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Blog posts of '2014' 'October'

Berlin: Portrait of a City through the Centuries
As we remember the fall of the Berlin Wall—25 years ago now—we memorialize (in chunks of graffiti-ed concrete, in statues and photos) and recall a specific period in the fraught history of that city. Berlin, however, has been re-made several times over, and the dismantling of the Wall is one of many transformations the city has endured through centuries of change. According to Rory MacLean, in the preface of his new book Berlin: Portrait of a City through the Centuries, “Berlin is all about volatility. Its identity is based not on stability but on change.
Inside Tracks

Read the book, watch the film! A recently released major motion picture brings to life Robyn Davidson’s classic travelogue Tracks, the story of a young woman’s epic journey by camel across the formidable Australian Outback. Davidson arrived in the Outback with a dog, a little cash, and she managed to find and train some camels (feral in Australian desert since the 19th century) to carry her on her journey. Her absorbing account of her almost 2,000 mile trek across the desert is a tale of true adventure shot through with a feel for the landscape and empathy for the Aboriginal people she meets along the way.

Mecca: The Sacred City
According to Ziauddin Sardar, every city is dominated by two aspects:  first, a centralized, spiritual center that represents the sacred, and second, a historical reality – what is real, political, gritty and open to research. “Mecca is a city whose historical side is profoundly misunderstood,” the Londoner critic claims in his new book Mecca: The Sacred City. “A false consciousness of history has become the norm among Muslims,” he writes, citing nations that want to eradicate history that occurred before Muhammad.  With that in mind, Sardar begins his own worthy quest: to piece together the whole story of Mecca.
Back in Print!
Here are some travel titles we're excited to see back in print! Handmade in India. Featuring 3500 color photos and organized by region, this sumputous album covers the diverse crafts of India with style and authority. (IDA579, $75.00) Harem, The World Beyond the Veil. A fascinating, illustrated look at the culture of the Harem -- particularly the well-known quarters at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
The Wachau Valley
Kindly contributed by Nick Hunt, author of Walking the Woods and the Water. In 1933 Patrick Leigh Fermor walked across Europe, from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. Forty years later he would record the trip in his famous trilogy, beginning with A Time of Gifts. Now readers can return to his route through the travels of Nick Hunt, who began his own "great trudge" in 2011, walking in the footsteps of Fermor through eight countries and capturing a modern day version of the unexpected hospitality and exhilarating freedom of the open road.
Havana Modern
Kindly contributed by Longitude founder Darrel Schoeling.
Photographer, author, popular lecturer and historian with a particular interest in Caribbean colonial fine and decorative arts, Michael Connors is currently on tour with his eighth book on Cuba, handsomely published by Rizzoli, Havana Modern, Twentieth-Century Architecture and Interiors. The book was inspired by 88-year-old Ricardo Porro, best known as lead architect for the National Schools of Art, who also provides the forward.
And the Winner is...
It's that time of year again, when the international literary community bestows honors upon its favored authors. This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature went to the French writer Patrick Modiano, "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.” Suspended Sentences, Three Novellas. Although originally published separately, Patrick Modiano's three novellas (Afterimage, Suspended Sentences and Flowers of Ruin) form a single, compelling whole.
The Golden Lands
Weighing in at nearly 4 ½ pounds, Golden Lands is a hefty book, but don’t let that scare you – it’s a gentle giant! Vikram Lall’s insights into the religious architecture of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are invitingly well written and worth every ounce. Lall begins his treatment at Southeast Asia’s architectural beginning – as a humble chain of trading posts between India and southern China in which Buddhism spread and shrines were built as early as the 5th century. It wasn’t long before the stupas got taller, the pagodas got wider, more roofs appeared atop the wats and sprawls of Buddhist monuments blossomed in the deep jungle.
Mecca
Kindly contributed by Ziauddin Sardar, author of Mecca, The Sacred City. Born in Pakistan and raised in London, Sardar revered Mecca as a child and kept the city as a moral and geographical compass point throughout his life. Sardar made several pilgrimages or "Hajj" as an adult -- including one on foot with a sex-crazed donkey at his side -- and conducted extensive research on the site. His book is a unique mixture of history and reportage made accessible by stories of his own ever-changing relationship to the pilgrimage site that draws some three million Muslims each year.
 
Twin Cities Book Festival
Readers and travelers in the Twin Cities! We'd love to see you at the upcoming local literary event of the year! On Saturday October 11 Longitude will be at the Twin Cities Book Festival, held annually at the State Fairgrounds. Stop by our booth to see what we are all about.