New and forthcoming

Scraps of Wool

Bill Colegrave

For more than forty years I have collected and read travel books... I marked passages that enthused me and so gathered a library that was annotated by triangular corner-folds and barely decipherable jottings. This was my own inadvertent wool-gathering...

Scraps of Wool is a celebration of travel writing, bringing together in a single volume passages that have enthralled generations of readers, encouraged them to dream of exploration and set off on journeys of their own.
Compiled by Bill Colegrave, its excerpts have been selected by today’s travel writers and journalists, who have revealed the books that influenced them: Dervla Murphy, Tony Wheeler, Rory MacLean, Pico Iyer, Jan Morris, Colin Thubron, Artemis Cooper, Sara Wheeler, Alexander Frater and many more.

Each of these scraps is a document of the writer’s passion for place – thick equatorial jungle, the soft ergs of the Sahara, Patagonian steppe – and each story, each memory will transport you to a different corner of the globe, and maybe even inspire you to plan your own great adventure.

Icebreaker

Horatio Clare

'We are celebrating a hundred years since independence this year: how would you like to travel on a government icebreaker?'

A message from the Finnish embassy launches Horatio Clare on a voyage around an extraordinary country and an unearthly place, the frozen Bay of Bothnia, just short of the Arctic circle. Travelling with the crew of Icebreaker Otso, Horatio, whose last adventure saw him embedded on Maersk container vessels for the bestseller Down to the Sea in Ships, discovers stories of Finland, of her mariners and of ice.

Finland is an enigmatic place, famous for its educational miracle, healthcare and gender equality – as well as Nokia, Angry Birds, saunas, questionable cuisine and deep taciturnity. Aboard Otso Horatio gets to know the men who make up her crew, and explores Finland’s history and character. Surrounded by the extraordinary colours and conditions of a frozen sea, he also comes to understand something of the complexity and fragile beauty of ice, a near-miraculous substance which cools the planet, gives the stars their twinkle and which may hold all our futures in its crystals.

Winter

Karl Ove Knausgaard (and others)

The second volume in his autobiographical quartet based on the seasons, Winter is an achingly beautiful collection of daily meditations and letters addressed directly to Knaugsaard's unborn daughter

It is strange that you exist, but you don’t know anything about what the world looks like. It’s strange that there is a first time to see the sky, a first time to see the sun, a first time to feel the air against one’s skin. It’s strange that there is a first time to see a face, a tree, a lamp, pyjamas, a shoe. In my life that almost never happens anymore. But soon it will. In just a few months, I will see you for the first time.

In Winter, we rejoin the great Karl Ove Knausgaard as the birth of his daughter draws near. In preparation for her arrival, he takes stock of the world, seeing it anew. While new life is on the horizon, the earth is also in hibernation, waiting for the warmer weather to return. In his inimitably sensitive style, he writes about everything from the moon, winter boots and messiness, to owls and birthdays. Taking nothing for granted, he fills these everyday familiar objects and ideas with new meaning.

Startling, compassionate, and exquisitely beautiful, Knausgaard's writing is like nothing else. Somehow, he shows the world as it really is, at once mundane and sublime.

The Meaning of Rice

Michael Booth

'The next Bill Bryson.’ New York Times

In this often hilarious yet deeply researched book, food and travel writer Michael Booth and his family embark on an epic journey the length of Japan to explore its dazzling food culture. They find a country much altered since their previous visit ten years earlier (which resulted in the award-winning international bestseller Sushi and Beyond).

Over the last decade the country’s restaurants have won a record number of Michelin stars and its cuisine was awarded United Nations heritage status. The world’s top chefs now flock to learn more about the extraordinary dedication of Japan’s food artisans, while the country’s fast foods – ramen, sushi and yakitori – have conquered the world. As well as the plaudits, Japan is also facing enormous challenges. Ironically, as Booth discovers, the future of Japan’s culinary heritage is under threat.

Often venturing far off the beaten track, the author and his family discover intriguing future food trends and meet a fascinating cast of food heroes, from a couple lavishing love on rotten fish, to a chef who literally sacrificed a limb in pursuit of the ultimate bowl of ramen, and a farmer who has dedicated his life to growing the finest rice in the world… in the shadow of Fukushima. They dine in the greatest restaurant in the world, meet the world champion of cakes, and encounter wild bears. Booth is invited to judge the world sushi championship, ‘enjoys’ the most popular Japanese dish you have never heard of aboard a naval destroyer, and unearths the unlikely story of the Englishwoman who helped save the seaweed industry.

Sushi and Beyond was also a bestseller in Japanese where its success has had improbable consequences for Booth and his family. They now star in their own popular cartoon series produced by national broadcaster NHK.

