Wild Life: Dispatches From a Childhood of Baboons and Button-Downs by Keena RobertsWhat it's about: Keena Robert's funny, tender coming-of-age story vividly details life in two different worlds: wildlife research camps in Kenya and Botswana, where her primatologist parents worked part of the year, and an elite prep school in Philadelphia, where Keena struggled to fit in.
Chapters include: The First Three Times I Almost Died; High School Water Hole; There Are No Doctors Here; Goodbye, Narnia.
For fans of: the delightful Cathedral of the Wild by Boyd Varty, who grew up on a South African game preserve; Alexandra Fuller's moving Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood.
The Seine: The River That Made Paris by Elaine SciolinoWhat it is: an entertaining, smart, and detail-rich look at the Seine River, from its modest Burgundy source to its end at the English Channel.
Don't miss: fascinating details about Paris and the Seine; stories about the ancient goddess Sequana; talks with locals, including a grape grower in Champagne, Paris booksellers, and River Brigade members.
About the author: Elaine Sciolino, a former New York Times Paris bureau chief and the bestselling author of The Only Street in Paris, has been based in France since 2002.
Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Other Geniuses of the... by Sara WheelerWhat it is: an informative, lighthearted, and personal look at both contemporary Russia and some of the country's most famous writers.
What happened: Veteran British travel writer Sara Wheeler spent two years traveling in Russia, skipping hotels for homestays, learning the language and cooking traditions, and focusing on the country's Golden Age writers, like Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Dostoyevsky.
Read this next: Ian Frazier's Travels in Siberia, Elif Batuman's The Possessed, or Rachel Polonsky Molotov's Magic Lantern.
Around the World in 60 seconds: The Nas Daily Journey -- 1,000 Days. 64 Countries... by Nuseir (Nas) Yassin with Bruce KlugerWhat it is: an inspiring, beautifully photographed book by dynamic, personable video blogger Nuseir "Nas" Yassin about his multi-year, 64-country adventure, focusing on what he's learned along the way.
Author buzz: Yassin is a Palestinian-Israeli Harvard grad who left his Manhattan tech job to start Nas Daily, a hugely popular series of 1,000 one-minute travel videos shot all over the world.
Books You May Have Missed
Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide by Tony HorwitzWhat it's about: Going from West Virginia to Texas via car, barge, mule, and more, Confederates in the Attic author Tony Horwitz traveled through a sharply divided U.S. in 2016 to retrace the eye-opening 1850s journey of reporter (and future landscape architect) Frederick Law Olmstead.
About the author: A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Horwitz died in 2019 at the age of 60. He is survived by two sons and his wife, novelist Geraldine Brooks, who won a Pulitzer Prize herself in 2006 for March.
Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country by Pam HoustonWhat it is: an evocative, lyrical essay collection that discusses life at a 120-acre Colorado Rockies homestead as well as the author's abusive childhood, self discovery, and many travels.
Reviewers say: "Always impressive, Houston is in striking form here" (Booklist); "profound and inspiring" (Kirkus Reviews).
For fans of: Cheryl Strayed's Wild, Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour of Land, or Dean Kuipers' The Deer Camp.
The Salt Path by Raynor WinnThe problems: A friend's betrayal found 50-somethings Raynor and Moth Winn kicked off the Welsh farm they'd fixed up over 20 years. That same week, Moth learned he had a terminal disease.
What happened: Homeless and at a loss, they set out to walk and wild camp along England's challenging 630-mile South West Coast Path.
Read this next: Caroline Van Hemert's The Sun Is a Compass, another inspirational memoir about a couple at a crossroads and the redemptive power of nature.
An Arabian Journey: One Man's Quest Through the Heart of the Middle East by Levison WoodWhat happened: From September 2017 through early 2018, Levison Wood circumnavigated the Arabian Peninsula, visiting 13 Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, meeting fascinating people, visiting war zones, and celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem.
For fans of: insightful, clear-eyed looks at complex places; old-fashioned adventurers.
About the author: Explorer Levison Wood is a former British Army officer and an award-winning TV presenter and bestselling travel writer.
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