Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies

Alastair Bonnett

Unruly PlacesAt first glance, Bonnett’s book may look like another interesting guide to off-the-beaten-track places. Unruly Places goes a step further. Divided into eight categories, Bonnett looks at truly unique geographical places and concepts. Lost Spaces include cities that have been …

The Secret MuseumMolly Oldfield

In many ways, this is an excellent and intriguing book. Oldfield managed to gain access to sixty museums and was allowed to view objects never seen by the public.  Each entry covers one of these objects.  They range from the sad – Anne Frank’s friendship book, and sketches …

Timpson's Country ChurchesJohn Timpson

Any of my fellow Anglophiles will love this collection of country churches, collected by former BBC news reporter John Timpson. Each church is featured with a short description of the most unique features and a photo or two. The tidbits of fascinating history Timpson ferreted out are not …

Bernhard Edmaier

Edmaier’s aerial photos of volcanoes, both active and dormant, around the world are works of art.  Some are so alien, so intensely colored and strangely shaped, that they can’t be of this planet. Some are brooding dead hunks of rock, other fiery pits and still others glowing pools …

Japanese ArchitectureJapanese Detail: Architecture by Sadao Hibi  & The Art of Japanese Architecture by David and Machiko Young

Both of these architecture books are unique to the standard Japanese architecture books I’ve looked through in the past. Generally, the standards fall into the categories of brief overviews of large buildings, cities …

Lost Worlds of the Guiana HighlandsStewart McPherson

I’m guessing most viewers of the Pixar  flick  Up were convinced that the surreal, twisted landscape on the top of the mountain where the balloon-house landed were figments of overheated animators’ brains. However, based on the pictures in Lost Worlds of the Guiana Highlands, it is clear that …

Travels in SiberiaIan Frazier

Frazier’s dense and fascinating look at Siberia from seven trips over two decades makes a nowhere place into somewhere.  Most often associated with gulag camps and cold, Siberia is as as vast and varied hunk of land as the US.  Starting with his early fascination with the country, …

Stephen Fry in AmericaStephen Fry

British actor and comedian Stephen Fry (Jeeves of Jeeves and Wooster fame) is that rare breed of European – one who actually likes Americans. In his attempt to show his British audiences that we aren’t all a bunch of loud, vulgar, gun-toting religious nuts he undertakes a project …

101 Places NOT to See Before You DieCatherine Price

I was a bit disappointed that many of the places Price lists are related to a personal anecdote (albeit hilarious), don’t really exist (hell) or you would not be able to experience yourself (being a bull at the running of the bulls). However, there are plenty of doozies …

American ShaolinMatt Polly

Chinese kung-fu is one of the most glorious examples of obsessive-compulsive behavior in the history of human culture.

There is a certain type of person who needs something to hang onto, make their own and Focus On (yes, with caps). For some reason, martial arts (and religion) seem …

Off the Tourist TrailEyewitness Travel

This is SUCH a dangerous book if you like to travel. Here are a thousand alternative trips and places to visit off the standard tourist trail. Usually less expensive than the big names, much less-visited and often harder to get to, these destinations are so very tempting. Find …

The Lost City of ZThis trio of true adventure books are completely gripping. The Lost City of Z, written by New Yorker columnist David Grann, chronicles his obsession with Victorian explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett. Trained by the Royal Geographical Society in London, Fawcett undertook numerous trips exploring the Amazon basin. Based on pottery …