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The best books of 2020: Travel

  • Written by  Geographical
  • Published in Books
The best books of 2020: Travel
07 Dec
2020
We’ve delved into the archive to select our favourite travel books of 2020. From far-flung adventures to those closer to home, these books are sure to entertain, inspire and intrigue

 

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WANDERLAND: A Search for Magic in the Landscape by Jini Reddy

‘I want to connect with the spirit of the land. I want to feel heard, cared for, led. I want signs, synchronicity, the whole deal!’ writes Reddy. Determined to wring some otherworldly magic out of the grass and rocks and rain of Britain, she searches for ‘lost’ springs in Hastings; visits a labyrinth in Cornwall and converses with modern-day pagan goddesses and the descendants of witches. – Olivia Edward 

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INTO THE TANGLED BANK: In Which our Author Ventures Outdoors to Consider the British in Nature by Lev Parikian

From the spiders in his kitchen sink and the ‘impossible balance’ of the domestic garden (‘simultaneously both with and against nature’), to his ‘patch’ of Norwood Grove and Streatham Common, Welsh bird sanctuaries and even the moon, we are surrounded by, dependent on, and significantly susceptible to nature, writes Parikian – but there is little understanding of it. Into the Tangled Bank is a layman’s guide to everyday nature, and indeed to the laypersons out and about in it. – A S H Smyth 

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DARK, SALT, CLEAR: Life in a Cornish Fishing Town by Lamorna Ash

Lamorna Ash knows she’s set herself an impossible task. That of attempting to entirely convey a place and its people on paper. But she gives it a go anyway, becoming a temporary resident of the Cornish fishing town of Newlyn and allowing its activities, atmosphere and inhabitants to break over her like a wave. Dark, Salt, Clear is so soaked through with the sea, and fishing, that its pages almost feel damp to the touch, in the same way that cotton sheets do in seaside homes. Ash is an exciting new talent. A mature voice. And a humble one. Not afraid to channel the insights of those who have gone before her – Lopez, Didion, Woolf, Thoreau. – Olivia Edward 

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THE FROZEN RIVER: Seeking Silence in the Himalaya by James Crowden

In 1976, James Crowden abandoned his career in the British Army and trekked into Ladakh, in the northern Himalaya. There, he spent a winter living among the Zangskari people, one of the most remote communities in the world. In The Frozen River, Crowden recounts his time in Zangskar, and through his eyes we glimpse a vanishing world; the nature, people and traditions little changed for hundreds of years until roads connected the area to the outside world. – Kit Gillet 

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FIFTY MILED WIDE: Cycling Through Israel and Palestine by Julian Sayarer

Julian Sayarer, most well-known for his record-breaking 18,000-mile world circumnavigation by bicycle, and his subsequent book, Life Cycles, takes to his bicycle one again to traverse the length and breadth of Israel and Palestine. In Fifty Miles Wide, Sayarer provides a humanitarian-minded foreigner’s perspective on this troubled land – a frustrating, illuminating and occasionally hopeful journey.

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