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THE CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER
BOOK OF UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEYS : GREAT WRITERS ON GREAT PLACES (Volume II)
History, nature, art, adventure, or just pure relaxation—whatever your passion, this second volume of The Condé Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys puts it all at your fingertips. Here, the world’s premiere travel magazine brings together thirty compelling travel tales by preeminent writers, including :
Robert Hughes on Australia in “The Liberation of Sydney”
Calvin Trillin on Ecuador in “Some Like It Not Hot”
Amy Wilentz on Haiti in “Love and Haiti and the Whole Damned Thing”
E L Doctorow on India in “The Taj, The Tiger, and the Treepie”
Pico Iyer on Israel in “City of God, City of Men”
Jonathan Raban on the Florida Keys in “Corroding the Keys”
…and many others.
Whether you’re preparing for your own adventure or indulging in an armchair reverie, you will find in The Condé Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys a knowledgeable and impassioned guide.
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FLOATING ON A MALAYAN BREEZE
by Sudir Thomas Vadaketh
What happens after a country splits apart ? Forty-seven years ago Singapore separated from Malaysia. Since then, the two countries have developed along their own paths. Malaysia has given preference to the majority Malay Muslims—the bumiputera, or sons of the soil. Singapore, meanwhile, has tried to build a meritocracy—ostensibly colour-blind, yet more encouraging perhaps to some Singaporeans than to others. How have these policies affected ordinary people ? How do these two divergent nations now see each other and the world around them ?
Seeking answers to these questions, two Singaporeans set off to cycle around Peninsular Malaysia, armed with a tent, two pairs of clothes and a daily budget of three US dollars each. They spent 30 days on the road, cycling through every Malaysian state, and chatting with hundreds of Malaysians. Not satisfied, they then move on to interview many more people in Malaysia and Singapore. What they found are two countries that have developed economically but are still struggling to find their souls.
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THE DARK ROAD
by Ma Jian
Meili, a young peasant woman born in the remote heart of China, is married to Kongzi, a village school teacher, and a distant descendant of Confucius. They have a daughter, but desperate for a son to carry on his illustrious family line, Kongzi gets Meili pregnant again without waiting for official permission. When family planning officers storm the village to arrest violators of the population control policy, mother, father and daughter escape to the Yangtze River and begin a fugitive life.
For years they drift south through the poisoned waterways and ruined landscapes of China, picking up work as they go along, scavenging for necessities and flying from police detection. As Meili’s body continues to be invaded by her husband and assaulted by the state, she fights to regain control of her fate and that of her unborn child.
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UNPACKING MY LIBRARY:
WRITERS AND THEIR BOOKS
As words and stories are increasingly disseminated through digital means, the significance of the book as object—whether pristine collectible or battered relic—is growing as well. Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books spotlights the personal libraries of thirteen favourite novelists who share their collections with readers. Stunning photographs provide full views of the libraries and close-up of individual volumes: first editions, worn textbooks, pristine hardcovers, and childhood companions.
UNPACKING MY LIBRARY:
ARCHITECTS AND THEIR BOOKS
How do books map the intellectual curiosities, tastes, and personalities of their readers? What does the collecting of books have in common with the practice of architecture? A celebration of the arts of reading and collecting, this beautiful book provides an intimate look at the personal libraries of twelve of the world’s leading architects, alongside conversations about the significance of books to their careers and lives. The architects present reading lists of their top ten influential titles, from architectural history to theory to fiction and nonfiction, that serve as personal philosophies of literature and history, and as advice on what every young architect, scholar, or bibliophile should read.
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// BOOKSACTUALLY RECOMMENDS //
The King’s Speech
by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi
Based on the recently discovered diaries of Lionel Logue, The King’s Speech recounts an inspiring real-life tale of triumph over adversity, when an Australian taught a British king with a crippling speech defect how to speak to his subjects.
“Albert Frederick Arthur George, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and the last Emperor of India, woke suddenly. It was just after 3am. His bedroom in Buckingham Palace was normally a haven of piece and quiet, but this morning his slumbers had been interrupted by the crackle of loudspeakers being tested on Constitution Hill. ‘It was so loud one of them might have been in our room,’ he wrote in his diary. And then, just when he was finally dropping back off to sleep, the marching bands started.
It was May 12, 1937, and the 41-year-old King George VI, father of the present Queen, was preparing for one of the most nerve-racking days of his life. He had acceded to the throne five months earlier after his elder brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American, plunging the monarchy into one of the worst crises in its history. Today, the reluctant monarch was to be crowned in Westminster Abbey.
The coronation, a piece of national pageantry unmatched anywhere in the world, would have been daunting enough for anyone, but King George – known to the royal family as Bertie – had good reason to be anxious: he suffered from a chronic stammer that turned the simplest of conversations into a challenge and a public speech into a terrifying ordeal. Words beginning with the letter ‘k’ – as in king – proved a particular problem: confronted with one, he would struggle to make any sound at all, leaving an awkward silence.
Despite the King’s misgivings, the coronation, followed by a live radio broadcast that evening heard by tens of millions of people across the Empire, proved a resounding success. He barely stumbled over his words. ‘The King’s voice last night was strong and deep, resembling to a startling degree the voice of his father,’ reported The Star. ‘His words came through firmly, clearly – and without hesitation.’”
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“In this thoroughly engaging book, Natalie Haynes brings her scholarship and wit to the most fascinating true stories of the ancient world. The Ancient Guide to Modern Life not only reveals the origins of our culture in areas including philosophy, politics, language, and art, it also draws illuminating connections between antiquity and our present time, to demonstrate that the Greeks and Romans were not so different from ourselves: is Bart Simpson the successor to Aristophanes? Do the Beckhams have parallel lives with The Satiricon’s ‘Trimalchio’? Along the way Haynes debunks myths (gladiators didn’t salute the emperor before their deaths, and the last words of Julius Caesar weren’t ‘et tu, brute?’) from Athens to Zeno’s paradox, this irresistible guide shows how the history and wisdom of the ancient world can inform and enrich our lives today.”
― Blurb for Natalie Haynes’ The Ancient Guide to Modern Life (source)
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“Seven people inside the studio with a young mannequin that has come to life, faced with the same situation, with their different experiences. As they are likened to a blank canvas, their lives are made of the present, the abstract, the togetherness, or their solitude. In the end, what remains is their youth.”
― Blurb for 畫室, by Yeng Pway Ngon
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“In the spirit of John Kenneth Galbraith and Paul Krugman, Roger Bootle challenges readers to look at the real causes of the current financial crisis - what really went wrong and how to really fix it. Bootle blames the crisis not on bankers and regulators but on the very notion that financial markets can left alone to fend for themselves. The Trouble with Markets doesn’t shy from the hard questions - including what investors should do with their money in these turbulent times.”
― Blurb for Roger Bootle’s The Trouble With Markets (source)
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// BOOKSACTUALLY RECOMMENDS //
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
by Michael Pollan
“What should we have for dinner?” To one degree or another this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore’s dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn’t — which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and which berries we can enjoy. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore’s dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance. The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has thrown us back on a bewildering landscape where we once again have to worry about which of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. At the same time we’re realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is bestselling author Michael Pollan’s brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America.