Dec 01 2012

Associated Press: Travel Books As Gifts

Associated Press travel editor Beth Harpaz recently interviewed several travel experts, including Pauline Frommer and Don George, for holiday gift ideas for the traveler. Harpaz also checked in with the Globe Corner Travel Annex at Brookline Booksmith to see what we suggested. You can read the full article here, but what follows are a few of the titles culled for this season’s travel gift books. For even more recommendations, check out the travel section of our Holiday Gift Guide here.


National Geographic’s World’s Best Travel Experiences

Popular actor and award-winning travel writer Andrew McCarthy writes the foreword to this lavish book, offering 400 awe-inspiring destinations chosen by National Geographic’s family of globe-trotting contributors; dozens of fun, “Best of the World” themed lists; illuminating sidebars, several by travel and literary luminaries such as Anna Quindlen, Bill Bryson, Gore Vidal, and Pico Iyer; and hundreds of dazzling, oversized, full-color images to bring to life a wide variety of location categories–from entire countries to mountaintop villages to pristine lakes to ancient wonders. This broad, general interest travel title will appeal to active travelers looking for the next great trip as well as to the many readers who simply love dreaming of visiting far-flung, idyllic destinations, and for those who love to be “in the know” of the next travel trend.


Lonely Planet’s Food Lovers’ Guide to the World

The world is your oyster. Or hot dog. Or camembert. When we travel, it s often love at first bite.” Food Lover s Guide to the World” presents a lifetime of eating experiences that will lead you from one end of the globe to the other. Take your taste buds on a tour around the world and cook up you next great culinary adventure. Includes celebrity food-lover contributions, best places to find local dishes in cities great and small, cultural tips and how-to-eat etiquette, introductions by Mark Bittman and James Oseland, and more than 50 recipes to cook back home.


 The Longest Way Home
by Andrew McCarthy

With an irrepressible taste for adventure, candor, and a vivid sense of place, award-winning travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy takes us on a deeply personal journey played out amid some of the world’s most evocative locales. Unable to commit to his fiancÉe of nearly four years—and with no clear understanding of what’s holding him back—Andrew McCarthy finds himself at a crossroads, plagued by doubts that have clung to him for a lifetime. Something in his character has kept him always at a distance, preventing him from giving himself wholeheartedly to the woman he loves and from becoming the father that he knows his children deserve. So before he loses everything he cares about, Andrew sets out to look for answers.

Among the Islands
by Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery is one of the world’s most influential scientists, credited with discovering more species than Darwin. In Among the Islands Flannery recounts a series of expeditions he made at the dawn of his career to the strange tropical islands of the South Pacific, a great arc stretching nearly 4,000 miles from the postcard perfection of Polynesia to some of the largest, highest, ancient, and most rugged islands on earth.


Better than Fiction
Don George, ed.

A collection of original travel stories told by some of the world s best novelists, including: Isabel Allende, Peter Matthiessen, Alexander McCall Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, Tea Obreht, and DBC Pierre.



The Travels of Marco Polo

The newest volume in Sterling Signature’s successful Illustrated Edition series takes readers on a fascinating journey into a world once unknown. Marco Polo almost single-handedly introduced fourteenth-century Europe to the civilizations of Central Asia and China. Now this stunningly illustrated volume, edited by renowned historian Morris Rossabi, offers the complete text of Polo’s travelogue (in the respected Yule-Cordier translation), enhanced with more than 200 images–including illuminated manuscripts, paintings, photographs, and maps. Sidebars and dozens of informative footnotes combine to present Polo and his travels in a captivating new light.

Crumpled City Maps

These maps will fit snugly in the toe of any stocking and you don’t have to worry about messing up the creases! Crumpled City maps are made with 100% water proof crump-able paper that you can stuff into your pocket and go! Read more here.





