, while the enlightening text covers the sea's critical mechanisms, from currents to food chains. (OCE188, $50.00)

Pacific

Pacific

by Simon Winchester

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 512 PAGES

Subtitled "Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision," Winchester's far-reaching history explores humanity's relationship with the world's largest body of water, the source of both great opportunity and terrifying natural disaster. (OCE218, $16.99)

India

India

by Stanley Wolpert

  • HISTORY
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 281 PAGES

Wolpert's reflections on India -- its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics -- make for a literate, succinct primer. (IDA04, $34.95)

Indonesia, Etc., Exploring the Improbable Nation

Indonesia, Etc., Exploring the Improbable Nation

by Elizabeth Pisani

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES

Though she traveled 26,000 miles around the 13,500 islands that comprise Indonesia, journalist Pisani goes far beyond the numbers to explore what holds the impossibly disparate nation together. Along her journey, she debates corruption and cannibalism, navigates impossibly strange traditions and sleeps in a volcano. (INS121, $17.95)

Cuba, What Everyone Needs to Know

Cuba, What Everyone Needs to Know

by Julia Sweig

  • HISTORY
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES
  • BEST SELLER

Director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Julia Sweig traces the geography, history and identity of Cuba in this admirably succinct portrait of the island nation and its role in world affairs. (CBA126, $16.95)

Wild Costa Rica

Wild Costa Rica

by Adrian Hepworth

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2008
  • HARD COVER
  • 176 PAGES

This beautiful, informative survey of the habitats, wildlife and protected areas of Costa Rica features 200 color photographs and chapters on natural history and conservation. (CRC69, $35.95)

 
A Traveller's History of North Africa

A Traveller's History of North Africa


by Barnaby Rogerson

  • HISTORY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 408 PAGES

Wide-ranging, accessible and effectively condensed, this brief history marches confidently through the centuries, covering key events and personalities in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria to 1999. (NAF01, $15.95)

Asia's Cauldron, The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific

Asia's Cauldron, The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific


by Robert D. Kaplan

  • HISTORY
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

Vividly analyzing the nations where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean, Robert Kaplan explains why this area of the world is an important and turbulent region that we should all be watching. (ASA94, $17.00)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Behind the Beautiful Forevers


by Katherine Boo

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

A Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and writer at The New Yorker, Boo turns her four years among the people of a Mumbai slum into an absorbing tale of the clash of India, new and old, prosperous and disenfranchised. (IDA654, $17.00)

Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God

Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God


by Steven Nightingale

  • HISTORY
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

Nightingale illuminates the long obscured medieval zenith of Granada, considered an intellectual hotbed until it was sacked by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. Granada's cultural accomplishments include the first modern translations of Greek philosophy and the introduction of algebra. (SPN570, $17.95)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong


by Jan Morris

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

A wonderful portrait of Hong Kong by one of our favorite travel writers. Morris enumerates the many personal pleasures of the city, deftly interweaving reportage, history and culture. (HKG02, $17.00)

Londoners

Londoners


by Craig Taylor

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 413 PAGES

Drawing on the unforgettable stories of nearly 100 Londoners, Taylor provides a rich and vivid kaleidoscopic view of modern-day London through the diverse voices of those who, regardless of whether they love or hate it, capture the heart and soul of one of the world's greatest cities. (GRB69, $16.99)

Luxor Illustrated, With Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Nile

Luxor Illustrated, With Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Nile


by Michael Haag

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 96 PAGES

The ideal companion to a Nile cruise, Haag introduces all the famous monuments and temples of Upper Egypt from Luxor, Karnak, the Valley of the Kings and the tomb of Tutankhamun to the marvels of Aswan and Abu Simbel in full color. (EGY277, $22.95)

National Geographic, Around the World in 125 Years

National Geographic, Around the World in 125 Years


by Reuel Golden

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2013
  • HARD COVER
  • 1468 PAGES

From early romantic images of the exotic through the golden age of Kodachrome all the way to the digital age, these three splendidly produced volumes trace the evolution of National Geographic, of photography and of the way we've seen the world since 1888. Organized geographically, it covers the sweep of nature and culture around the world in 1,500 oversized pages, with photographs by Frans Lanting, Steve Curry, David Doubilet, David Alan Harvey and many, many others. (WLD251, $499.00)

Noa Noa, The Tahiti Journal

Noa Noa, The Tahiti Journal


by Paul Gauguin | John Miller

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1985
  • PAPER
  • 96 PAGES

Gauguin's impressions of two years in French Polynesia, originally published in 1919. With 24 black-and-white illustrations. (PAC13, $5.95)

