A Beginner's Guide to Japanby Pico IyerWhat it is: Lyrical, thought-provoking snippets and essays that ponder life in Japan, covering such varied topics as silence, signage, emotion, clothing, anime, baseball and more.
About the author: British-born bestselling travel writer Pico Iyer is married to a Japanese woman and the country is his adopted home.
Want a taste? "Being in Japan has taught me to say, 'I wonder,' more often than 'I think.'"
How to Be a Familyby Dan KoisWhat it's about: A dad humorously details the year his stressed Northern Virginia family gave up regular life for three months each in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas.
The family: Journalist father and podcast host Dan, lawyer mom Alia, and their daughters 11-year-old Lyra and nine-year-old Harper.
Classic Krakauerby Jon KrakauerWhat it is: A compelling collection of ten essays, all previously published between 1985 and 2014, that profile adventures and adventurers around the globe, including a poignant look at surfer Mark Foo's last ride.
Reviewers say: "A solid mix of conversations, background, and travel adds up to cleareyed reportage that still shocks" (Kirkus Reviews).
On the Plain of Snakesby Paul TherouxWhat happened: Erudite 70-something travel writer Paul Theroux drove the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border alone, crossing over the border multiple times; he also visited Mexico City, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and other areas.
Why you should read it: Theroux saw the border situation up close, met locals, witnessed the monarch butterfly migration, visited historic locations, taught writing, and learned about drug cartels and corruption.
Northlandby Porter FoxWhat it is: A beautifully written, reflective look at the border region between the United States and Canada, which traces the area's rich history (including Native Americans' roles) and draws on three years of exploration from Maine to Washington via car, canoe, foot, and freighter.
Did you know? "Before September 11, 2001, half of the 119 border crossings between the U.S. and Canada were unguarded at night."
Read this next: For more on the U.S.-Canadian border, pick up Brian Castner's Disappointment River.
Borderby Kapka KassabovaAbout the author: Bulgarian-born poet and writer Kapka Kassabova lives in Scotland, and in Border she describes her return visits home to Eastern Europe between 2013-2015.
What happened: In the complex area where Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece meet, Kassabova traveled through mountains and forests and spoke with villagers, ex-border guards, people who'd tried to escape Communist Bulgaria, incoming Syrian refugees, and others.
Read it for: A clever, lyrical, and acutely observed examination of Eastern European borderlands; references to myths and folktales.
The Marchesby Rory StewartWhat it's about: Rory Stewart has written about Afghanistan in The Places In Between, but this journey is more intimate. It's the landscape of his homeland, the border between England and Scotland, and he walked it with his 89-year-old Scottish father.
What's inside: Family stories as well as thoughtful musings on the plants, animals, conflicts, people (from Romans to modern-day locals), and more that have shaped this stunning area.
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