Block of Books
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  • LOST CONTINENT : Travels in Small-Town America
    LOST CONTINENT : Travels in Small-Town America
    BRYSON BILL
    ISBN: 9781784161804
    Title: LOST CONTINENT : Travels in Small-Town America
    Author: BRYSON BILL
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    ‘I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to’

    And, as soon as Bill Bryson was old enough, he left. Des Moines couldn’t hold him, but it did lure him back. After ten years in England, he returned to the land of his youth, and drove almost 14,000 miles in search of a mythical small town called Amalgam, the kind of trim and sunny place where the films of his youth were set. Instead, his search led him to Anywhere, USA; a lookalike strip of gas stations, motels and hamburger outlets populated by lookalike people with a penchant for synthetic fibres. He discovered a continent that was doubly lost; lost to itself because blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a stranger in his own land.

    Bryson’s acclaimed first success, The Lost Continent is a classic of travel literature – hilariously, stomach-achingly, funny, yet tinged with heartache – and the book that first staked Bill Bryson’s claim as the most beloved writer of his generation.

    Imprint: Black Swan
    RRP: $24.99

    Price: $24.99
  • LOST JAPAN
    LOST JAPAN
    KERR ALEX
    ISBN: 9780141979748
    Title: LOST JAPAN
    Author: KERR ALEX
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Once Japan was a place of primeval forest and pristine mountains. In recent decades, this ancient world has almost been destroyed. Alex Kerr's evocative, prize-winning Lost Japan ranges over Kabuki theatre, tea ceremonies, art, landscape, financial bubbles and his own childhood in Japan to explore a vanishing culture.

    'Alex Kerr's book carries a powerful message applicable to all cultures. He is on a life-long quest for beauty.' Issey Miyake

    'This deeply personal witness to Japan's wilful loss of its traditional culture is at the same time an immensely valuable evaluation of just what that culture was.' Donald Richie, author of The Japanese Film

    'Alex Kerr loves Japan as much as anyone, but he knows more about it than most.' Stephen Hesse, Japan Times



    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $24.99
    Price: $24.99
  • LOST PIANOS OF SIBERIA
    LOST PIANOS OF SIBERIA
    ROBERTS SOPHY
    ISBN: 9780857524959
    Title: LOST PIANOS OF SIBERIA
    Author: ROBERTS SOPHY
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Siberia's story is traditionally one of exiles, penal colonies and unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell.

    Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos - grand instruments created during the boom years of the Nineteenth Century, and humble, Soviet-made uprights that found their way into equally modest homes. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood.

    How these pianos travelled into this snow-bound wilderness in the first place is testament to noble acts of fortitude by governors, adventurers and exiles. That stately instruments might still exist in such a hostile landscape is remarkable. That they are still capable of making music in far-flung villages is nothing less than a miracle.

    But this is Siberia, where people can endure the worst of the world - and where music reveals a deep humanity in the last place on earth you would expect to find it.

    Imprint: Doubleday Publishers
    RRP: $32.99

    Price: $32.99
  • MADE IN AMERICA
    MADE IN AMERICA
    BRYSON BILL
    ISBN: 9781784161866
    Title: MADE IN AMERICA
    Author: BRYSON BILL
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Funny, wise, learned and compulsive' - GQ Bill Bryson turns away from travelling the highways and byways of middle America, so hilariously depicted in his bestselling The Lost Continent, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid and Notes from a Big Country, for a fast, exhilarating ride along the Route 66 of American language and popular culture.

    In Made in America, Bryson tells the story of how American arose out of the English language, and along the way, de-mythologizes his native land - explaining how a dusty desert hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say lootenant' and Toosday', how they were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up - as well as exposing the true origins of the words G-string, blockbuster, poker and snafu. A tremendously sassy work, full of zip, pizzazz and all those other great American qualities' Will Self, Independent on Sunday

    Imprint: Black Swan
    RRP: $24.99

    Price: $24.99
  • MAGDALENA : River of Dreams
    MAGDALENA : River of Dreams
    DAVIS WADE
    ISBN: 9781847926111
    Title: MAGDALENA : River of Dreams
    Author: DAVIS WADE
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    A captivating new book from Wade Davis - winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Into the Silence - that brings vividly to life the story of the great Rio Magdalena, illuminating Colombia's complex past, present, and future.