Shanghai, The Rise and Fall of the Decadent City 1842-1949

Shanghai, The Rise and Fall of the Decadent City 1842-1949


by Stella Dong

  • HISTORY
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 318 PAGES

A riveting portrait of "the most pleasure-mad, rapacious, corrupt, strife-ridden, licentious, squalid and decadent city in the world." (CHN128, $15.99)

The Labyrinth of Solitude

The Labyrinth of Solitude


by Octavio Paz

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1985
  • PAPER
  • 398 PAGES

These essays by the Nobel Prize-winning poet address Mexican culture and character. The chapters on the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead and the conquest are especially memorable. (MEX08, $17.00)

The Path Between the Seas

The Path Between the Seas


by David McCullough

  • HISTORY
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 700 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

A great story, admirably told in vivid, page-turning detail, this is the one book to read on the creation of the Panama Canal. (CAM32, $20.00)

The Reef, A Passionate History

The Reef, A Passionate History


by Iain McCalman

  • HISTORY
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

McCalman, a historian at the University of Sydney, brings to life the explorers and scientists, beachcombers, divers, indigenous peoples and castaways who first experienced the Great Barrier Reef. (AUS277, $16.00)

Arabian Sands

Arabian Sands


by Wilfred Thesiger

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

The last of the great British traveler-explorers, Thesiger (1910-2003) journeyed among the nomadic camel-breeding peoples of Southern Arabia in the late 1940s, falling in love with the desert and ways of life of the Bedouin. This eloquent book is his tribute to them. (ARB15, $17.00)

The Happy Isles of Oceania

The Happy Isles of Oceania


by Paul Theroux

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 480 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

The peripatetic author flies off to Australia and New Zealand with a kayak and ends up exploring much of Melanesia and Polynesia, including Tonga, Fiji and the Marquesas, in this wickedly funny, wide-ranging tale. (PAC03, $16.95)

The Maya

The Maya


by Stephen Houston | Michael Coe

  • ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

Coe's clear, concise, illustrated survey of the Maya highlights their chronology, accomplishments and legacy. Ninth edition. (MYA10, $26.95)

A House in Bali

A House in Bali


by Colin McPhee

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 213 PAGES

A warm tribute to the people, culture and especially the music of Bali in the 1930s. It's a literary classic, originally published in 1944. (BAL15, $20.00)

Alexandria, A History and Guide

Alexandria, A History and Guide


by E. M. Forster

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

In this first-rate travelogue, Forester immortalizes the fabled city of Alexander the Great, the beacon of light and culture symbolized by the greatest library of the ancient world and the place where Antony and Cleopatra played out their doomed love affair. Originally published in 1922. (EGY412, $18.00)

Blue Latitudes, Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before

Blue Latitudes, Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before


by Tony Horwitz

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 480 PAGES

Sailing on a replica of Endeavour, Horwitz mixes history, fun and adventure in this hilarious recap of Cook's daring voyages around the world. (EXP31, $20.00)

Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All

Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All


by Christina Thompson

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Historian Thompson effortlessly alternates tales of mostly disastrous early encounters with the Maori and the story of the love of her life, Seven, the Maori she married, in this endearing memoir. (NZL96, $15.00)

In a Sunburned Country

In a Sunburned Country


by Bill Bryson

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 335 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

The intrepid, ever-resourceful Bryson revels in Australia's eccentric characters, dangerous flora and fauna and other oddities in this wildly funny, effortlessly informative travelogue. (AUS83, $16.99)

Journey to Portugal, In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture

Journey to Portugal, In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture


by Jose Saramago

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 464 PAGES

Jose Saramago's richly detailed account of his journey across Portugal in 1979. He combines his vivid impressions of the Portuguese landscape and people with a dose of history, fiction and meditation. (PGL23, $17.95)

Sea and Sardinia

Sea and Sardinia


by D.H. Lawrence

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 211 PAGES

A marvelous account of a trip to Sardinia, evoking both the charms and travails of the then-remote island and the personality of the author. It's a pleasingly exaggerated, accessible portrait of life on the island, circa 1921. (ITL349, $17.00)

The Eaves of Heaven, A Life in Three Wars

The Eaves of Heaven, A Life in Three Wars


by Andrew X. Pham

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

Pham recounts the story of his father's life during the French occupation, Japanese invasion and the American War, weaving such momentous events with anecdotes from his childhood and details of family, friends, food and daily life. (VNM120, $16.00)

The Gods Drink Whiskey

The Gods Drink Whiskey


by Stephen T. Asma

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Asma writes with verve and wit in this eye-opening account of his year-long stint teaching at the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh. His account is both an overview of Theravada Buddhism and a down-to-earth portrait of contemporary Cambodia. (CBD46, $14.99)

The Travel Book, A Journey Through Every Country in the World

The Travel Book, A Journey Through Every Country in the World


by Lonely Planet Publications

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2016
  • HARD COVER
  • 448 PAGES

