Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Top 5 unusual titles from the June Armchair Travel eNewsletter

Do you subscribe to our NextReads eNewsletters? Have you even heard of them? Our NextReads eNewsletters are email newsletters that provide reading suggestions for all ages in more than 25 reading categories. You think I'm kidding but I'm seriously not. Lookit: Christian fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, biography and memoir, armchair travel, romance, nature and science... See? LOTS.

As if that isn't awesome enough on its own, each book is selected by editors, who then add a brief summary. (Okay, I'll let you in on a little secret - the 'summary' is taken from the catalogue BUT STILL it counts because we have to manually add it!).

Subscribing is easy - simply select which eNewsletters you'd like to receive, add 'Create Your Account' details (name, email, password) and click SUBSCRIBE. Et voilà. Done.

I was looking over the Armchair Travel eNewsletter (which went out just last night) and I chortled over some of the titles. They are bizarre. (Maybe it's a case of 'one man's eww is another man's oohh'?) So I'm highlighting five of them for this post. You can read the rest of the eNewsletter here. (And oohh it has pretty, moving pictures because yes, I am that shallow).

The Turk who loved apples : and other tales of losing my way around the world / Matt Gross
While writing his celebrated Frugal Traveler column for the "New York Times," Matt Gross began to feel hemmed in by its focus on what he thought of as "traveling on the cheap at all costs." When his editor offered him the opportunity to do something less structured, the Getting Lost series was born, and Gross began a more immersive form of travel that allowed him to "lose his way all over the globe"--from developing-world megalopolises to venerable European capitals, from American sprawl to Asian archipelagos. And that's what the never-before-published material in "The Turk Who Loved Apples" is all about: breaking free of the constraints of modern travel and letting the place itself guide you. It's a variety of travel you'll love to experience vicariously through Matt Gross--and maybe even be inspired to try for yourself.

Tosca's note:  I wrongly read the author's name as Goss. Any of you who were pop fans in the 80s will have heard of Bros. Yes, Matt Goss of Bros. And there was I thinking "Wait. HE WROTE A BOOK?" But no, it's not that at all. Simply my inability to slow my roll and read things properly *rolls eyes*

 Learning to play with a lion's testicles : unexpected gifts from the animals of Africa / by Melissa J. Haynes
Playing with a lion's testicles: An African saying that means to take foolhardy chances. Melissa, an exhausted executive from the city seeks meaning and purpose from her work volunteers for a Big Five conservation project in South Africa. Her boss, an over-zealous ranger, nicknamed the Drill Sergeant, has no patience for city folk, especially if they're women. He tries to send her packing on day one, but Melissa stands her ground with grit and determination, however shaky it may be. Conflict soon sets the pace with a cast filled with predatory cats and violent elephants, an on-going battle of wits with the Drill Sergeant. Even Mother Nature pounds the reserve with the worst storm in a century. But the most enduring and profound conflict is the internal battle going on within Melissa, as she tries to come to terms with the guilt surrounding her mother's death. When death grips the game reserve, it is the very animals Melissa has come to save that end up saving her.

Tosca's note: What? WHY?! Hilarious. Or maybe it's because I have the humour of a four year old.

The yeti in the library : encounters with compassion, death and life in the Tibetan community in exile / Gill Winter
2012 was a year in which documented abuses of human rights reached alarming heights within Tibet. At the same time, there were an unprecedented number of self-immolations, as individual Tibetans made a fiery protest against the continuing erosion of their language, culture, religion and freedom, and the ongoing exile of their leader the Dalai Lama. As a foreign teacher in Dharamshala, centre of the Tibetan exile community, the author witnessed the pain of her Tibetan students and friends as the tragic year unfolded. But amidst the sadness she found humour, compassion and a determination to continue the Tibetans' non-violent struggle for freedom. The Yeti in the Library is a testament to the bravery and character of a people in exile, set against the fascinating background of life in northern India. It has been described as "Easy to read, charmingly humorous, but with an important message.

Tosca's note: A yeti in the library? FTW! I'd like to think we'd still manage to sign him (or her) up and issue some books/cds/dvds, and get them on playing on the interwebs...

Mörön to Mörön : two men, two bikes, one Mongolian misadventure / Tom Doig
Uncrossable rivers, hospitable nomads, rabid dogs, marijuana fields, hailstone flashfloods, maidens on horseback, underpants wrestling, toxic mountaintop lakes, stupid westerners, and so much mountain biking your ass will hurt just reading it In July 2010, Tom Doig and his best friend Tama Pugsley cycled 920 miles across northern Mongolia from a small town called Moron to a smaller town, also called Moron. Why? Because there were two towns called Moron, and they were two morons. It had to be done. Armed with spandex unitards, an inadequate phrasebook, and Chinese steel-frame bikes of a brand you've never heard of, Tom and Tama's mission over the barren steppes and rugged mountains of Mongolia is an outrageously absurd odyssey, taking place in one of the world's most remote and beautiful wildernesses. This hilarious, dangerous, at-times-idiotic adventure overflows with sweat, mud, unidentifiable meat product, and torrents of Chinggis Khaan vodka. A travel book like no other, this tale has it all: pleasure, pain, heartache, heartburn, and the dried fermented milk of a horse.

You are awful (but I like you) : travels through unloved Britain / Tim Moore
It began with an accidental daytrip to an intriguingly awful resort on the Thames Estuary, and ended 3,812 miles later: one man's journey through deep-fried, brownfield, poundshop Britain, a crash course in urban blight, deranged civic planning and commercial eccentricity. Following an itinerary drawn up from surveys, polls, reviews and lazy personal prejudice, Tim Moore goes to all the places that nobody wants to go to u the bleakest towns, the shonkiest hotels, the scariest pubs, the silliest sea zoos. He visits the grid reference adjudged by the Ordnance Survey to be the least interesting point in Britain, and is chased out of the new town twice crowned Scotland's Most Dismal Place. His palate is flayed alive by horrific regional foodstuffs, his ears shrivelled by the 358 least loved tracks in the history of native popular music. With his progress entrusted to our motor industry's fittingly hopeless finale, he comes to learn that Britain seems very much larger when you're driving around it in a Bulgarian-built Austin Maestro. Yet as the soggy, decrepit quest unfolds, so it evolves into something much more stirring: a nostalgic celebration of our magnificent mercantile pomp, and an angry requiem for a golden age of cheerily homespun crap culture being swept aside by the faceless, soul-stripping forces of Tesco-town globalisation.

Tosca's note: This is my kind of title because I think this about most people. They ARE awful, and sometimes I still like them. Whether that's 'in spite of' or 'despite' being awful I'm not totally sure.

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