    Travellers often become enchanted with the first country that captures their hearts and gives them license to be free. For Wade Davis, it was Colombia. Now in a masterful new book, the bestselling author tells of his travels on the mighty Magdalena, the river that made possible the nation. Along the way, he finds a people who have overcome years of conflict precisely because of their character, informed by an enduring spirit of place, and a deep love of a land that is home to the greatest ecological and geographical diversity on the planet. Only in Colombia can a traveller wash ashore in a coastal desert, follow waterways through wetlands as wide as the sky, ascend narrow tracks through dense tropical forests, and reach verdant Andean valleys rising to soaring ice-clad summits. This wild and impossible geography finds its perfect coefficient in the topography of the Colombian spirit- restive, potent, at times placid and calm, in moments tortured and twisted.

    Both a corridor of commerce and a fountain of culture, the wellspring of Colombian music, literature, poetry and prayer, the Magdalena has served in dark times as the graveyard of the nation. And yet, always, it returns as a river of life. At once an absorbing adventure and an inspiring tale of hope and redemption, Magdalena gives us a rare, kaleidoscopic picture of a nation on the verge of a new period of peace. Braiding together memoir, history, and journalism, Wade Davis tells the story of the country's most magnificent river, and in doing so, tells the epic story of Colombia.

    Imprint: Bodley Head
    RRP: $35.00

    Price: $35.00
  • MARCHES
    MARCHES
    STEWART RORY
    ISBN: 9780099581895
    Title: MARCHES
    Author: STEWART RORY
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    His father Brian taught Rory Stewart how to walk, and walked with him on journeys from Iran to Malaysia. Now they have chosen to do their final walk together along 'the Marches' - the frontier that divides their two countries, Scotland and England. This book is about their experiences and a chronicle of contemporary Britain.

    Imprint: Vintage
    RRP: $19.99

    Price: $19.99
  • MEANING OF RICE : And Other Tales from the Belly of Japan
    MEANING OF RICE : And Other Tales from the Belly of Japan
    BOOTH MICHAEL
    ISBN: 9781784704230
    Title: MEANING OF RICE : And Other Tales from the Belly of Japan
    Author: BOOTH MICHAEL
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    **Shortlisted for the 2017 Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Awards****Shortlisted for the 2018 Fortnum & Mason Food Book Award**'The next Bill Bryson.' New York TimesFood and travel writer Michael Booth and his family embark on an epic journey the length of Japan to explore its dazzling food culture. They find a country much altered since their previous visit ten years earlier (which resulted in the award-winning international bestseller Sushi and Beyond). Over the last decade the country's restaurants have won a record number of Michelin stars and its cuisine was awarded United Nations heritage status. The world's top chefs now flock to learn more about the extraordinary dedication of Japan's food artisans, while the country's fast foods - ramen, sushi and yakitori - have conquered the world. As well as the plaudits, Japan is also facing enormous challenges. Ironically, as Booth discovers, the future of Japan's culinary heritage is under threat.Often venturing far off the beaten track, the author and his family discover intriguing future food trends and meet a fascinating cast of food heroes, from a couple lavishing love on rotten fish, to a chef who literally sacrificed a limb in pursuit of the ultimate bowl of ramen, and a farmer who has dedicated his life to growing the finest rice in the world... in the shadow of Fukushima.

    Imprint: Vintage
    RRP: $22.99

    Price: $22.99
  • MICROCOSMS
    MICROCOSMS
    MAGRIS CLAUDIO
    ISBN: 9781784871307
    Title: MICROCOSMS
    Author: MAGRIS CLAUDIO
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    In the tiny borderlands of Istria and Italy, from the forests of Monte Nevoso, to the hidden valleys of the Tyrol, to a Trieste cafe, this book pieces together a mosaic of stories - comic, tragic, picaresque, nostalgic - from life's minor characters.

