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What we're reading: November 2017

Get Christmas sorted early — we've compiled this list of books, ideal to inspire wanderlust

By Sarah Barrell
Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:19 BST, Updated 12 Jul 2021, 13:29 BST
Journey: An Illustrated History of Travel

Journey: An Illustrated History of Travel

Photograph by Dorling Kindersley

Journey: An Illustrated History of Travel
Why do we roam? How — and where — did we first holiday? What motivates great explorers, from Columbus and Hiram Bingham to Roy 'Indiana Jones' Chapman Andrews? These and even more ambitious questions are addressed in this lively, visual account of travel and discovery, charting how our worldwide wanderings have changed over the centuries. With a foreword from travel broadcasting royalty, Simon Reeve, and packed with the kind of glorious photographs, illustrations and historic maps you'd expect from DK, this is a very pretty Christmas prezzie indeed. RRP: £25 (Dorling Kindersley)

How to Land a Plane
Anyone who read Mark Vanhoenacker's unlikely 2015 bestseller, Skyfaring, will know that his newest offering is a work of humorous and outright poetic travel geekery. Learn about 'pitch' and 'yaw', but also get a spirit-lifting picture of cloud formations and sunsets as painted by the lyrical pilot. RRP: £9.99 (Quercus)

Mexico: A Culinary Quest 
A quest to find the heart and soul of this vast country and its people through the medium of food takes writer and documentary filmmaker Hossein Amirsadeghi through Mexico's most picturesque states. With no real recipes but plenty of frontline travelogue, he offers vivid flavours, images and tales from the road. RRP: £45 (Thames & Hudson / TransGlobe Publishing)

Universe: Exploring the Astronomical World
Head out on a stargazing trip through the centuries with 300 images that combine and contrast scientific discovery and artistic wonder at our galaxy and its gaseous, sparkling, combustible contents, both discovered and imagined. RRP: £39.95 (Phaidon)

Van Life: Inspiration For Your Home On The Road
The best of Foster Huntingdon's world-travelling Instagram account (#vanlife) is now transformed into glossy print, offering a window into a community of road-trippers that's both retro and faintly ridiculous, but also makes us want to get behind the wheel. RRP: £16.99 (Little Brown) 

Blue Planet II
The glossy book accompaniment to the hit BBC series serves up 200 photographs and stills from the BBC Natural History Unit's pioneering footage. Each chapter is dedicated to diving into a different oceanic habitat with behind-the-scenes tales from producers, James Honeyborne and Mark Brownlow. RRP: £25 (BBC Books)

Alaskan Lonely Hearts Club
Travel the globe in an A-Z of stories peopled by some of the planet's most eccentric characters, as told by travel journalist and TV presenter, Paul Gogarty. There are few writers so attuned to finding and telling a travel tale from the unexpected. RRP: £9.99 (Signal Books)

Follow @travelbarrell

Published in the December 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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