Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of... by Andrés ReséndezWhat's inside: the vivid story of how in 1564-1565, the Spanish sent four ships from a secret port in Mexico hoping they could cross the Pacific and return, something that had never been achieved.
Why you might like it: Though history had forgotten him, this book centers around Lope Martín, an Afro-Portuguese ship's pilot who battled mutiny, terrible storms, and more, to make history after his ship made it back first.
Reviewers say: "a rip-roaring maritime adventure" (Publishers Weekly); "enlightening and exciting" (Booklist).
The Amur River: Between Russia and China by Colin ThubronWhat it is: the lyrical latest by acclaimed British writer Colin Thubron, who, at age 80, took an adventurous trip via horse, boat, train, and car, following the remote Amur River from Siberia to the Pacific Ocean.
What happened: Though he faced injuries and suspicious officials, he followed the nearly 3,000-mile river, which forms the border between Russia and China, and visited with Russian, Chinese, and Mongolian people.
Read this next: For more about Russia, pick up Thubron's compelling In Siberia; for other smart river-centric travelogues, try Wade Davis' Magdalena or Adam Weymouth's Kings of the Yukon.
In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain by Tom VitaleWhat it is: a vivid, moving memoir about what it was like working with beloved chef/writer/TV host Anthony Bourdain, by his long-time director and producer, who found himself unmoored by Bourdain's death.
Why you might like it: Debut author Tom Vitale offers a candid, compelling look at Bourdain and their wild experiences shooting his popular TV shows in some of the most volatile regions in the world
Want a taste? "Each two-week shoot contained a lifetime's worth of adventures, and there'd been so many trips, I'd lost count."
Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide by Cecily Wong and Dylan ThurasWhat's inside: a friendly, fascinating tour of some the world’s most amazing foods -- from seven continents and 120+ countries -- featuring historical and cultural information plus colorful illustrations, all put together by the ever-curious Atlas Obscura team.
Foods include: Scotland's Irn-Bru drink; Afghanistan's Mended Teapot Soup; North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue; Chilean beer made from fog; Germany's famous Spaghetti Ice-Cream Sundae.
Locations include: Verdansky Station in Antarctica; Austria's Starkenberger Beer Pools; Libya's 12th-century Granary Fortress; Georgia's Lunch Box Museum.
The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free by Paulina BrenWhat it is: an engrossing social history of Manhattan's groundbreaking Barbizon, a 700-room residential hotel that was women-only from 1928-1981, as well as a look at some of those who called it home.
Residents included: Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Molly Brown, Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Meg Wolitzer, Betsey Johnson, and Liza Minelli.
Read it for: an entertaining, well-researched look at 20th-century New York City and the middle-class young women who went there to find freedom and work.
Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami by Roben FarzadWhat it is: a detailed look at the Mutiny at Sailboat Bay, a hotel and nightclub that was the epicenter of drug-fueled 1980s Miami, a place where drug kingpins and their ilk partied with the rich and famous.
Reviewers say: "A gripping account of how the Mutiny's role in Miami's cocaine business changed not only the city, but America" (Kirkus Reviews).
For fans of: TV's Miami Vice, the movie Scarface, the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, or T.J. English's book The Corporation.
The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont by Shawn LevyWhat it's about: the iconic Los Angeles hotel Chateau Marmont, which for nearly a century has attracted celebrities to its secluded bungalows for all manner of decadence and debauchery.
Want a taste? "Chateau Marmont is the ultimate Hollywood hotel because it is, like Hollywood itself, bigger than life even when it is obviously fake."
Try this next: For another dishy history of a storied hotel, try Julie Satow's The Plaza: The Secret Life of America's Most Famous Hotel.
The Hotel on Place Vendôme: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. MazzeoWhat's inside: a richly detailed, behind-the-doors look at the Paris' famous Hotel Ritz, covering its entire history, but primarily focusing on the World War II years, when the hotel was both a headquarters for Nazi occupation leaders and home to people like Coco Chanel.
Is it for you? It's a gossipy chronicle that delves into illicit affairs and famous people's lives as well as deadly intrigue and acts of resistance.
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