AbeBooks' Reading Copy » travel http://www.abebooks.com/blog AbeBooks book blog Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:56:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The best travel books and world’s most literary city according to Patricia Schultz http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/10/21/the-best-travel-books-and-worlds-most-literary-town-according-to-patricia-schultz/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/10/21/the-best-travel-books-and-worlds-most-literary-town-according-to-patricia-schultz/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:49:42 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=21757 1000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz

We recently had the pleasure of meeting author Patricia Schultz, the woman behind the best-selling 1000 Places to See Before You Die books. We were anxious to pick her brain about the world’s most literary towns and the bookshops she’s seen along the way, and she was generous enough to indulge us.

AbeBooks: Tell us about the most interesting bookshops you’ve discovered in your travels.

Patricia Schultz: I have traveled all over the US speaking at travel shows, libraries and bookstores. I’ve found that the smaller independent bookstores so full of character - some of them owned by the same book-loving family for generations - are generally the most interesting, having had to grow, evolve and keep up with the ways and trends of the times. Those that have survived appear to be much more of a welcoming social center than the larger and more impersonal chains. It is so important to support our independent stores.

A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos OzAbe: What books are in your suitcase?

P.S.: I always bring a guidebook or three (with others left behind at home) – but for my trip to Israel in a few weeks, I will also be bringing A Tale of Love and Darkness, the autobiography written by the acclaimed novelist Amos Oz. Three different friends have told me it promises a sensitively written and profound insight to Israel, a very special destination where I last visited 15 years ago.

Abe: In your opinion, what is the most literary city in the world? Why?

P.S.: Ireland’s deep love of words go far beyond James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Yeats and Beckett – back to the Druids and Celts. Dublin is a great city all around, with a longtime love and respect for its famous story tellers and awarded literary heritage. The capital city names bridges and streets after writers, and erects statues and memorials to commemorate them. In 2010, the UN declared Dublin an official City of Literature (a credential it shares with just six others in the world: Edinburgh, Iowa City, Reykjavik, Melbourne, Norwich and Krakow)…and did I mention its dozens of literary pubs?

Our Man in Havana by Graham GreeneAbe: Who is your favorite (fellow) travel writer?

P.S.: I couldn’t possibly list one – nor all of them. Some I happened upon randomly, others because they were linked to a destination I was planning to visit. I read Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet and T. E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom before my first visit to Egypt. Patrick Leigh Fermor‘s books led me to Greece’s Mani Peninsula, while Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene stoked my curiosity about Cuba. I don’t read travel literature half as much as I would like to, as I am always up-to-here with guide books, mountains of periodicals and research that need my attention for more practical purposes – but they too are insightful and inspiring in their own way.

Abe: What inspired you to travel the world, and what inspired you to write about it?

P.S.: That curiosity with which we are all born did not diminish in me over the years. My parents – although we traveled infrequently as a family due to a very modest lifestyle – always helped to keep that curiosity alive and nourished. I always traveled as much as I could, beginning with three experience-packed years after college when I lived in Florence. I never really fancied myself a writer – I had never studied writing or journalism and I read a lot (mostly to keep alive the second and third languages I studied in school) but not voraciously. My first writing assignment came to me by chance – and that’s when the light bulb went off. What if I could make a living off of my wanderlust? Beginner’s luck was good to me and kept reality at bay. It isn’t an easy (nor lucrative – at all!) career choice, but I was enjoying it too much to reconsider during those first (very) lean years.


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A Literary Tourist’s Search for the Books of Gregynog Press http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/11/21/a-literary-tourists-search-for-the-books-of-gregynog-press/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/11/21/a-literary-tourists-search-for-the-books-of-gregynog-press/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 19:52:11 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=20187 The Literary Tourist

Writer, broadcaster, bibliophile, and globetrotting literary journalist Nigel Beale recently paid a visit to Wales in search of all things literary, including the elusive works of Greynog Press.   Read about this bookish exploration and many more on his aptly named and entertaining blog, Literary Tourist.  It certainly has us packing our bags.

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The best travel book I’ve read recently http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/09/06/the-best-travel-book-ive-read-recently/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/09/06/the-best-travel-book-ive-read-recently/#comments Fri, 06 Sep 2013 16:40:55 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19577 Travel writing is one of the genres that I dip in and out of. On Saturday, I visited Black Sheep Books on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia and picked up a copy of Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman from the store’s rather good travel section.