Pictures from Italy
by Charles Dickens

Pictures from Italy is one of Charles Dickens’ earlier works, a fantastic and whimsical foray into the twin worlds of travel and the imagination. Inspired by his words, Italian artist Livia Signorini plays with Dickens’ sense of place, memory, and politics. The result is a brilliant contemporary dialogue with his work — a reading of history, time, and change — that renews our sense of his enduring vision. An extraordinary work that is as much about travel writing as it is about Dickens’ journey to Italy itself, this handsome volume features 11 full-color gate folds and will appeal to fans of the Victorian novel, travel buffs, and art lovers alike.

Gross America: Your Coast to Coast Guide to All Things Gross
by Richard Faulk

Take a road trip through Gross America! Gross America is a coast-to-coast catalog of the most grandly gross science experiments, beautifully bizarre art, and delightfully disgusting historical sites that America has to offer. Part travel atlas, part trivia guide, Gross America presents these United States as you’ve never seen them before—weird, wonderful, strange, and totally, utterly gross.



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Oct 22 2012

How to Fold a Map

We’ve all been there, in the passenger seat, in the airport, or on a crowded bus, struggling to re-fold a map. I’m constantly ducking out of customers’ way as they wheel around our travel aisle with a street map spread wide, trying to wrestle it back into its neat, compact rectangular shape. More often than not, I have to take over, or I risk finding the map stuffed back onto the shelf, inside out, dog-earred, or re-creased in ways it was never meant to be. That’s why I was thrilled when we decided to carry Crumpled City Maps.

These maps are, as they sound, crumpled. There are no creases, no one right way to fold them. They are
meant to be wadded up, smashed, and thrown into a backpack, crammed into a pocket, or carried in the little pouch provided. Crumpled City Maps are made of soft, light weight paper, and at only 20 grams, they won’t weigh you down.

In addition to their travel-ease, Crumple City Maps are simple to use with clearly printed street names, an index of important places, and specially featured “soul sites,” such as the “Victorian Walk” in London and the “temple of the spirit” in Tokyo.

The instructions are easy: 1. Stop into Brookline Booksmith’s Globe Corner Travel Annex. 2. Buy the Crumpled City map to your destination. 3. Crumple 4. Toss it in your pack 5. Go travel the world!


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Oct 15 2012

Destination of the Month: Prague

As autumn breaks over us in rain showers and shivery weather, we’ve been transitioning from back to school to scary Halloween reads at Booksmith. Aside from seasonal changes, you might notice a few other shifts in our store: we’ve brought cookbooks up front and moved the cozy Writer’s Corner to a new nook. We’ve organized our art books into beautiful displays I can barely walk past without pausing to browse. And in the travel section, we’ve dedicated a shelf to a new Destination of the Month. This October at the Globe Corner Travel Annex, we’re traveling to Prague.

I’m still not sure why I decided that Prague would be our first destination. Perhaps it was simply that the one time I had the privilege to travel there was in the month of October. My memories of the city are bathed in the crimson and gold leaves of the rolling hills and rust-colored rooftops. I recall crisp October mornings on Charles Bridge, the warm rays of an autumnal sun causing the statues along the bridge to cast long shadows. If anyone is traveling to Prague, here is my tip: No matter how many pubs you visit, do what it takes to rise early on at least one morning to make it to the Charles Bridge before 8am, before the vendors set up their wares and the crowds cover the thoroughfare. The silent beauty and austerity of the city at that early hour made a vivid impression on me that has not faded.

The memory returns every time I pick up Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being, and not just because the bridge is  featured on the cover, effectively inviting the reader to cross into its imagined world. “A road is a tribute to space. Every stretch of road has meaning in itself and invites us to stop,” writes Kundera. Another absolutely essential must-read for anyone traveling to the Czech Republic is the late Vaclav Havel. The playwright-who-became-president inspired many with his wise The Art of the Impossible, and we’ve got his most recent To the Castle and Back on display, right next to Bohumil Hrabal’s classic I Served the King of England.

