August 2012 books round-up: travel
Travel books from Dom Joly, Tom Feiling, Guy Delisle, Cathy Birchall & Bernard Smith and Dan Smith
In Trigger Happy TV, Dom Joly filmed people dressing up as animals and upsetting or confusing the public at large. Whether this has any link whatsoever to his new book is wholly unclear. Scary Monsters and Super Creeps (Simon & Schuster) is not the umpteenth book about Bowie this year, it’s the story of Joly’s search for the world’s most terrifying mythical creature. So, he heads off to northern California to track down Sasquatch, attends a yeti expedition in Bhutan and lurches around the forests of Japan with the vain hope of spotting some kind-of Godzilla-type beast. It’s just as well he doesn’t take himself seriously.
A little more arch is Tom Feiling’s Short Walks from Bogotá (Allen Lane) in which the acclaimed journalist and author of The Candy Machine strolls down paths in Colombia that that were previously far too dangerous to be seen in as he attempts to paint a more positive picture of the country once dubbed a ‘narcostate’. Guy Delisle also walks around some potentially tricky zones for Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City (Jonathan Cape) as he documents the lives of Christians, Jews and Muslims, all of whom consider the city as theirs and theirs alone.
Cathy Birchall tells her moving story in Touching the World (Panther) as she recounts being the first blind woman ever to navigate the globe, alongside companion and co-author Bernard Smith. Inspiring in a rather different way is 100 Places You Will Never Visit (Quercus) as Dan Smith counts down the impossible-to-see nooks and crannies such as Three Mile Island, the Vatican Archives, Fort Knox and the Tora Bora caves in Afghanistan. Some of you might view this as a direct challenge. In which case, good luck.