Autumn brings a full shelf of vibrant guidebooks, coffee-table portfolios, and essay collections to satisfy both armchair travelers and road warriors.
—H. Scott Jolley

On Tour with Renzo Piano (Phaidon, $29.95) is a master class in 21st-century design, as the acclaimed architect goes behind the scaffolding of his inventive structures—including the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Rome Auditorium, three metal-clad "music boxes" in the heart of the Eternal City.

From the ribbons of blue in Antarctic ice floes to the kaleidoscope of colors on an Istanbul newsstand, the images in Wanderlust: A Personal Journey (Glitterati, $50) culled from countless trips around the globe, richly illustrate photographer Michael Clinton's passion for travel.

The Verystyleguides (Uscha Pohl, $7 each) are jam-packed with in-the-know listings for shops, food, beauty, and nightlife in fashion-forward destinations such as London, Paris, New York, and Berlin. Guides for Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo hit stores next spring.

In The Genius of Language (Pantheon, $23), 15 bilingual writers—Amy Tan (Chinese), Luc Santé (French), Gary Shteyngart (Russian), Ariel Dorfman (Spanish)—detail their experiences learning both American English and their own mother tongue.