In addition to our wide array of guidebooks to the city, we’ve culled an impressive collection of Czech literature that includes not only the Complete Stories of Kafka, which my husband is currently reading and highly recommending and making me listen to David Rakoff’s spoof on The Metamorphosis (which you can also listen to here), but also Gustave Janouch’s Conversations with Kafka, which I cannot praise highly enough for its wit and wisdom. Janouch was an 18-year-old aspiring writer when he joined his mentor Kafka on walks around Prague, discoursing on matters both philosophical and commonplace.

Some perhaps lesser-known titles you will find on our Destination Prague shelf include Josef Skvorecky’s novel, The Engineer of Human Souls, a comic and
insightful journey of a Czech immigrant professor in Toronto. Travel writer Bruce Chatwin tells the story of Utz, a fictional Czech art collector who is tied to the Communist state by his affection for his ceramic collection, stored in a Prague apartment. And finally, our newest Czech title, Petr Kral’s In Search of the Essence of Place explores the domestic spaces of a home to the larger scenes of village life in the Czech Republic. The title itself perhaps embodies the purpose of our new Destination of the Month best: to bring together a rich variety of voices and guides that can help the traveler discover the essence of a particular destination.


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Sep 10 2012

The Humanitarian Life: A New Way to Travel

Many people view travel as time with family and friends, exploring unfamiliar areas, or an opportunity to relax from a persistant routine.  I recently returned from Africa, however it wasn’t under your typical label of “travel.”
I went with five others to volunteer to tutor street orphans (among other activities) who are taken in by an organzaition called Christ’s Hope.  In Mwanza, Tanzania specifically, this organization is able to take in street orphans and help them to be safe and teach self-sufficiency.  (They have to learn how to cook, do laundry, go to school, and so on.)
One of the best investments I had with me — at least bookwise — was Lonely Planet’s Swahili Phrasebook.  As my Swahili is nowhere near fluent yet and many of these kids struggle with conversational English (though it is required in school that they learn it), this book was a gem.  I could look up words and have a clear pronunciation guide in a pocket size book.
Sure, I  could have asked someone else with better English-Swahili skills to translate or tell me the word, but when one isn’t around or I’ve already bombarded them with questions, the phasebook was a vital tool. For example, one afternoon I was helping Rachel — who was probably around 6 — with her math. We worked on counting and writing numbers.  She couldn’t quite understand addition and often had trouble with double digit numbers. She also kept writing her sixes backwards.  Beyond numbers, I quickly looked up words such as “add,” “equals,” “great job,” and so on.  Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to help Rachel write her numbers better as well as improving her comprehension of number sequence above 10. 


I do not recall coming across any misused or mispronounciations within the Lonely Planetphrasebook either.  With hundreds of words at my fingertips it helped make tutoring and conversing a lot easier.  When next abroad I will definitly invest in whatever phrasebook language I need. I also love that this book had a small section on pronounciation of the alphabet and grammar — it was just enough to get me started and not feel overwhelmed as language books have a habit of doing. 


Beyond phrasebooks, please consider some sort of humanatrain approach to travel.  It is an experience you will not forget!  Not to mention the closer taste of culture that any hotel or tourist trap would not be able to provide for you. Don’t let travel simply be a taking experience.  Jump into the cuture and give.

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Aug 28 2012

Pessoa Pilgrimage

We’d overstayed our welcome at Prazeres Cemetery. As my companion and I began walking back toward the gates, a guard came hurrying down the path, gesturing toward his wrist with the universal “we’re closing” sign. The guard directed us to go wait at the gates for him, then hurried on his rounds. We found our way back to some very tall, black iron gates, with a very thick chain locked around them. I tried not to think of what would have happened to us if the guard had not found us. The graves at Prazeres (which, strangely, means “pleasures,” in Portuguese) are, for the most part, above ground, sepulchers hold the coffins and urns of the dead. We had just been peering in on the poet Fernando Pessoa and his family, who seemed closer than was comfortable. I was relieved when the guard reappeared to let us out; I had to suppress the impulse to sprint through the opened gates.

