Armchair travel titles that span globe, pique interest

Armchair travel is one of my favorite reading categories. These latest releases may be just what you need to plan your next trip or to just travel in your imagination!

“A Beginner’s Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations” by Pico Iyer is written by the world’s greatest living travel writer according to Outside magazine.

After living in Japan for 32 years, Iyer writes a playful and profound guidebook that draws on readings, reflections and conversations with Japanese friends. He travels from a meditation-hall to a love-hotel, from West Point to Kyoto Station and makes observations that may surprise you and will certainly pique your interest.

“How to be a Family: the Year I Dragged my Kids around the World to Find a New Way to be Together” by Dan Kois. What happens when busy professionals living in D.C. decide to turn their lives upside down by traveling to far-flung places like New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica and small town Kansas? Get to know the family as they learn how other families live. This journalistic memoir is filled with heart, empathy and a lot of whining.

“Classic Krakauer: Essays on Wilderness and Risk” by Jon Krakauer is a collection of his essays that were written for magazines like The New Yorker, Outside, and Smithsonian. It spans a wide range of subjects and locations and is rigorously researched and written with Krakauer’s great instinct for storytelling.

On the Plain of Snakes: a Mexican Journey” by Paul Theroux details his drive over the length of the border between the United States and Mexico. He stops to talk to residents south of the border. He visits Zapotec mill workers in the highlands and attends a Zapatista party meeting. With the same humanity that Theroux is best known for, he brings life to places that many people call home.

“The Dog Went Over the Mountain: Travels with Albie: an American Journey” by Peter Zheutlin is about a journey across America by a man and his rescue dog. Inspired by John Steinbeck and in a tone similar to Bill Bryson, this is an endearing story of a man who discovers our big-hearted country, filled with endearing characters and is determined to live more fully in the moment as old age looms. This is a story that most dog lovers, baby boomers and all of us that seek to experience the open road will enjoy.

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Tina Winstead is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Monday. Her columns may also be found online at

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