Salzman’s book is recommended by Paul Theroux in his compendium of travel writing called The Tao of Travel. Iron and Silk is about China in the early 1980s. Salzman spends two years in China, teaching English at a medical school in Changsha – a city in the Hunan Province where westerners are rarely seen.  For instance, he becomes friends with fishermen who have never seen a white man before. He actually writes very little about the teaching and more about his learnings through the people he meets, especially all the martial arts teachers that he encounters during his two-year stint in communist China. The book is very, very readable and I had finished it by Monday, which is rare for me as I’m a slow reader.

Salzman never judges even though he is placed in difficult situations time again by crazy red tape or a city that seemingly runs on a shoe-string.

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Bookstores of New York http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/04/26/bookstores-of-new-york/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/04/26/bookstores-of-new-york/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 15:55:24 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19065 Last week I was in New York. The purpose of the visit was to attend two antiquarian book fairs, but I always try to make time to visit booksellers in their stores. Nothing can replace the touch and feel of a beautiful book and talking to someone that is passionate about what they do.

Walking into an antiquarian bookshop is a bit like opening a treasure chest; you never know what you are going to find and there are always hidden gems. I love knowing that I can walk into these stores and find something that I know has had a long and interesting life and belonged to people that cared enough to preserve and share them.


One of the shops I visited was Argosy Books in midtown Manhattan. Argosy Books was founded in 1925 and is now in its third generation of family ownership. There are books on the shelves, books in stacks and piled on tables. All combined with great lighting and small pops of colour from flowers placed throughout the store to make you feel instantly comfortable and welcome.

Argosy specializes in Americana, modern first editions, autographs, art, maps & prints and books about the history of science and medicine. If those aren’t up your alley, you will also find many other books in a wide variety of topics and with a wide variety of prices. If you have the time and you’re in New York, Argosy is definitely a store you should visit.

Another shop I visited was the Complete Traveller Antiquarian Bookstore on Madison Avenue. This store evolved from The Complete Traveller Bookstore which was the first travel bookstore in the US. As the name states, this shop specializes in collectible travel literature and has one of the best collections of authentic Baedeker travel guides. Baedekers are considered to be the first modern travel guides and can be easily identified by their distinct red cover. The books were treasured for their detailed historic accounts and the many fold out maps they contain.


This is a unique and specialized shop and definitely worth a visit if you love travel, history and culture.

No visit to New York is complete for me until I visit The Strand. Strand never disappoints and I always walk away with at least one, well really several books. This time I came home with something for my children, but I love it too: This is New York by Miroslav Sasek. We love these books in my house and have many others in the This Is…. series.

Most people know that Strand is a great place to go for affordable books, but it also has a fantastic Rare Book Room. Hop in the elevator and go up to the 3rd floor, and you’ll walk into a room filled with lovely old books, many of which can be found on AbeBooks.

Strand also has many affordable and collectible signed first editions. The day of my visit, they were getting ready for a book signing and talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz, discussing his newest book This is How You Lose Her.


Bookstores in New York offer a slice of history and small pieces of beauty that will draw you in and make you love books even more.

Guest post compliments of Maria Hutchison, AbeBooks Account Manager for our rare and collectible segment.

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Winnie-the-Pooh and Other Animals at the New York Public Library http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/04/24/winnie-the-pooh-and-other-animals-at-the-new-york-public-library/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/04/24/winnie-the-pooh-and-other-animals-at-the-new-york-public-library/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 15:50:02 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19041 Stone Lion Lego Lion

Last week I was in New York for the ABAA New York Antiquarian Book Fair and also the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Show. As always, New York offered amazing bookstores and a buzzing city.

I had some spare time, and in keeping with the book theme, decided to visit the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. For me, this building is the very best of what a library can be; beautiful architecture, unique books and a great children’s book collection.

Walking down Fifth Avenue, my first glimpse of the library was the iconic lions (top left), Patience and Fortitude. The library lions are instantly recognizable and mark the library as a special place. On this visit, there were two Lego replicas of the beloved lions (top right) inside the building – definitely worth a look for Lego lovers!

The NYPL is the second largest library in the US and the third largest in the world, with at least 53 million items. The building was designed by John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings between 1897 and 1911 and is stunning example of Beaux-Arts design. At the time of construction, the library was the largest marble structure ever built in the US.