Bigger and better than ever (the third edition of the best-selling original), we can't keep our hands off this celebration of the world. Each country, no matter how big or small, gets a colorful double-page spread in this glossy A-to-Z of travel from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. (WLD193, $50.00)

Evening Is the Whole Day

Evening Is the Whole Day


by Preeta Samarasan

  • LITERATURE
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

Set in post-colonial Malaysia, this richly textured debut novel depicts the unraveling of a wealthy family and the six-year-old daughter left reeling from losses and departures. Samarasan's unflinching yet tender examination of one immigrant family's experience exposes the complexities and layered history of Malaysia itself. (MSA22, $19.99)

Letters from Thailand, A Novel

Letters from Thailand, A Novel


by Botan | Susan Fulop Kepner

  • LITERATURE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 350 PAGES
  • HARD TO FIND ELSEWHERE

A prize-winning novel first published in 1969 and newly translated into English. Taking the form of a series of letters back home to his mother, it follows the fate of Tan Suang U, a Chinese immigrant in Bangkok at the close of World War II, who marries, raises a family and runs a successful business. The novel, among its many pleasures, depicts daily life in Bangkok's thriving Chinatown. (TLD45, $19.95)

Our Man in Havana

Our Man in Havana


by Christopher Hitchens | Graham Greene

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 240 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

The classic story of a British vacuum cleaner salesman who gets accidentally drawn into Cold War espionage with disastrous results. (CBA19, $16.00)

The Moor's Last Sigh

The Moor's Last Sigh


by Salman Rushdie

  • LITERATURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 435 PAGES

A sweeping family epic that tackles many of the most complex aspects about Indian culture. In his characteristically rich prose, Rushdie tells the history of India, set among the spice traders of Cochin. (IDA89, $16.00)

Blue Hope

Blue Hope


by Sylvia A. Earle

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 256 PAGES

In this informative, dazzling collection of photographs, maps and essays, deep-sea crusader Earle pays tribute to the ocean. Her aim: to encourage us to love the ocean -- all life on Earth, she writes, depends on it. (OCE205, $35.00)

The Monkey's Bridge, Mysteries of Evolution in Central America

The Monkey's Bridge, Mysteries of Evolution in Central America


by David Rains Wallace

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 280 PAGES

Opening this absorbing account of the history and biogeography of the Central American isthmus with the tale of Columbus, Wallace often weaves his own travels in the region with a crisp overview of exploration, nature and evolution. Natural history buffs and ecologically minded travelers will appreciate this valuable resource. (CAM56, $18.95)

Dawn of the Maya

Dawn of the Maya


by National Geographic Society

  • FILM
  • 2004
  • DVD

National Geographic investigates the Preclassic Maya, discrediting the belief that they were a primitive culture and revealing instead a flourishing society that created elaborate art and massive pyramids. Runtime: 60 minutes. (MYA94, $24.95)

Egypt Unwrapped

Egypt Unwrapped


by J.V. Martin

  • FILM
  • 2009
  • DVD

A stunning National Geographic production that explores Egypt's greatest mysteries, including the construction of the pyramids, the legacy of Ramses the Great and the story behind the Screaming Man's haunting expression. Running Time: 360 minutes. (EGY425, $29.95)

Gandhi, 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition

Gandhi, 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition


by Richard Attenborough

  • FILM
  • 2013
  • DVD

Richard Attenborough's award-winning epic recounts the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi (played by Ben Kingsley). Originally released in 1982, the film was nominated for 11 Oscars and won eight. (IDA402, $14.95)

Last Days in Vietnam

Last Days in Vietnam


by Public Broadcasting Corporation

  • FILM
  • 2015
  • DVD

This documentary film explores the last days of the Vietnam War and the decision American soldiers and diplomats made as to whether to evacuate only U.S. citizens, or South Vietnamese citizens as well. (VNM190, $24.99)

Ocean Oasis

Ocean Oasis


by Soames Summerhays

  • FILM
  • 2000
  • DVD

Produced by Lindblad naturalist Summerhays in conjunction with the San Diego Natural History Museum, this IMAX film features eye-popping footage of both the desert landscapes and underwater scenes of the invertebrates, fish and especially the whales of Baja California. (BJA53, $14.99)

Rain Forest

Rain Forest


by National Geographic

  • FILM
  • 1993
  • DVD

By filming leaf-cutting ants, water-walking lizards, howler monkeys and plenty of other South American creatures, National Geographic created this classic portrayal of the tropical rainforest. Runtime: 60 minutes. (CRC101, $19.95)

South Pacific, Collector's Edition Widescreen

South Pacific, Collector's Edition Widescreen


by Joshua Logan

  • FILM
  • DVD

The film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical set on an island in the South Seas during WWII. (PAC207, $26.98)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.