    Imprint: Vintage Classics
    RRP: $19.99

    Price: $19.99
  • MONTMARTRE : Paris's Village of Art and Sin
    MONTMARTRE : Paris's Village of Art and Sin
    BAXTER JOHN
    ISBN: 9780062431899
    Title: MONTMARTRE : Paris's Village of Art and Sin
    Author: BAXTER JOHN
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    In the second portrait of his series Great Parisian Neighborhoods, award-winning raconteur John Baxter leads us on a whirlwind tour of Montmartre, the hill-top village that fired the greatest achievements of modern art while also provoking bloody revolution and the sexual misbehavior that made Paris synonymous with sin

    High on the northern edge of Paris, Montmartre has always attracted bohemians, political radicals, the searchers for artistic inspiration as well as those hungry for pleasure. In its winding, windmill-shadowed streets, which, only fifty years before, saw the anarchist rising of the Commune, Renoir, Picasso and van Gogh seized a similar freedom to remake painting, while, in the tenderloin of Pigalle, Toulouse-Lautrec drew the cancan dancers of the Moulin Rouge, celebrating a hedonism that titillated the world,

    In Montmartre, bestselling author and IACP Award winner John Baxter lifts the curtain on a district that visitors to Paris seldom see. From the tumbledown workshops of the Bateau Lavoir in which Picasso and Braque created Cubism to Clichy's Cabaret of Nothingness where guests dined at coffins under lamps of human bones, the whole of this mysterious enclave is ours to explore.

    For visitors and armchair travelers alike, Montmartre captures the excitement and scandal of a fascinating quarter that condenses the elusive perfumes, colors and songs of Paris.

    Imprint: HARPER COLLINS
    RRP: $22.99

    Price: $22.99
  • MONTPARNASSE : Paris's District of Memory and Desire
    MONTPARNASSE : Paris's District of Memory and Desire
    BAXTER JOHN
    ISBN: 9780062679048
    Title: MONTPARNASSE : Paris's District of Memory and Desire
    Author: BAXTER JOHN
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    In the third portrait of his series Great Parisian Neighborhoods, award-winning raconteur John Baxter takes readers on a dazzling excursion of Montparnasse.

    By the IACP Award-winning author of the national bestseller The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, MONTPARNASSE reveals the history and present delights of the iconic neighborhood that is best associated with the vibrant 1920-30s-era Paris-a romantic time and place evoked in Hemingway's memoir A Moveable Feast and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. From the first meeting of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald to their friendship's bitter conclusion; from the courage of the anti-Nazi resistance to the clubs where German generals partied; from the attempted murder of Samuel Beckett to the rise of Josephine Baker to stardom; from the high life of the Coupole and the Cafe du Dôme to the bawdy music halls of rue de la Gaité; no Paris quarter has witnessed more tumultuous events than Montparnasse.

    In a ground-breaking reappraisal of this most glamorous of Paris's districts, Baxter looks beyond the nostalgia to the secret history of Montparnasse, a district where desire effaced memory and every taste could be satisfied-even those which were unexpressed. If, as Oscar Wilde suggested, all good Americans went to Paris when they died, it was Montparnasse that brought them back to life.

    Imprint: HARPER COLLINS
    RRP: $22.99

    Price: $22.99
  • MOST BEAUTIFUL WALK IN THE WORLD : A PEDESTRIAN IN PARIS
    MOST BEAUTIFUL WALK IN THE WORLD : A PEDESTRIAN IN PARIS
    BAXTER JOHN
    ISBN: 9780061998546
    Title: MOST BEAUTIFUL WALK IN THE WORLD : A PEDESTRIAN IN PARIS
    Author: BAXTER JOHN
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Walking is the best way to experience the romance, history, and off-the-beaten-path pleasures of Paris (and life itself, perhaps). In that spirit, the author of the popular IMMOVEABLE FEAST: A PARIS CHRISTMAS, reveals the most beautiful walks through Paris, including the favorite routes of the many brilliant artists and writers who have called the city home. Paris, by history and design, is a walker's city. Plenty of guide books exist to explain where you are, but there are none on how best to get there on foot or what to look at while you walk. Not to mention the fact that some of the most interesting parts of the city are located on side streets and back alleys, far from the traditional tourist destinations. John Baxter's THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WALK IN THE WORLD is an unforgettably charming little book about Paris as a city where the act of walking has been raised to the level of art. It's also a unique and fascinating history of the city, as each walk tells a different side of the City of Lights. The narrative begins when, advised by his doctor to take more exercise, Baxter accepts an invitation from the director of the Paris Writers Workshop to give literary walks to visiting writers and students. As he plans these tours and makes a few trial attempts - some successful, some comically disastrous - he picks the brain of his friends and colleagues on what they regard as their 'most beautiful walk'. One tells him how she strolls along the edge of the Seine, under Pont Neuf, to the tiny triangular park at the point of the Ile de la Cite, where the Templars were burned. A famous chef walks Baxter through the professional cooks' favourite but little-known market at Place d'Aligre, overflowing with the best ingredients. Baxter also searches the work of earlier expatriate artists for their beautiful walks: Hemingway followed a particular route when he walked from Place de la Contrescarpe to visit Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare and Company bookshop. Gertrude Stein took the same constitutional each day, strolling down Rue de Fleurus to the seldom-visited Little Luxembourg Gardens. And of course Baxter discloses his own most beautiful walk.