“At least we found Pessoa,” I said to my companion as we left. It hadn’t been easy. We’d gotten the address at his house museum–that’s right, the graves have addresses. In fact, walking through Prazeres Cemetery was like walking through a miniature city. Almost all the bodies were housed in impressive mausoleums adorned with weeping statues.

Outside the cemetery we boarded the old yellow 28 tram to take us back to the city center. Our legs could not sustain anymore of Lisbon’s hills–seven to be exact, Pessoa himself tells us in the opening sentence of a guidebook the poet wrote of his city: “Over seven hills, which are as many points of observation whence the most magnificent panoramas may be enjoyed, the vast irregular and many-colored mass of houses that constitute Lisbon is scattered.”

Pessoa wrote more than a guidebook, and reading his works will give you a better sense of the city than any travel guide could. Pessoa lived in Lisbon, but wrote under more than 72 names. These weren’t just pen names; Pessoa called them heteronymns and gave each a life of their own. The most famous of these were Alvaro de Campos, Alberto Caeiro, and Ricardo Reis. While Pessoa’s name simply means “person” in Portuguese, he gave voice to many.

We had begun our pilgrimage that morning by perusing a bookstore Pessoa himself used to frequent, Livraria Bertrand, the oldest bookstore in Lisbon. The store is located on Rua Garrett in the neighborhood of Chiado, as is another of Pessoa’s old haunts, Cafe a Brasileira, a hot spot for writers in the 1920′s. The cafe was crammed with tourists, but we were able to snag a table next to Pessoa–that is, next to his statue, and enjoyed a few drinks as we read his poetry.

We discovered another statue of Pessoa just a block away, standing in front of his birthplace across from Teatro Sao Carlos, a book for a head. After paying our respects to the other literary folk preserved in stone around the neighborhood–including then poet Luis Camoes, his character from The Lusiads, Adamastor, and Eça de Queiroz, whose oedipal Tragedy of the Street Flowers begins at Teatro Sao Carlos and whose statue is bent over a half naked muse–we began our trek out to the neighborhood of Estrella, to the Fernando Pessoa house, where Pessoa resided for the last 15 years of his life.

The Fernando Pessoa House in Lisbon.

The outside of the Fernando Pessoa house was covered with his words. Inside we discovered a replica of the writer’s room, artifacts from his life–including his typewriter–and a small but impressive library, where I read some of Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet. In addition, the museum was filled with artwork inspired by Pessoa or his work, including a few masterpieces done by school children. My favorite was a child’s depiction of Fernando Pessoa’s “imaginary friends.” My companion, desiring to be counted among them, , took his place between Ricardo Reis and Alvaro de Campos and posed for a photo.

Fernando Pessoa’s imaginary friends.

We took a break at a local pub where, unlike the more tourist infested neighborhoods, no one spoke English. The friendly waitress kept suggesting things we might eat, and I kept saying yes, though I had only a vague sense of what we were ordering, and an even lesser sense of the quantity of food. When our order arrived, it kept arriving: a platter of bread and cheese, a platter of pork, a platter of fries, a salad. We polished it off and left satisfied, heading for Prazeres Cemetery and our hunt for Pessoa’s grave.

Later, when we had returned by tram from our adventures in Prazeres, I recalled a scene in Jose Saramago’s The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, in which Ricardo Reis returns to Lisbon from Brazil upon the death of Fernando Pessoa. The premise of Saramago’s book is that characters live 9 months after their author’s death. Reis, too, felt compelled to search for the elusive writer’s grave. As I read Saramago’s description of the pilgrimage, I realized that someone had been to Prazeres before us:

“He starts to descend the road lined with poplars, in search of the grave numbered four thousand three hundred and seventy-one…The road slopes gently downward…On either side, the chapels of the family tombs are locked, the windows are covered with curtains …Eternal regret, Sad remembrance, Here lies in loving memory of, we would see the same inscriptions if we looked on the other side, angels with drooping wings, lachrymose statues, fingers entwined, folds carefully arranged, drapes neatly gathered, broken columns…Below at the height of the door’s lower hinge, another name and nothing more, that of Fernando Pessoa, with the dates of his birth and death, and the gilded outline of a funeral urn that says ‘I am here.’”

