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Blog posts tagged with 'BOOK OF THE WEEK'

The Geography of Genius
"True genius is inexhaustible," writes Eric Weiner, "the ghosts of Michelangelo and Leonardo and Botticelli and all the rest hang in the air, like a San Francisco fo­g. You'd think it would have burned off by now, five hundred years later, but it hasn't." In his new work of popular journalism, The Geography of Genius, the former NPR correspondent explores seven world cities and explains how genius loci (the spirit of the place) fostered great human achievement.
The Road to Little Dribbling
Picking up a Bill Bryson book is akin to cooking a family favorite—the steps are familiar and the results always delicious. Bryson’s recipe is a combination of wit, self-deprecation and insightful criticism with a dash of crankiness. Equal parts entertaining anecdote and informative history, his latest release contains all the right ingredients. Published 20 years after Notes from a Small Island and a sequel of sorts,
The Conquerors
Early on in his new book The Conquerors, How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire, historian Richard Crowley describes a gorgeous work of cartography, housed in Lisbon’s Castle of St. George, depicting the topography of the known world from the perspective of fifteenth-century Europeans. The ten-foot map—commissioned by King Afonso and produced by Venetian cartographer Fra Mauro—is described by Crowley as “microscopically detailed and brilliant with gold leaf, wavy seas of vivid blue and the images of castellated cities.
The Inland Sea
“It is to the Inland Sea that I am bound,” travel writer Donald Richie announces at the opening of his 1971 classic, The Inland Sea, recently republished by Stonebridge Press in a new edition. Richie, bemoaning the industrialization and commercialism threatening Japanese society, flees to the islands scattered across the Inland Sea, a body of water almost completely bound by three of Japan’s four major islands. In the relative isolation of fishing villages he searches out the essence of traditional Japanese culture.
Cuba, This Moment, Exactly So
Cuba, This Moment, Exactly So is exactly the right book for travelers in this moment. The immersive coffee table book drops its readers right into the heart and soul of Cuba, the next best thing to traveling there in person. Drawing on more than 50 trips to the island over the past 20 years, award-winning photographer Lorne Resnick presents over 250 passionate and heartwarming black-and-white and color photographs vividly depicting Cuba, the "Pearl of the Antilles." Interleaved with Resnick’s photos are 30 poignant micro-stories by Brian Andreas. Pico Iyer, who has written a novel about Cuba, introduces the book.
Pacific
Picture the Pacific Ocean. It is the largest body of water on Earth, containing more than 10,000 miles of uninterrupted sea and so big it could harbor all seven continents with room for more. How could one author capture the history of such a massive geographical feature in a single book? Prolific historian Simon Winchester admits that he cannot. Instead, he takes a page from Stefan Zweig whose works capture the seminal moments of his subjects in ten essays. Winchester applies this same approach to Pacific, a book whose subtitle (Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers) is as ambitious as the work itself.
Life and Death in the Andes
In his new meditation on South America, Life and Death in the Andes, Kim MacQuarrie (The Last Days of the Incas) follows the spine of the world's longest mountain chain, exploring the lives of legendary characters like Charles Darwin, Pablo Escobar and Che Guevara. Picking through remnants and ruins, he muses on indigenous cultures' disappearance and searches for the true uniqueness of the South American continent. Each chapter works as an extended essay on a historical figure, such as Hiram Bingham and his strained relationship with the Peruvians after his discovery of Machu Picchu.
Map, Exploring the World
With free, high-quality satellite data at our fingertips, it's all too easy to not appreciate the imagination, intelligence and artistry at the heart of cartography. Simply titled Map, Exploring the World, the new art book by Phaidon Press celebrates the wonderful intricacies of the map-maker's art of putting concepts into geometric space. The coffee table collection of 300 maps makes room for the silly and strange, the academic and arcane, the whimsical and wonderful, the hand-drawn and the digital and much more.
The Only Street in Paris
Former New York Times Paris Bureau Chief Elaine Sciolino has lived in Paris since 2002, but it took her almost a decade to move to the rue des Martyrs, which she calls “the last real street in Paris, a half-mile celebration of the city in all its diversity.” Sciolino discovered the street early on as an appealing alternative to the touristy Marais. Visiting the neighborhood, located half a mile south of the Sacre-Coeur in the Ninth and Eighteenth Arrondissements, became an anticipated Sunday morning ritual. When it was time for the journalist to give in and make Paris her permanent home, she knew she could live nowhere else. In 2010 Sciolino moved into an apartment just off the rue des Martyrs.
Plotted: A Literary Atlas
Good literature and skillful storytelling have ways of leaving readers wistful with desire to join imaginary worlds. This yearning has inspired many stage, film and television adaptations and recently resulted in a collection of maps created and compiled by pop cartographer Andrew Degraff in Plotted, A Literary Atlas. Known for his colorful, engaging maps of famous movies (http://www.andrewdegraff.com/moviemaps/), Degraff decided to apply the same creativity to books. He embarked on the project with several goals. One, he wanted to tackle stories that hadn’t already been mapped, whether literally or through cinematic or television representation.