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The 16th century book that launched a thousand travel books

Travel writing has been around for about two thousand years with both the Romans and Greeks documenting their experiences of early exploration. However, the 16th century marked the real start of travel writing with advances in printing technology and numerous explorers – from Francis Drake to Martin Frobisher – traveling to the corners of the […]

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The Hobbit read as the BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast

The BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast has always fascinated me. I love the rhythm and cadence of the forecasts for each respective shipping area along with all those memorable names – Dogger, Rockall, German Bight anyone? I even don’t mind when the test match cricket commentary is interrupted by a five-minute break for the Shipping […]

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All aboard for the PBFA’s Travel & Exploration Book Fair this Sunday

This Sunday sees one of the landmark events in the PBFA calendar – the Travel and Exploration Book Fair at the Royal Geographical Society in the heart of London. This book fair is all about epic journeys, historic travel and exploration, collectable atlases and maps, and voyages to the furthest corners of the world.  It runs […]

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Off the Beaten Path Bookshops

Forget London, ignore Paris, neglect New York. Let’s go to some isolated, hard-to-find bookshops where the passion for books burns brightly. From a Welsh hillside with no neighbours for miles around to a remote peninsula in Alaska, visit some of the world’s most remote bookshops – all of whom sell on the AbeBooks marketplace. Destination […]

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How America looked to a mapmaker in 1746

This beautiful map of America is offered for sale by Peter Harrington for £1,500. It was printed in 1746 in Nuremberg and caught my eye because so much of North America is simply missing. The west coast is simply California – no Washington State or Oregon. And as for Canada – no British Columbia or […]

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BBC revisits Laurie Lee’s As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

Next week’s BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week will be Laurie Lee’s account of walking in Spain, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. The show marks the centenary of Lee’s birth on 26th June. The memoir was published in 1969 and is the sequel to Cider with Rosie. The author leaves rural Gloucestershire […]

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Village in the Jungle, Leonard Woolf’s forgotten colonial masterpiece

The BBC writes about Leonard Woolf’s forgotten Sri Lankan novel, The Village in the Jungle, saying it has been unjustly ignored. Virginia’s husband published the book in  1913 and it is notable because it is the first novel in English literature to be written from the indigenous point of view rather than that of the […]

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The finest literary locations

Put away your passport and forget about the luggage. The literary world is full of fictional locations that can all be visited with the simple turn of a page. From the outdoor life of farms and villages that are not what they seem to lonely islands and lakes full of mysteries, these books will take […]

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The vintage travel books of H.V. Morton

Last month I picked up my first H.V. Morton book, A Stranger in Spain. I had learned a little about Morton from my research for our 50 Essential Travel Books feature so a shelf of his work proved irresistible to someone who enjoys thoughtful travel writing. Flicking through the book, I knew I had to buy […]

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