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Aug 24 2012

Chaos in Tejas

I just got back from a week in Austin, Texas and boy and howdy was it a good time. I ate so much barbecue the composition of my blood is literally 1/3 wood smoke now, and I’ve spent the last coupla days back in Boston letting my stomach shrink from insatiable Texas-size to normal size. Special thanks here to Franklin Barbecue where we had to line up 3 hours early for the most…indescribably amazing food I’ve ever stuffed down my gullet.

Among the whirlwind chaos I reigned in Tejas (bars, roller derby, donut trucks, pub trivia, vintage shops) a girl like me has one steadfast weakness. Bookstores (duh). I am completely one of those weirdos that goes to other bookstores on her days off AND vacations. A calling is a calling.

Of the many awesome bookstores I hit in Austin here check out some of the best at Brookline Blogsmith.

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Aug 13 2012

Searching for Saudade in the City of Lisbon

At the Tower of Belem with my DK Eyewitness Lisbon guidebook.

Our first day in Lisbon dawned clear and bright. We wandered blinking through sunny Rossio Square, down the grand grid-like avenues (designed by the Marques de Pombal after the devastating 1755 earthquake, our DK Eyewitness Lisbon guide informed us), and out into a brilliant Praça do Comércio, a wide square that opens to the Tagus River, which sparkled and danced before us.

“Looks like Lisbon has thrown off its melancholy,” my companion noted as I rushed toward the water, eager to see the line “where the earth ends and the sea begins,” a phrase Jose Saramago appropriated from Portuguese poet Camões to begin his novel, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis.

I reached the line, marked by two glistening white pillars, and bent down to touch the water. Warm waves lapped invitingly at my fingertips. I straightened and looked out to the horizon, expecting to think of distant lands, but was distracted by the immense red suspension bridge to my right, a twin to San Francisco’s Golden Gate and created by the same designer. But this wasn’t sunny California. When Saramago’s character Ricardo Reis reached these shores from Brazil, it was raining. He was lonely, searching, though he was not sure for what. He knew only that the poet Fernando Pessoa had just died.

I had a copy of Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet in my pack. But I didn’t feel the disquiet that I had expected to descend upon my arrival, and I couldn’t sense the strain of sorrow that runs through almost every book I have ever read set in the city of Lisbon, from Saramago and Pessoa to John Berger’s Here is Where We Meet and Dutch author Cees Nooteboom’s The Following Story. In all of these books the boundaries between life and death blur like the constant flux of the Tagus on riverbank, and everyone yearns for something they cannot have.

“It’s the Portuguese saudade that you’re after,” our host at the Lisbon Story Guesthouse, Bruno, explained when I told him I didn’t feel the same way in the real Lisbon as I did in the imagined. Saudade. I first heard the word while reading Berger, who defines it as: “the feeling of fury at having to hear the words too late pronounced too calmly.”

Saudade is a word that has no definition,” Bruno told us. “The closest I can tell you is that it is a longing for something that can never happen.” He described a Brazilian musician who conceived of the idea as a mother continually unmaking and remaking the bed of her dead child.

I looked at Bruno. “I guess if I was after that, I shouldn’t have come to Lisbon on my honeymoon. I should have waited for some heartache.”

He nodded. “You cannot help but be a tourist now. But when you live here day to day, you begin to see it. The Portuguese are a sad people, for many reasons.”
But slowly, Lisbon revealed its story to us. We had to travel outside the tourist track, beyond the popular sites like the Castle of São Jorge and Se Cathedral, to lesser known neighborhoods. On our hilly walk to the house of Fernando Pessoa and on a particularly long pilgrimage to a bookstore in Alcântara, we stumbled across neighborhoods so poor no guidebook would mention them, and into pubs where no one spoke English, yet nevertheless served us feasts. I began to look beyond the camera-toting foreigners at the Praça do Comércio and spotted a local man staring over the water, loss in his eyes. And when we went to hear the city’s music, fado, one evening, there was no mistaking the passionate yearning in the refrains: saudade.

