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The Longitude Blog

An Interview with Mark Kurlansky
authorIn his new book Havana, A Subtropical Delirium, Longtime Caribbean correspondent and award-winning author Mark Kurlansky mixes history, travelogue, recipes and hand-drawn illustrations for a unique, insider's view of Havana. He takes us to the city’s colorful streets and mojito swilling bars in this interview.
  Longitude. You describe change as one of Havana’s fundamental characteristics and predict more transformation to come. What are some specific changes you have witnessed in the city over the past few years? Kurlansky. Contrary to what most Americans imagine there have not been huge changes in the last few years.
Antarctica
Teufelsberg5 As a native of Southern California who generally despises the cold, I still claim Antarctica as one of my favorite spots on the planet. There are so many things I love about this continent—its sheer immensity, its towering icebergs and mountains, its moonlike, otherworldly desolation—but perhaps the most wonderful thing about Antarctica is the silence.
Preparing for Baja

The long arm of Baja, fastened on Southern California, seems quiet, beautiful and remote. To the west is the Pacific and nestled in the peninsula’s flank is the Sea of Cortez, what Jacques Cousteau called “the aquarium of the world.” Last summer I trailed Cousteau to the Belize Barrier Reef. This time I’ll cross his path in the Gulf of California after a desert road trip between both sides of the peninsula.

Destination: New York City

This week we’ll be attending BookExpo America, the largest annual book trade show in the United States, in New York City. We’re excited to check out upcoming releases and report back on the best travel titles.

In honor of this trip, we’re highlighting some of our favorite books about New York City.

Teufelsberg, Berlin
Teufelsberg5To get from downtown Berlin to Teufelsberg without a car, you take the 17-minute S-Bahn ride from Berlin Central Station to the Heerstrabe stop. Once there, you step onto the train platform and begin a 30-minute trek along a dirt path that meanders through an expanse of grass and up a hill. You might feel like you’re trespassing or heading into an abyss, but I promise, Teufelsberg waits for you. A man-made hill, Teufelsberg, German for “Devil’s Mountain,” sits atop a never completed Nazi military technical college.
Earning the Rockies

Robert Kaplan usually looks outward from the United States. Ever since President Bill Clinton was spotted with a copy of Balkan Ghosts under his arm (and it was devoured by the entire White House staff) Kaplan’s career has skewed towards precarious situations abroad. Now, in his latest book Earning the Rockies, the foreign policy expert rediscovers America on a cross-country drive all the way from Massachusetts to San Diego.

Top Ten Spring Travel Titles
As the weather warms we begin to dream of travels ahead. These hand-picked selections from all the exciting new travel titles being published this spring are the perfect companions to your destination dreaming. Whether you are plotting a trip to sultry Havana, exploring the National Parks of Europe or preparing for a birder's big year, these spring travel books will help prepare you for the next adventure.

Havana

authorDue to recent changes in relations between Cuba and the United States, many books have been published about the island nation, but few have centered on its capital with the kaleidoscopic focus of award-winning author Mark Kurlansky’s Havana, A Subtropical Delirium. In accessible prose worthy of the elegant metropolis itself, Kurlansky, a longtime Caribbean correspondent, profiles Cuban music, literature, food and, of course, baseball. Kurlansky uses literary references to add color and context to his own experiences in Havana.

The Poetry of Place
CRB153In celebration of National Poetry Month, we're reading some of our favorite poets of place, including the renowned poet of the Caribbean, Derek Walcott, who passed away in March.   Collected Poems, 1948-1984. The St. Lucia-born Nobel laureate, who's been known to say he's "just an island boy," writes boggling, complicated, richly rhythmical poems -- which do, in fact, owe much to the oral traditions of Walcott's boyhood (but also to Homer, Aime Cesaire, Frantz Fanon and "The Wasteland"). Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. The Portable Romantics.
An Interview with Doug Mack
DougIn his informative travelogue, The Not-Quite States of America, Doug Mack puts a magnifying glass over the United States' overseas territories and commonwealths: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With this interview, he continues the conversation about these corners of America, asking important questions about independence, statehood and why Americans should care—and probably visit—these often overlooked destinations.