Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your reading backlog. What is worth reading this summer? We have chosen the most interesting books about exploring new countries and getting to know the diversity of cultures through the sheer pleasure of reading. The good news is that you can read about travelling regardless of whether you spend your holiday at the seaside, in the mountains or in a big city. Welcome to our summer summary.
”The Escapist 2019”
Slightly rebuilt and reformatted, “The Escapist” – a Monocle journal with not-so-obvious destinations, returns with columns full of good ideas for great trips and tips for long weekends. If you want to visit the best beach clubs, shops full of local souvenirs and places we recommend you go in the coming year, from sandy beaches in Angourie, Australia, to the modernist architectural wonders of Mérida, Mexico – we’ve got something for you! And those of you who are on the move may be interested in our list of the best airports, the finest catering offered during flights and the most robust travelling bags that will not disappoint you even on the longest journey.
”Babel. Around the world in twenty languages”, Gaston Dorren
Crazy and packed with incredible stories, a book full of self-depreciating humour about the twenty most common languages of the world – from Vietnamese to English, through Korean, Tamil, Turkish, Javanese, Persian, Punjabi, Japanese, Swahili, German, French, Malay, Russian, Portuguese, Bengali, Arabic, Hindi-Urdu, Spanish, Mandarin. Gaston Dorren, a linguist and polyglot, presents the specific features of each of these languages, and at the same time, talks about everything that is associated with the language – its history, culture, different ways of thinking and perceiving reality. What’s the most effective way to learn Vietnamese? Why is German the biggest freak among languages? Why did one language turn out to be more expansive than others? How do the people of Indonesia communicate (two hundred and sixty-five million citizens living on almost a thousand islands, speaking seven hundred languages)? Gaston Dorren’s book answers these and dozens of similar or strange questions, revealing to us a language archipelago full of the wonderful inventions of humanity.
”The Monocle Travel Guide Series”
The Monocle city guide collection is recommended for those of you who are looking for good, unusual guides. The collection includes 27 books that provide great information about cities such as New York, Kyoto, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Copenhagen. Each copy is divided into sections featuring: hotels, gastronomy, shopping, design and architecture. The maps with recommended walks around the area is what we like the most about Monocle guides. Thanks to them you will find local gems: delicious ice cream parlours, bistro bars recognized by locals and shops with a good atmosphere, all while avoiding the tourist traps. “The Monocle Travel Guide Series” contains information that you won’t find anywhere else unless you know the place. That’s why we love these books!
”Paintings of Italy” series by Paweł Muratow
Muratow’s sketches, bring forth many insightful remarks about the sculptures, paintings, architecture and culture of Italy, are not only a beautifully written account of things seen, but also an interesting document of their time, a testimony of the era.
”Whispers of stones. Stories from abandoned Iceland”, Berenika Lenard and Piotr Mikołajczak
Berenika and Piotr, authors of the IceStory blog, settled in Iceland to learn about real life in a country both tempts and impresses with its harsh beauty, but also requires a lot of its inhabitants. They will learn the history and effects of the financial crisis – in 2008 it didn’t just affect Icelanders. They penetrate the island in search of abandoned places. They visit the isolated Djúpavík. It used to be one of the largest fish processing plants in the world employing hundreds of employees, but today only a handful of people live there. They also go to the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. In 1973, the Eldfell volcanic eruption almost split one of its islands into two and forced the inhabitants to evacuate.
“Whispers of stones” shows the unknown face of Iceland, not described in guidebooks. Without disregarding its charm, the authors say the unsaid.
”Secrets of North Korea”, Daniel Tudor and James Pearson
North Korea is a country where everyone worships a power-hungry dictator, disputes with neighbouring South Korea often lead to violent outbursts, nuclear bombs are detonated with alarming regularity, and most people are on the brink of starvation. Is this really a faithful picture of everyday life in today’s North Korea?
Daniel Tudor and James Pearson show what the lives of ordinary North Koreans really look like. They use a variety of sources – from conversations with members of the ruling elite from Pyongyang, refugees from the DPRK, diplomats, employees of NGOs and traffickers smuggling goods from China, to written accounts in English, Korean and Chinese – to present a completely different picture of modern North Korean society. From these sources it follows that in North Korea you can buy virtually anything with money, and ordinary people, both rich and poor, often listen to South Korean pop, wear tight jeans, watch South Korean TV series, and even Chinese and American films.
”Gaumardżos. Stories from Georgia”, Marcin Marcin and Anna Dziewit-Meller
Georgia. Still undiscovered for many, fascinating for others. Full of unique flavours, smells, sounds of music, fairy-tale landscapes and friendly residents. For those who haven’t been to Georgia yet, as well as for those who been at least once – Anna Dziewit-Meller and Marcin Meller will take you on a journey through this extraordinary country. Thanks to this reading we will find out why pride is so deeply rooted in Georgians, how Georgian women cope in this macho world and what is the Georgian attitude towards punctuality. But not only that, the book is full of colourful anecdotes about the Georgians themselves. It takes you on a tour along the Georgian mountains and sea coasts, talks about Georgian history, and above all – the art of celebration and the unparalleled joy of life.
”Usta #22 – Travel”
The twenty-second issue of Usta Magazine is fully dedicated to travelling, but of the responsible and conscious variety. In its columns you will find conversations with five young travellers about where, with whom and why they go. So you will go with Janek and Marta to Japan in a motorhome, with Mateusz Waligóra you’ll walk across the Gobi desert on foot, and with Ula Ryciak you’ll take a container ship across the ocean. We especially recommend the material with Manuela Gretkowska, who brilliantly talks about travels, including spiritual ones, and their impact on our development, because “Every trip, even a ‘micro one’, for example from Warsaw to Kutno, is a brain reset. Hundreds of new stimuli contribute to its functioning, build new synaptic connections and extend time.” Let’s go to Kutno! Or to the Bookworm Cabin we recommend in Adelin near Warsaw.
In this issue you will also find a beautiful excursion around Scotland, a handful of recipes for the road and an extended guide to Warsaw.
”Anywhere ‑ Travel Guide”
A guide to any place, both nearby and a bit further. A handy deck containing 75 cards with unique hints inspires you to search and strike out on an adventure! It contains a mix of specific activities (e.g. “Eat dessert for breakfast, three snacks for lunch and breakfast for dinner”) and more unusual activities (e.g. “Write on a small piece of paper what you like in a given city. Leave the note where someone else finds it.”) The game touches on the “way” of travelling, not a specific location, allowing users to discover both new places and redefine those they already know.
”MAPS. A pictorial journey over the lands, seas and cultures of the world”, Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielińscy
A book that will take the youngest readers on an extraordinary journey around the world. 51 huge maps will lead them through 42 countries and 6 continents. Each of the maps contains countless illustrations, details and interesting facts, thanks to which you can easily go to unique places, e.g. you can see geysers in Iceland, caravans in the Egyptian desert and the Mayan city in Mexico, or play cricket in England, practice yoga in India, or taste 100-year-old eggs in China. Have a nice trip!