    Imprint: Harper Collins
    RRP: $19.99

    Price: $19.99
  • MOUNTAINS OF THE MIND : A History Of A Fascination
    MOUNTAINS OF THE MIND : A History Of A Fascination
    MACFARLANE ROBERT
    ISBN: 9781783784509
    Title: MOUNTAINS OF THE MIND : A History Of A Fascination
    Author: MACFARLANE ROBERT
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    A new cover edition of this bestselling classic of nature writing.

    WINNER OF THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD

    Once we thought monsters lived there. In the Enlightenment we scaled them to commune with the sublime. Soon, we were racing to conquer their summits in the name of national pride.

    In this ground-breaking, classic work, Robert Macfarlane takes us up into the mountains: to experience their shattering beauty, the fear and risk of adventure, and to explore the strange impulses that have for centuries lead us to the world's highest places.

    Imprint: GRANTA
    RRP: $24.99

    Price: $24.99
  • MUD AND STARS : Travels in Russia with Pushkin and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age
    MUD AND STARS : Travels in Russia with Pushkin and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age
    WHEELER SARA
    ISBN: 9780224098021
    Title: MUD AND STARS : Travels in Russia with Pushkin and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age
    Author: WHEELER SARA
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    To write this book award-winning writer Sara Wheeler travelled across eight time zones in Russia, from rinsed north-western beetroot fields and far-eastern Arctic tundra where Chukchi still hunt walrus to the cauldron of ethnic soup that is the Caucasus. Her guides were the writers of the Golden Age, Pushkin to Tolstoy via Gogol and Turgenev (broadly, the period between 1800 and 1910).

    Mostly, on her travels, she used homestays, spending many months in fourth-floor 1950s apartments with windowless bathrooms, sprawled on sofas with her hosts, watching television, her new friends bent over devices and moaning about Ukraine. She wrote Mud and Stars at a time of deteriorating relations between the West and Russia. Nationalism has besieged the country. People she stayed with or met on trains had no illusions about the kleptocracy under which they lived, but as they watched flickering images of Putin bending a piece of metal with his bare hands, the reprise was always, 'Yes, he's a monster. But he's our monster.'

    In these pages Wheeler searches for a Russia not in the news - a Russia of common humanity and daily struggles. Her aim is to show how the writers of the Golden Age represent their country, then and now. In doing so she resolved to give the 'ordinary' people of Russia - a country that occupies one sixth of the earth's land surface - a voice. Wheeler followed nineteenth-century footsteps in order to make connections between then and now, between the places where flashing-epauletted Lermontov died in the aromatic air of Pyatigorsk and sheaves of corn still stand like soldiers on a blazing afternoon, just like they do in Gogol's stories. On the Trans-Siberian in winter she crunched across snowy platforms to buy dried fish from babushki, and in summer sailed the Black Sea where dolphins leapt in front of violet Abkhazian peaks. There is a Russian literal landscape, and its emotional counterpart. Mud and Stars explores both.

