Hokkaido Highway Blues: Hitchhiking Japan by Will Ferguson

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It had never been done before. Not in 2,000 years of Japanese recorded history had anyone followed the Cherry Blossom Front from one end of the country to the other. Nor had anyone hitchhiked the length of Japan. But, heady on sakura and sake, Will Ferguson bet he could do both. The resulting travelogue is one of the funniest and most illuminating books ever written about Japan. And, as Ferguson learns, it illustrates that to travel is better than to arrive.

Hokkaido Highway Blues: Hitchhiking Japan

Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World’s Most Precious Stones by Greg Campbell

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Journalist Greg Campbell leads the reader down the international diamond trail of brutality, horror, and profit – providing an on-the-ground and in-the-mines story of global consequence. First discovered in 1930, the diamonds of Sierra Leone have funded one of the most savage rebel campaigns in modern history. These “blood diamonds” are smuggled out of West Africa and sold to legitimate diamond merchants in London, Antwerp, and New York, often with the complicity of the international diamond industry. Eventually, these very diamonds find their way into the rings and necklaces of brides and spouses the world over. Blood Diamonds is the gripping tale of how the diamond smuggling works, how the rebel war has effectively destroyed Sierra Leone and its people, and how the policies of the diamond industry – institutionalized in the 1880s by the De Beers cartel – have allowed it to happen. Award-winning journalist Greg Campbell traces the deadly trail of these diamonds, many of which are brought to the world market by fanatical enemies. These repercussions of diamond smuggling are felt far beyond the borders of the poor and war-ridden country of Sierra Leone, and the consequences of overlooking this African tragedy are both shockingly deadly and unquestionably global. Updated with a new epilogue.

Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World’s Most Precious Stones

The Summer of My Greek Taverna: A Memoir by Tom Stone

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The story of a man in love with a place, a woman, and a dream. Tom Stone went to Greece one summer to write a novel — and stayed twenty-two years. On Patmos, he fell in love with Danielle, a beautiful French painter. His novel completed and sold, he decided to stay a little longer. Seven idyllic years later, they left Patmos for Crete. When a Patmian friend Theológos called and offered him a summer partnership in his beach tavérna, The Beautiful Helen, Stone jumped at the chance — much to the dismay of his wife, who cautioned him not to forget the old adage about Greeks bearing gifts. Her warning was well-founded: when back on Patmos, Stone quickly discovered that he was no longer a friend or patron but a competitor. He learned hard lessons about the Greeks’ skill at bargaining and business while reluctantly coming to the realization that Theológos’s offer of a partnership was indeed a Trojan horse. Featuring Stone’s recipes, including his own Chicken Retsina and the ultimate moussaka, The Summer of My Greek Tavérna is as much a love story as it is the grand, humorous, and sometimes bittersweet adventures of an American pursuing his dreams in a foreign land, a modern-day innocent abroad.

The Summer of My Greek Taverna: A Memoir

Tropic of Capricorn by Simon Reeve

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In Tropic of Capricorn, bestselling author Simon Reeve embarks on a 23,000-mile trek around the southernmost border of the tropics – a place of both amazing beauty and overwhelming human suffering. Heading east through Africa, Australia and South America, Simon encounters breathtaking landscapes and truly extraordinary people: from Bushmen of the Kalahari and Namibian prostitutes battling with HIV to gem miners in Madagascar and teenagers in the Brazilian favela once described as the most dangerous place on earth. It is a collection of daring adventures, strange rituals and exotic wildlife, all linked together by one invisible line.
Like the best travel writing, Tropic of Capricorn confronts important issues of our time – our changing environment, poverty, globalisation – by taking us on an unforgettable journey of discovery.

Tropic of Capricorn

Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller

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When Alexandra “Bo” Fuller was in Zambia a few years ago visiting her parents, she asked her father about a nearby banana farmer who was known as being a “tough bugger”. Her father’s response was a warning to steer clear of him: “Curiosity scibbled the cat, ” he told her. Nonetheless, Fuller began her strange friendhip with the man she calls K, a white African and veteran of the Rhodesian War. A man of contradictions, K is battle-scarred and work-weathered, a born-again Christian and given to weeping for the failure of his romantic life and the burden of his memories. Driven by K’s these memories of the war, they decide to enter the heart of darkness in the most literal way, by travelling from Zambia through Zimbabwe and Mozambique to visit the scenes of the war and to meet other veterans.

Scribbling the Cat

Two Wheels on my Wagon: A Bicycle Adventure in the Wild West by Paul Howard

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As bicycle races go, the attractions of the Tour Divide are not immediately apparent. For a start, it is the longest mountain-bike race in the world, running nearly 3,000 miles down the Rockies from Canada to Mexico. But the distance is not the only challenge – the total ascent of 200,000 ft is the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest nearly seven times.
Then there are the dangerous animals likely to be encountered on the route: grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves, not to mention rattlesnakes and tarantulas. Worse, the rewards for all this effort are strictly limited. Unlike in the Tour de France, there is no fabled yellow jersey and no prize money.
Yet, undaunted, and in spite of never having owned a mountain bike, Paul Howard signed up. Battling the worst weather for generations, drinking whiskey with a cowboy and singing karaoke with the locals, Howard’s journey turned into more than just a race – it became the adventure of a lifetime.

Two Wheels on my Wagon: A Bicycle Adventure in the Wild West

Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future by Tom Scocca

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Within the past decade, Beijing has debuted as the defining city of the now and foreseeable future, and China as the ascendant global power. Beijing is the ultimate representation of China’s political and cultural capital, of its might-and threat. For so long, the city was closed off to the world, literally built around the Forbidden City, the icon of all that was ominous about China. But now, the country is eager to show off its new openness, its glory and magnanimity, and Beijing is its star. When Tom Scocca arrived in 2004-an American eager to see another culture-Beijing was looking toward welcoming the world to its Olympics four years later, and preparations were in full swing to create a renewed city.
Scocca talked to the scientists tasked with changing the weather; interviewed designers and architects churning out projects; checked out the campaign to stop public spitting; documented the planting of trees, the rerouting of traffic, the demolition of the old city, and the construction of the new metropolis. Beijing Welcomes You is a glimpse into the future and an encounter with an urban place we do not yet fully comprehend, and the superpower it is essential we get to know better.

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The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes

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In 1787, the twenty-eighth year of the reign of King George III, the British Government sent a fleet to colonize Australia-An epic description of the brutal transportation of men, women and children out of Georgian Britain into a horrific penal system which was to be the precursor to the Gulag and was the origin of Australia. The Fatal Shore is the prize-winning, scholarly, brilliantly entertaining narrative that has given its true history to Australia.

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[Article] The Lonely Planet Guide To My Apartment

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A funny parody of the Lonely Planet guides:

Lonely Planet Guide To My Apartment

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart

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Rory Stewart’s moving, sparsely poetic account of his walk across Afghanistan in January 2002 has been immediately hailed as a classic. Caught between hostile nations, warring factions and competing ideologies, at the time, Afghanistan was in turmoil following the US invasion. Travelling entirely on foot and following the inaccessible, mountainous route once taken by the Mohgul Emperor, Babur the Great, Stewart was nearly defeated by the extreme, hostile conditions. Only due to the help of an unexpected companion and the generosity of the people he met on the way, did he survive to report back with unique insight on a region closed to the world by twenty-four years of war.

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