Blog posts of '2014' 'May'

In Memoriam: Maya Angelou
We join an international community of readers mourning the death of Maya Angelou, the poet and memoirist who taught us that caged birds sing and that all God’s children need their traveling shoes. Angelou, who passed away May 28, is best known for her work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, a lyrical memoir that poignantly describes her childhood in the Jim Crow South. Angelou’s autobiographical All God’s Children Need Their Traveling Shoes is a Longitude favorite for its depiction of her experience living in Ghana in the 1960s after independence and during an optimistic time with Kwame Nkrumah as president.
The Lost Cities of the Mayas

The British artist Frederick Catherwood and his American traveling companion, John Lloyd Stephens, were the first Westerners to view the enthralling architecture of the lost cities of the ancient Maya. In 1839 the two intrepid explorers discovered the Mayan pyramids of Copan, abandoned ten centuries before and forgotten under the cover of a thick tropical rainforest. Catherwood and Stephens went on to uncover many more mysteries of the Mayan world, discoveries that Stephens faithfully recorded in a travel diary that was richly illustrated by Catherwood.

Books to Bike By
It's practically summer. If you haven't pulled the old two-wheeler from the garage yet, we've got some books to get you back in the saddle. May is bike month and to celebrate we're featuring some of our favorite books about bikes. Fifty Places to Bike Before You Die. Chris Santella showcases a wide variety expertly selected places to bike, from the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia and the Indochina Trail in Vietnam to the urban jungle of New York City.
Endurance: The 100th Anniversary Edition

One hundred years ago Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 26 men (plus one stowaway) set sail for Antarctica with plans to cross the uncharted continent on foot.  But in January 1915, after six weeks of rough navigation through the closely packed ice of the Weddell Sea, the ship was trapped and, ten months later, crushed by the ice floes that had held it prisoner. And that’s just the beginning of the story.

Natural Histories
Since the American Museum of Natural History was founded in 1869, its collections have expanded to encompass more than 32 million specimens and artifacts culled from the natural world. While over 5 million visitors from various parts of the globe visit the museum each year, not all are aware of one the museum’s hidden treasures: an extensive research library full of illustrated masterpieces of scientific art.
A Rainforest Eden in Papua New Guinea
Kindly contributed by Michael French Smith, author of Village on the Edge, an ethnographic report and portrait of the people of Kragur village in East Sepik in Papua New Guinea. For Smith, who has been called "the academic grandchild of Margaret Mead," the island is "A Faraway, Familiar Place." His new book of that title chronicles the friendships he has cultivated across cultural differences since he first met the villagers in 1975.
In Memoriam: Farley Mowat
Lovers of the Canadian Arctic are mourning the death of Farley Mowat, the bearded, often kilted, Canadian writer whose 45 publications served as the voice for Inuit tribes and native animals of the Canadian north.
The Extreme Life of the Sea
Introducing the earliest, the most archaic, the smallest, the deepest, the oldest, the hottest and coldest marine life on Earth, The Extreme Life of the Sea by the Palumbi father-son team explores how marine life thrives against the odds. Stephen Palumbi directs the Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford, and his son Anthony is a science writer. Together they probe the icy Arctic’s hydrothermal vents, the eternal darkness of the deepest undersea trenches and every ocean and sea in between to describe some of the most extreme life on the planet.
The Other Side of Paradise
In 2008, Fidel Castro finally relinquished power to his brother Raul, signifying a new era for Cuba. However, things aren’t much more optimistic, at least not according to the youth profiled in Julia Cooke’s recent portrait of Havana, The Other Side of Paradise, a series of personable essays focused on a unique cast of characters, from the punks to prostitutes to Santeria practitioners, that spans 2008 to 2013.
Nellie Bly: Selected Writings
To late 18th-century America, daredevil journalist Nellie Bly was an innovator and an inspiration. Now, for the first time, Bly's most outstanding journalistic efforts are gathered into one volume: from her fierce opinion pieces to her record-breaking trip around the world in emulation of Jules Verne's fiction. The new Penguin Classic edition of Around the World in 72 Days and Other Writings provides the best of Bly's significant contribution to the fields of travel and journalism and gives the readers some historical glimpses of various places around the globe.