    Imprint: Random House Publishing
    RRP: $35.00

    Price: $35.00
  • MUDLARKING : Lost and Found on the River Thames
    MUDLARKING : Lost and Found on the River Thames
    MAIKLEM LARA
    ISBN: 9781408889237
    Title: MUDLARKING : Lost and Found on the River Thames
    Author: MAIKLEM LARA
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: July 2020 New Release

    'Fascinating. Mudlarks are river scavengers, but Lara Maiklem is more like a time traveller' Guardian
    Mudlark (/'mAdla;k/) noun A person who scavenges for usable debris in the mud of a river or harbour

    Lara Maiklem has scoured the banks of the Thames for nearly twenty years, in pursuit of the objects the river unearths- from Neolithic flints to Roman hairpins, medieval buckles to Tudor buttons, Georgian clay pipes to Victorian toys. What began as a search for solitude came to reveal the story of a city, its people and their lost ways of life.
    *The No. 2 Sunday Times bestseller and the BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, now with full colour images*
    'Enchanting . . . I am quite tempted to join Maiklem on the riverbed looking for treasure' Sunday Times

    'No one has looked at these odd corners since Sherlock Holmes' Sunday Telegraph

    'A quirky and delightful read, wonderfully evocative of London's gloopy, ghost-haunted river' Daily Mail

    'Reveals to us the fascinating and poignant micro-world of London's history' Hallie Rubenhold, Baillie Gifford Prize-winning author of The Five

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing
    RRP: $22.99
    Price: $22.99
  • NEITHER HERE NOR THERE : Travels in Europe
    NEITHER HERE NOR THERE : Travels in Europe
    BRYSON BILL
    ISBN: 9781784161828
    Title: NEITHER HERE NOR THERE : Travels in Europe
    Author: BRYSON BILL
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Bill Bryson’s first travel book, The Lost Continent, was unanimously acclaimed as one of the funniest books in years. In Neither Here nor There he brings his unique brand of humour to bear on Europe as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet, and journeys from Hammerfest, the northernmost town on the continent, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia. Fluent in, oh, at least one language, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before.

    Whether braving the homicidal motorists of Paris, being robbed by gypsies in Florence, attempting not to order tripe and eyeballs in a German restaurant or window-shopping in the sex shops of the Reeperbahn, Bryson takes in the sights, dissects the culture and illuminates each place and person with his hilariously caustic observations. He even goes to Liechtenstein.

    Imprint: Black Swan
    RRP: $24.99

    Price: $24.99
  • NEW MAP FRANCE : Unforgettable Experiences for the Discerning Traveller
    NEW MAP FRANCE : Unforgettable Experiences for the Discerning Traveller
    YPMA HERBERT
    ISBN: 9780500294956
    Title: NEW MAP FRANCE : Unforgettable Experiences for the Discerning Traveller
    Author: YPMA HERBERT
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Following New Map Italy, the second book in Herbert Ypma's series is the ultimate visual guide to to the finest hotels and experiences France has to offer.

    Today's discerning traveller is looking not merely for luxury but for a unique experience. But in this age of low-cost flights and easy travel, how do you avoid the crowds and find the hidden gems? Not via sponsored search results or thousands of indistinguishable reviews, that's for sure. What you need is on-the-ground, in-person, tried-and-trusted knowledge.

    In this new guide to France - the most visited country on the planet - Herbert Ypma surprises and delights with his unequalled eye for detail and his unerring ability to judge what makes the difference between a good experience and a truly memorable one. The numerous experiences and tips that he maps out across the length and breadth of France fall into four key categories. 'Staying in Character' presents thirtyfive places to stay, from the grand to the eccentric, all embodying the soul and character of their setting - whether it's bedding down in a surf shack at Soulac-surMer or soaking up centuries of history at the luxurious Château de Canisy. 'Eclectic Experiences' offers thirty stand-out experiences, from climbing the Dune de Pyla to salsa-dancing in a calanque (a fjord-like inlet); 'Legend for Lunch' points you in the direction of twenty of the most authentic places to eat, while 'Convincing Context' presents ten experiences enhanced by nuggets of history.

    Together they amount to a new map of authentic French experiences, making this the must-have 21st-century guide for the world's most exacting traveller.

    Imprint: Thames & Hudson Publishing
    RRP: $59.99

    Price: $59.99
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