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Blog posts of '2014' 'August'

Penguins: The Ultimate Guide
From their humorous antics on land to their surprising grace in the sea, penguins have become one of the world’s most beloved birds. Their endearing behavior, expressive moods and impressive endurance have made them the subject of both entertainment and serious study. Sharing their passion for the flightless birds, wildlife photographers Tui De Roy, Mark Jones and Julie Cornthwaite collaborated to produce a stunning volume documenting 18 species of penguins, including those rarely photographed. Filled with 400 vivid full-color images, informative text and tips about where to watch penguins, this is the ultimate guide for penguin lovers.
Book Map
This map to the book lover’s fantasy world combines cartography with the classics, mapping over 600 book titles from English literature onto an imagined landscape. Place names include well-loved classics such as Northanger Abbey, Wuthering Heights, Bleak House, Vanity Fair, Harry Potter and Animal Farm.
Great Maps
In celebration of DK Publishing’s 40 years, we’re featuring Great Maps (MAP41, $25.00), a collaboration between DK and Smithsonian showcasing gorgeous maps across time and topography. Profiling 55 historical maps, this book is a lesson in history as much as it is about geography. Jerry Brotton, author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps and professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of London, marches confidently from Ptolemy’s world map to the latest maps by Google Earth, explaining how each map influenced the culture and budding science of its day.
Trinidad, Cuba
Kindly contributed by Julia Cooke, author of The Other Side of Paradise, Life in the New Cuba, a series of personable essays focused on a unique cast of characters, from the punks to the prostitutes to the Santeria practitioners who make up the youth culture of the island nation. Cooke charts the lives, thoughts and dreams of her subjects as she lives among them.
 
Kleine Scheidegg, Switzerland
Kindly contributed by Diccon Bewes, astute observer of Swiss culture and author of Swiss Watching and the recently released Slow Train to Switzerland. With a 1863 Alpine Club member's journal in hand, Bewes follows the route of early tourists in Switzerland, observing firsthand the changes tourism and time have wrought on the pristine country.
 
The Emperor Far Away
The Han Chinese comprise 92 percent of China’s population. This book is not about them. In The Emperor Far Away, Sunday Telegraph correspondent David Eimer instead sheds valuable light on the 100 million residents who belong to the 55 officially recognized minorities (there are another 400 unrecognized minorities). These residents tend to live in the borderlands, where “the mountains are high and the emperor far away,” as a popular Chinese proverb has it, describing Beijing’s tenuous grasp and weak influence, where superficial unity is imposed through the installation of uniform government buildings and streets named after cities in Eastern China.
The Panama Canal: 100 Years
On August 15, 1914, the SS Ancon became the first vessel to make the ocean-to-ocean passage through the Panama Canal. Over the next hundred years, more than a million ships would cross the man-made channel, carrying commerce and culture to far-flung places and uniting disparate nations into a global community. To mark the 100th anniversary of that first transit, we’re offering books to help you plan an adventure through the historic waterway and beyond to Panama and Costa Rica.
Parma
Kindly contributed by Wallis Wilde-Menozzi, an ardent Midwesterner transplanted to Italy where she has lived for decades. The author returns to her "Rome Years" in The Other Side of the Tiber, a soulful meditation on the Eternal City and other Italian cities that seeped into her sense of self, long before she permanently settled in Parma. Here she describes a treasure, worth a pilgrimage to that city.  
Sidewalks
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City, grew up in South Africa, has lived in India, became a resident of Venice and now lives in New York City. But it is her birthplace that leaves the most indelible impression on the reader of her recent collection of essays, Sidewalks. While she calls writing about Mexico City a “task doomed to failure,” Luiselli’s unhurried observations (she writes at the pace of a flaneur on a bike) and lyrical reflections on the city’s architecture, plazas, streets and sidewalks allow her to construct a powerful portrait of Mexico City out of several disparate images and impressions.