‘Going Into Town’ Celebrates Everything We Love (and Love to Hate) About New York City [REVIEW]

New York City waterbug

In Roz Chast’s love letter to New York, Going Into Town, she reminisces about everything we love and loathe about the Big Apple, including its wildlife. (Illustration by Roz Chast)

From the very first time I stepped foot in New York City as a teenager, I’m one of those people who is simply crazy about the place. I love everything about it: from the sidewalk food vendors to the mom-and-pop coffee shops, from Little Italy and Chinatown to Wall Street and Battery Park. There’s a palpable energy there that throbs with life, like an irresistible rhythm that simply invades my soul, and I feel it every time I arrive. Now author and cartoonist Roz Chast captures every nuance of that experience in her love letter to Manhattan, Going Into Town.  Read more of this post

Explore Planet Earth and Beyond in National Geographic’s ‘Visual Atlas of the World’ [REVIEW]

Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area in China (Photo courtesy National Geographic)

Are you as fascinated by our planet as we are? Every time we travel, we love exploring new terrain, taking drives along breathtaking vistas or hikes to reach secluded views, marveling at the miraculous balance of nature in all its stunning beauty. But sometimes it isn’t easy to know exactly where to go. That’s where National Geographic’s Visual Atlas of the World, Second Edition comes in handy. This oversized, photo-packed volume is everything we love in a reference book and more, and here’s why you need a copy for your own personal library. 

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National Geographic’s ‘Journeys of a Lifetime’ Has Us Renewing Our Passports [REVIEW]

Bran Castle

Unless you’re fascinated by mythic folklore, Transylvania may not be high on your list of dream vacations. But with beautiful summers, loads of historic sites like Bran Castle to explore, and plenty of inexpensive flights from major European cities, it is quickly becoming a top destination for world travelers. (Photo by NH53, Flickr)

Ever since I was a boy in Mrs. Harris’s seventh grade world geography class, I have anxiously awaited each issue of National Geographic. The yellow box on the cover always seemed like a magic telescope that allowed me to peer into other places and cultures where I discovered untold wonders and met fascinating people. That’s a feeling I still get to this day, whether I’m reading the magazine or watching a Nat Geo documentary. Now National Geographic is igniting our wanderlust once again with its second edition of Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, published on the 10th anniversary of the original edition’s initial release date.
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‘America for Beginners’ Should Be Required Reading for Everyone [REVIEW]

Road trip

A classic road trip becomes more than just a journey across the country in Leah Franqui’s America for Beginners. (Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com)

Soon after her husband’s death, and much to everyone’s dismay, a woman does the unthinkable: she leaves her homeland behind and travels to the United States to discover the truth regarding questions her deceased spouse would never answer. But will she like the answers she receives? Find out in Leah Franqui’s debut novel, America for Beginners.
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Susan Spann Finds Her Muse High Atop Mount Koyasan [GUEST POST]

Konpon Daito Pagoda

Structures like the impressive two-storied Konpon Daito Pagoda elicit quiet contemplation and meditation from even the most experienced traveler. (Photo by Susan Spann)

Most of the time, the plot of each new novel drives my research, but in the case of Trial on Mount Koya, a sacred mountain turned that process upside-down. Each Hiro Hattori novel features a crime in a different setting, and a victim from a different social class or niche, allowing me to keep the series fresh and interesting. Read more of this post