In a corner of the children’s library I discovered an exhibit of the real Winnie the Pooh animals: Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Tigger and Pooh. The animals belonged to Christopher Milne, son of the author, A.A. Milne and the books were donated to the New York Public Library in 1987 by the publisher of the Pooh books (aside: if you don’t know the origins of Winnie the Pooh, they are fascinating).

When you look at these animals you can see they were well loved, with worn patches and bits of fur missing, this makes them that much more endearing . Knowing that the stories were based on treasured and well-loved toys makes them even better to read, I can’t wait to rediscover these tales with my daughters.

The real animals of Winnie-the-Pooh: Piglet

The real animals of Winnie-the-Pooh: Piglet

Guest post compliments of Maria Hutchison, AbeBooks Account Manager for our rare and collectible segment.

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Miroslav Sasek: This is Art http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/09/06/miroslav-sasek-this-is-art/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/09/06/miroslav-sasek-this-is-art/#comments Thu, 06 Sep 2012 17:48:08 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=17315 Miroslav Sasek , who often published as M. Sasek, was a 20th-century Czech author and illustrator, best known for his This Is… series of children’s books. The series showed the sights, sounds and history of various regions of the world through the use of vibrant, colorful drawing and engaging, relatable writing.

Published from 1959-1974, several of the original books are highly collectible, and demand was so high that many titles have enjoyed recent reprinting. Perfect for collecting, displaying, and enjoying – at surprisingly affordable prices.

More on Miroslav

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The American Guide Series http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/14/the-american-guide-series/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/14/the-american-guide-series/#comments Mon, 14 May 2012 20:58:26 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=16204 The American Guide Series is a collection of books, magazines and pamphlets published between 1937 and 1941. Meant to educate and attract, the series was put together by The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) which provided government funding towards writing and publishing initiatives during the Great Depression. Each publication in the American Guide Series included background history, information, attractions, and photographs. They were published by the individual states – no Hawaii or Alaska, as neither was officially a state until 1959 – and were also created for several cities, states, territories and regions, as well. Nowadays they are highly collectible as memorabilia of the era and pieces of history, and for their often-striking covers.

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15 Charming Vintage Airline Posters http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/04/27/15-charming-vintage-airline-posters/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/04/27/15-charming-vintage-airline-posters/#comments Fri, 27 Apr 2012 18:05:43 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=15975 I love coming across treasure troves of new beautiful books and ephemera to look at. Today’s favorite find so far are vintage travel posters. We have dozens and dozens of beautiful, old vintage airline posters, many on linen, many lithograph, from all over the world. They come from various airlines as well – Air France, Qantas, Pan Am, United Airlines and many more. These ones are all on offer from the same bookseller – oldimprints.com.

I’d love to have some of these preserved and framed – they would look fabulous as a series in a home. And there’s some great nostalgia value as well, for those who were in the airline industry. Both my parents were – my father worked for Pan Am, my mother for American Airlines (she’s been to Hawaii nearly 40 times!), and they both talk very fondly about the way air travel used to be. Enjoy this gorgeous art from a time when air travel was a luxury and a treat.

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A video tour of the AbeBooks office http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/03/28/a-video-tour-of-the-abebooks-office/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/03/28/a-video-tour-of-the-abebooks-office/#comments Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:15:56 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=15579

Ever wondered what the AbeBooks HQ looks like? Probably not, but here’s a video tour of our office in Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island, in Canada for anyone who is interested. As I sit here writing this blog post, I can see float planes taking off, ships and yachts going past, and the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. (There’s also a big supermarket but I’m not going to talk about that.) It’s a lovely place to work. However this video isn’t just views – you even get a glimpse inside the ‘bunker’ – a temperature-controlled, earthquake-proof room that contains an awful lot of servers. You will see where we work and play.

AbeBooks was founded in 1996 and we’ve had various offices over the years. We moved into this one, on the top floor of a glass-sided building, in 2008. Anyone interested in working for AbeBooks should visit our careers section.

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On The Road trailer http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/03/19/on-the-road-trailer/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/03/19/on-the-road-trailer/#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2012 16:01:53 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=15499

Here’s the trailer for the On The Road movie. Take a look at the lovely Kristen Stewart and her crazy ‘hepcat’ dancing. I thought Jack Kerouac’s book would always make an awful film but perhaps I am wrong.

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