English journalist Vanessa Able drove a Tata Nano, the cheapest car in the world, some 6,200 miles around India from February to May 2010, and writes about it in her sometimes hilarious, sometimes nail-biting memoir Never Mind the Bullocks.
Also a bit nerve-racking: Korean-American writer Suki Kim’s Without You, There Is No Us, a unique perspective on life in North Korea, where she taught for six months in 2011 within the locked compound that is the elite Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Kim reveals the conditioning that shapes the Hermit Kingdom’s future leaders—and the cracks that occasionally open in their cloistered worldviews.
Cairo grabs the tourist spotlight in Egypt but Alexandria was the site of the ancient world’s most famous library and lighthouse. An Alexandria Anthology, compiled by historian Michael Haag, depicts the evolution of this more than 2,300-year-old city.
In his brilliant Berlin: Imagine a City, Rory MacLean writes, “Berlin is a city that is forever in the process of becoming, never being.” MacLean presents the stories of 23 seminal characters, from Bertolt Brecht to David Bowie, crafting a human portrait of this capital that marks 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall this month.
Don George is an editor at large at Traveler magazine (this article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue) and the author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing. Follow Don on Twitter @don_george.
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- Nat Geo Expeditions