A Taste of Adventure

Exodus Travels Limited

If you're an adventurer with an appetite, then this cookbook is for you! This lovely cookbook is a collection of globetrotting gastronomy to help you recreate your travels at home.

The recipes in this book are from all over the world, from Vietnamese Pho and Indian Mango Lassi, to traditional African flatbreads, Middle Eastern Lamb Tagine, and Spanish Paella.

With these recipes you'll have the whole world at your fingertips!

In Patagonia

Bruce Chatwin (and others)

When Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia was published in 1977 it heralded the arrival of a startling new talent in British literature. Critics were surprised and spellbound by a story of an adventure which blurred the boundaries between travel writing, biography, history and memoir. All readers recognised its timeless quality – Auberon Waugh went as far as to call it ‘a classic’.

Forty years later, Chatwin’s first book continues to inspire generations of travellers and writers. This 40th anniversary edition celebrates the enduring status of In Patagonia and includes a host of material from the archive to recreate the book’s genesis and publication.

Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations

Simon Jenkins

The Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller

The perfect new gift from the bestselling author of Britain's 1000 Best Churches

It is the scene for our hopeful beginnings and our intended ends, and the timeless experiences of coming and going, meeting, greeting and parting. It is an institution with its own rituals and priests, and a long-neglected aspect of Britain's architecture. And yet so little do we look at the railway station.

Simon Jenkins has travelled the length and breadth of Great Britain, from Waterloo to Wemyss Bay, Betws-y-Coed to Beverley, to select his hundred best. Blending his usual insight and authority with his personal reflections and experiences - including his founding the Railway Heritage Trust - the foremost expert on our national heritage deftly reveals the history, geography, design and significance of each of these glories.

Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs throughout, this joyous exploration of our social history shows the station's role in the national imagination; champions the engineers, architects and rival companies that made them possible; and tells the story behind the triumphs and follies of these very British creations.

These are the marvellous, often undersung places that link our nation, celebrated like never before.

The Atlas of Beauty

Mihaela Noroc

Photographs and stories of 500 women from around the world, based on the author's hugely popular website.

Since 2013 Mihaela Noroc has travelled the world with her backpack and camera taking photos of everyday women to showcase the diversity and beauty all around us. The Atlas of Beauty is a collection of her photographs that celebrates women from fifty countries across the globe and shows that beauty is everywhere, regardless of money, race or social status, and comes in many different sizes and colours. Mihaela's portraits feature women in their native environments, from the Amazon rain forest to markets in India, London city streets and parks in Harlem, creating a mirror of our varied cultures and proving that beauty has no rules.

'Stunning . . . aims to challenge the ideals of beauty dictated by the women's fashion magazine industry' Independent

'A startling and revealing project' Daily Mail

'Scrolling through "The Atlas of Beauty", beauty becomes not a universal standard, but a complicated tapestry' Huffington Post

The Marches

Rory Stewart

LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE 2017

‘This is travel writing at its best.’
Katherine Norbury, Observer
An Observer Book of the Year

His father Brian taught Rory Stewart how to walk, and walked with him on journeys from Iran to Malaysia. Now they have chosen to do their final walk together along ‘the Marches’ - the frontier that divides their two countries, Scotland and England. Brian, a ninety-year-old former colonial official and intelligence officer, arrives in Newcastle from Scotland dressed in tartan and carrying a draft of his new book You Know More Chinese Than You Think. Rory comes from his home in the Lake District, carrying a Punjabi fighting stick which he used when walking across Afghanistan.

On their six-hundred-mile, thirty-day journey - with Rory on foot, and his father ‘ambushing’ him by car – the pair relive Scottish dances, reflect on Burmese honey-bears, and on the loss of human presence in the British landscape. On mountain ridges and in housing estates they uncover a forgotten country crushed between England and Scotland: the Middleland. They cross upland valleys which once held forgotten peoples and languages – still preserved in sixth-century lullabies and sixteenth-century ballads. The surreal tragedy of Hadrian’s Wall forces them to re-evaluate their own experiences in the Iraq and Vietnam wars. The wild places of the uplands reveal abandoned monasteries, border castles, secret military test sites and newly created wetlands. They discover unsettling modern lives, lodged in an ancient land. Their odyssey develops into a history of nationhood, an anatomy of the landscape, a chronicle of contemporary Britain and an exuberant encounter between a father and a son.

And as the journey deepens, and the end approaches, Brian and Rory fight to match, step by step, modern voices, nationalisms and contemporary settlements to the natural beauty of the Marches, and a fierce absorption in tradition in their own unconventional lives.

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