Books + Reading Lists
The quirky new Wildsam Field Guide series will help put a decidedly hip spin on your next trip. There’s nary a photo; instead, you might find a personal essay by Rosanne Cash or an interview with a local letterpress printer (both in the Nashville edition). Hand-illustrated maps are organized by theme—adventure, music, history, food—and the “Bests” section is hyper-focused: one museum, one yoga studio. As creator Taylor Bruce puts it, “I don’t want three places to get a burger. I just want to know the favorite.” The Austin, Texas, edition is out this month—just in time for SXSW—to be followed soon by San Francisco, New Orleans, Seattle, and, of course, Brooklyn. $16.95 each.
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo by John Lawton
As transporting as any museum and nourishing as any local dish, these independent bookstores unlock the soul of a place.
Lello Bookshop (pictured), Porto, Portugal
The elaborate neo-Gothic façade of this former library barely hints at the opulence inside: carved wood, gilded pillars, ornamented ceilings, and a gorgeous red staircase lit by a stained-glass atrium. Its polyglot collection includes English translations of Portuguese lions Fernando Pessoa and José Saramago.
Heywood Hill, London
Creaky floorboards and stacks of new and old literature, history, gardening, and travel tomes lend the 77-year-old Mayfair landmark the air of a well-loved private library. Smartly dressed booksellers eagerly provide recommendations for patrons, who include Her Majesty the Queen.
Most 12-year-olds save their money to buy video games or remote-control helicopters. But Michael Clinton wasn't most 12-year-olds. His piggy bank funded a month-long visit to see family in Ireland—and so began his love affair with travel. Today, the president, marketing, and publishing director of Hearst Magazines has visited more than 120 countries. He's climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, camped in the mountains of Bhutan, and has plans to run a marathon on every continent (he has Africa, Asia, and Antarctica to go).
Clinton shares these experiences—and many others—in his new collection of essays, The Globetrotter Diaries (Gliteratti Inc.; $30). We asked the fanatical adventurer about what drives his desire to travel, where he's going next, and more.
Q: Travel + Leisure's editor Nancy Novogrod considers you one of the world's greatest travelers. What makes you so passionate about crisscrossing the globe?
A: Why is someone passionate about food? Or about art? Or about collecting art? When we are lucky enough to find something that fulfills us, brings us joy, or keeps us wanting more, then we need to pursue it. It is core to our individuality. Travel does that for me. What better way to discover more of yourself, by experiencing the world, its wonders and its people?
In See the World Beautiful (Glitterati; $85), photographer and frequent T+L contributor Anne Menke focuses her eagle eye on Mongolian horsemen, Sioux teenagers, and other style-rich cultures.
Photo by Malley Priebe
In Kati Marton’s candid memoir, Paris: A Love Story (Simon & Schuster), the journalist and widow of American diplomat Richard Holbrooke looks to the city for inspiration.
Q: Why did you base the book in Paris?
A: I discovered a box of letters I had written to my father when I was a young woman living there. I wanted to find that girl again, so avid for beauty and life. Richard and I spent a lot of time in Paris; it was neutral, away from Washington, D.C., and New York.
Q: You return for Christmas every year to visit your sister. Where do you stay?
A: I still have a little apartment that I love on the Rue des Écoles in the Fifth. The area hasn’t changed; it has the same bookstores and bistros.
Q: What are a few of your favorite haunts?
A: I love the Hammam de la Mosquée (39 Rue Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, Fifth Arr.), a real Turkish spa and bath. There are a few cafés I visit regularly, like Café Rostand (6 Place Edmond Rostand, Sixth Arr.; 33-1/43-54-61-58) and La Palette (43 Rue de Seine, Sixth Arr.). And, with the way the French arrange shop windows and food displays, Rue Bonaparte is still a feast for the eyes.
Photo courtesy of Kati Marton
It all started with a website, where photographer Todd Selby posted shots of his friends in their homes. Next came a project with Louis Vuitton, a spin-off book, and, most recently, a column in The New York Times T Magazine. It’s this latest development—scrapbook-y pages of playful illustrations, hand-written notes, and photographs of people in the food world—in which Selby seems to have found his calling. It even inspired his second book, Edible Selby, out this month. Here’s an inside look:
How did you end up focusing on food-related spaces? My first book, The Selby is In Your Place, did well, and I started thinking about what I wanted to do next. My passion has always been food and cooking and eating and restaurants and chefs, and I thought I could figure out a way to approach the food world in a new way.
How would you describe the book? It has a feeling of a photo book meets a cookbook, but more than anything it’s a travel guide. You can look through it and get fun ideas for places to visit.
