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Blog posts of '2016' 'June'

An Interview with Frank Bures
BuresIn his new book The Geography of Madness travel writer Frank Bures explores “how our ideas can kill us, how our beliefs can save us and how these things quietly determine the course of our lives.” His quest to understand culture-bound syndromes led him to Nigeria, Borneo, Singapore, China and beyond. In these places Bures pursues “fox ghosts and lizards that crawl under your skin, poison pork and poisoned minds.” He becomes fascinated with the world’s strangest syndromes, exploring how one culture could believe something that would appear entirely out of the realm of possibility to another.
Masada
Masada10
Kindly contributed by Longitude Assistant Editor Ashley Bergman Carlin, recently returned from the Middle East. While traveling in Israel, she discovered a favorite historical spot with a great view, and an even better story.
  “Everyone climbs Masada at sunrise at least once,” our Israeli friend exclaimed, urging us to book a 3 am shuttle bus. Who we were to argue with everyone? My friend and I didn’t go to bed that night and after a few too many drinks out in Tel Aviv, we dragged ourselves to the beachside Hilton. Soon we piled on a bus full of obnoxiously perky 20-somethings who chattered with excitement during the entire two-hour drive while we sat sullenly hating life due to poor decisions.
Samarkand
CAS248“Can any other place on earth provide such a feast for the senses?” Caroline Eden wonders in the introduction to her new book Samarkand: Recipes and Stories from Central Asia and the Caucasus. She describes her first visit to the fabled city of the Silk Road as time travel to a place that has been at the crossroads of culture for centuries. Along with her co-author Eleanor Ford, Eden captures the sensual experience of Samarkand through sumptuous recipes, gorgeous color photographs and personal reminiscences and historical anecdotes that fill out the textures and flavors of the place.
Mother Tongue
Mothertongue coverA writer, blogger, photographer, documentarian and adventurer, Christine Gilbert is also a wife and mother—but she hasn’t let her multiple roles slow her down. If anything, her familial responsibilities compelled her to embark on more adventures, which she has compiled in her memoir Mother Tongue. When she was pregnant with her first child, Gilbert began researching the benefits of multilingualism and was impressed by her findings. Most remarkably, she learned that those who spoke two or more languages could delay the advent of dementia by as many as five years.
Cuba
CBA261Kindly contributed by award-winning photographer Lorne Resnick, who in his new book Cuba, This Moment, Exactly So  presents passionate and heartwarming moments from the "Pearl of the Antilles." His 250 black-and-white photographs are organized around 30 micro-stories and include a foreword by the great travel writer Pico Iyer.
  I first visited Cuba in the summer of '95. It was, as most summers are when I have been in Cuba, searingly, intensely, wonderfully hot. I planned to stay for two weeks and stayed for two months. I fell in love with the country.
The Voyage of the Beagle
darwincoverCharles Darwin's book The Voyage of the Beagle remains a singular achievement, not just in the travel literature canon, but in modern science. Yet few are aware how unique the Beagle's voyage was, who brought Darwin on board and how the Beagle shaped Darwin's career. This gorgeously produced book by maritime historian James Taylor brings all the strands of the Beagle's story into a single volume (of the same name). It pairs the firsthand commentary of letters, diary entries, official narratives and shipboard charts with over 200 full-color photographs, drawings and paintings for an engrossing read.