And then, finally, because no one can avoid it, heartache came. While I was away, my grandmother, the best person on earth, was diagnosed with cancer. I walked down to the water’s edge one evening after the news had reached me. The pillars seemed paler in the half moon light, and the lights on the opposite bank were distant. Why had I been drawn to this city in the first place, I wondered. Who goes looking for melancholy on their honeymoon?

Perhaps it’s that we all have the sorrow of the Portuguese, I thought, remembering my
grandmother, but after centuries of losing loved ones to explorations and to the sea, to wars, and to a monstrous earthquake, the Portuguese have found a way to express the depths of life so beautifully that when I read the literature, listened to fado, or strolled the less-trodden streets

of Lisbon, I began to feel a longing for longing itself, until the city became a place where even melancholy took on a charm. While my heartache from home was difficult to bear, it also sharpened my sense of beauty, and on the high miradouros, or viewpoints, of Lisbon’s seven hills I often felt that I was experiencing the heights of life, a delicious vertigo I could not have known if I had not also tasted its sorrows.


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Jul 19 2012

Not Always a Tourist

In the summer of 2008, I moved to Manhattan to be an editorial intern at Fortune Magazine. The internship was two months long, and I moved into the spare room of my boyfriend’s brother’s apartment in the lower East Side. The apartment fulfilled all the stereotypes I had about New York City living. My designated living space was also part of the kitchen, and I slept on a lofted bed which overlooked the top of the fridge and beyond that, the stove. Up on that bed I had a stack of books and an alarm clocked wedged in one corner, a small box television perched on the edge of the window sill, and two huge body pillows resting against the guard rails, for added cushioning. It was claustrophobic but had character, and was perfect for my brief stay in the big city.

My New York city bedroom/kitchen

Among that stack of books on my bed was my Not For Tourists Guide to New York City, which became an extension of me during my two months in Manhattan. I had lived in Boston for two years by then, but was immediately a bit wary of New York City life. I was most intimidated by the many subway lines, a mix of colors and letters and numbers all tangled into a large knots on the poster sized subway maps. That was what drew me to the NFT guide in the first place.  The NFT Guide divides a city into sections, with their own rectangular maps. They give you the same map a few times, each map highlighting something different – the area’s transportation, entertainment, essentials and sundries. I could go the neighborhood I was in and orient myself, and then go to transportation page, find the closest subway stop, and flip to the back and see how far that line stretched. The book was handsome, black and pocket-sized, perfectly suited for what I was: not exactly a tourist.

Pulled out my NFT during lunch to give my cousin directions

It’s not a stretch to say that the NFT Guide helped me love New York. I was determined to learn the city while I was there, and that guide gave me the confidence to walk home from work nearly every day. I lived on 19th and 3rd and worked at 50th and 6th, 31 blocks and three avenues away. I took different paths, most often cutting through Murray Hill (affectionately known as “Curry Hill” my NFT guide told me, the place I could find authentic Indian food). When my boyfriend came to visit me, we walked the opposite direction, weaving through Greenwich Village and SoHo, where the grid ends and the confusion begins, all the way down to Battery Park, where we squinted at the Statue of Liberty and napped on the grass before consulting the NFT on the quickest way to get home.

I still have my NFT guide, even though I have no use for it. The cover is creased both at the binding and about halfway down the front from so much folding over. It falls open at a map of the entertainment spots in Flatiron/Lower Manhattan, probably from the times I’d meet up with friends around Penn Station. We’ve moved apartments twice since my time in New York, and yet my NFT Guide is still one of those items that always gets unpacked and shelved.   Travel guides are that way. They become part of us when we use them, and then, when they become outdated, they become a relic from the time where we couldn’t go anywhere without them.