How did you discover the places? The best stuff in the book was very much word of mouth. I talked to chef Ignacio Mattos at New York’s Il Buco Alimentari, and he knew all these people who were connected to Chez Panisse. From them I met this guy who told me about this fisherman who told me about the guy who does Japanese catering.
What was one of your favorite finds? Hartwood in Tulum. The chef ended up being on the cover. I would call this a chef’s fantasy. It was so DIY—just the him and his wife creating the ultimate chef’s table, piled high with vegetables from the jungle.
What was your most memorable meal from the road? This old man has a restaurant on a cliff in Mallorca, and he makes paella over a fire. You can only get there by boat. Actually, you can also hike down to it, but the chicer way is to take a boat. He’s had it since the 70’s. One of the people there said Halle Berry and Tom Hanks had recently visited, so it’s not a secret anymore.
What about back home in New York? I’m an investor with Mission Chinese, and I’m obsessed with the catfish soup. It has pink peppercorn, so it’s a bit numbing; I just get into this zone where I’m eating it and I’m sweating, and it’s just incredible. I also love the bakery Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn. The sad thing is I’ve seen what they put in the pies. With pastry it’s better to never know. I got the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year; if you’re not on the waiting list right now then forget it.
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure
Photo of Todd Selby courtesy Hadassa Haack
Four memoirs tell of lives informed by travel.
Ghost Milk by Iain Sinclair (Faber & Faber): The author, the foremost chronicler of contemporary London, interweaves personal reminiscences with history as he laments how corporate forces are transforming the city.
The Last Bohemia by Robert Anasi (Farrar, Straus & Giroux): This autobiographical account begins with Anasi’s arrival in the industrial wasteland that was Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 1994 and charts the area’s chaotic evolution into a hipster haven.
Diaries by George Orwell (Liveright): The first-ever U.S. edition illuminates how Orwell’s travels to North Africa and elsewhere nurtured his political conscience. Meditations on food, people, and beasts hint at the beginnings of Animal Farm.
Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson (Random House): The African-born chef behind the Harlem restaurant Red Rooster recalls cooking with his adoptive grandmother in Sweden and returning to Ethiopia to meet his birth father.
Photo by Whitney Lawson
Svelteness, style, and sex appeal: why do the French so effortlessly possess these qualities, and why can’t America get on board? Harriet Welty Rochefort knows the tricks of the French trade. A native Iowan who moved to Paris after college and married a Frenchmen, Rochefort is the author of French Fried: The Culinary Capers of an American in Paris, French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French, and the soon to be released Joie de Vivre: Secrets of Wining, Dining, and Romancing Like the French (St. Martin's Press, October 2012, $24.99).
She spoke with Travel + Leisure about not being an Ugly American, the best way to exercise in Paris, and why being a little “off” in considered sexy in Pah-ree.
Q: What advice do you give people traveling to Paris?
A: There’s three things. One, you should hang out in cafés as long as you can. Two, don't be loud, whether you’re on the street or in a restaurant. And three, get out of the Left Bank rut and try the 10th arrondissement (Canal St. Martin) or the 11th where all the savvy chefs have emigrated.
Attention summer travelers, these titles will put your extra free time—on the road, in the air, or poolside—to good use.
If you’re…Craving a Beach Read (but don’t want it to be so embarrassing that you have to hide it on an e-reader).
Read…Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (Knopf, $25.95)
Because…Forget Fifty Shades of Gray—Shipstead’s tale feels salacious enough to satisfy while still allowing you to maintain your literary standards. Shipstead, a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, chronicles a family’s retreat to a fancy New England beach town amidst their daughter’s fast-approaching wedding day. You know it’s a WASP satire when the characters names are Winn, Daphne, Livia, Greyson, and Biddy.
Fall is generally considered the beginning of the cultural season, but in April and May there’s a special tingle in the air in New York City. It could be the warmer temperatures and sunnier, longer days. But for me, the creative energy emanates from new plays and musicals opening on Broadway—the actors, musicians, designers, directors, and producers involved with them—just in time to be considered for various theater honors that culminate with the Tony Awards in June.
Much of what visitors and New Yorkers experience today in the theaters and streets around Times Square is owing to the vision, passion, know-how, and work of Gerald Schoenfeld, the legendary chairman of the Shubert Organization for more than 35 years. His recently published memoir, Mr. Broadway: The Inside Story of the Shuberts, the Shows, and the Stars (Applause Books; $27.99), finished shortly before his death in 2008, is an absorbing page-turner. For those interested in Broadway history, it provides an insider’s view to the world of the fractious Shubert dynasty and the key role it played in theater in the 20th century in New York and beyond.