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Jul 10 2012

Tune in to Travel

I have always been an avid reader of Jose Saramago’s fiction, so when I recently picked up his travel narrative, Journey to Portugal, I was pleased to discover that the book contains Saramago’s distinguished voice and unique writing style, and that his non-fiction account of his travels through Portugal actually reads very much like a novel. This is probably due to the fact that throughout his journey Saramago refers to himself as “the traveller,” which has the affect of transforming the non-fiction narrator into something of a character.

When referring to himself, Saramago is careful to make the important distinction between traveler and tourist. “The traveller has seen much of the world and of life,” he writes, “and has never felt comfortable in the role of a tourist who goes somewhere, takes a look at it, thinks he understands it, takes photos of it and returns to his own country boasting that he knows [it].”

A recent article published in the New York Times by Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison, “Reclaiming Travel,” takes Saramago’s definition of a traveler even further, exploring essential questions about the art of travel such as, “what distinguishes meaningful, fruitful travel from mere tourism?” and “What turns travel into a quest rather than self-serving escapism?”

I am reminded of the distinction between traveler and tourist whenever I flip through one of our DK Eyewitness travel guides, books that are undoubtedly oriented toward the traveler interested not only in what to eat and where to sleep, but in picking up important literary, cultural, and architectural details about their surroundings along the way. Though these guides might contain less practical information, I always find the trade-off worthwhile for their in-depth look at the history and culture of a destination. Each guide is tastefully designed with an aesthetic layout certain to inspire you to new lands.

Eyewitness has supplemented their larger guides with a pocket “Top Ten” series, easy to slip into your pack. If you’re bringing the kids, Eyewitness also has a new Family Guide series to destinations like New York City and Paris.

Michelin Green Guides are the classic touring guides, full of delightful and informative walking tours paired with full colored maps. If you are traveling to France this summer, Michelin has you covered with regional guides to Northern France, Normandy, Brittany, the French Alps, the Chateaux of the Loire, the French Riviera, Provence, the French Atlantic Coast, and more. Michelin’s detailed country and regional road maps to destinations around the world are indispensable to both traveler and tourist,  allowing you to navigate independently in foreign lands.

Tune in to WBUR this week to learn more about the travel resources we have available at our Globe Corner Travel Annex at Brookline Booksmith, and check back next week for Shuchi’s take on guidebooks for travelers who are not tourists.

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Jul 03 2012

Traveling with Kids

My co-worker Paul has just returned from his family’s first overnight camping trip, quite the ambitious feat considering Paul’s family includes two children, five and three. The trip, as first tent camping ventures go, was something of a success, not counting the mosquitoes. Before he left I saw Paul in our travel aisle at Booksmith, stocking up on guides and maps. Traveling with kids can be intimidating enough for some parents to opt to stay home. That’s why we’re stocking our aisles with new travel guides specifically aimed not only for parents, but also for kids.

For those of you who, like Paul, want to expose your children to the beauty of nature, Appalachian Mountain Club’s Outdoors with Kids series, available for cities like Boston and NYC, each offer 100 places to explore in and around the city. These guides take you to nearby state parks, on hikes and to beaches, and include safety tips, activity ideas, and the essential Plan B every parent traveler needs.

In our children’s department, we have a Field Guide to Boston for kids with brightly colored photographs and easy-to-read informative descriptions of Boston’s historical sites. For younger children, check out Sheila Cunningham’s new picture book, Willow’s Walkabout, in which an Australian kangaroo escapes from the zoo in order to see the Boston sites she’s heard all the zoo visitors talking about. Willow’s adventures take her on the Swan Boats and even hopping through the Boston marathon. Reading this book with your kids will inevitably inspire them to follow Willow’s hops around the city.

And if you are traveling further afield, Lonely Planet’s new Not for Parents series offers guides aimed at engaging kids in your family’s travel plans, be it to Paris, London, Rome, or New York City. These guides do everything from introducing the Parisian crepe to teaching children about the Impressionists. The books focus on facts sure to grab your kids’ attention, like the fact that Rin Tin Tin is among the famous dead buried in Paris. In a photo of Rodin’s The Kiss, the woman is wondering what’s on TV tonight.

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