Forgo the generic gift card this holiday season and instead wrap up these five new travel-inspiring books:

In Sebastião Salgado’s Genesis, more than 500 monochrome photos–of Central African volcanoes, Brazilian jaguars, and the Stone Age Korowai people of West Papua–compose what the acclaimed photographer calls his “love letter to the planet.”

The Modern Explorers, edited by Robin Hanbury-Tenison and Robert Twigger, gets the heart pumping with 39 accounts of recent adventures, from plant-hunting in the Amazon to pedaling a boat across the Pacific. The takeaway: The spirit of exploration thrives in the 21st century.

"Valley of Amazement" is Tan's seventh novel.  (Photograph courtesy Harper Collins Publishing)

“Valley of Amazement” is Tan’s seventh novel. (Photograph courtesy Harper Collins Publishing)

Amy Tan’s latest novel, The Valley of Amazement, is a multi-generational masterpiece that moves between a “first-class courtesan house” in 19th-century Shanghai to a mountain village in rural China to a San Francisco “with row houses sprouting up on just about every hill.”

The pop-up book Treasures of Venice, by Dario Cestaro and Paola Zoffoli, reproduces La Serenissima’s signature sights, including the Doge’s Palace and the Rialto Bridge.

And America’s National Parks, with paper engineering by Bruce Foster, puts pop-up versions of the Grand Canyon and the Everglades in your hands.

Don George is an editor at large at Traveler and the author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel WritingHe has also edited several award-winning travel-writing anthologies, including Better Than Fiction. Follow Don on Twitter @don_george.

Comments

  1. Tom Bourlet
    United Kingdom
    December 9, 2013, 11:33 am

    I’d add Marching Powder to that list, a great book on Bolivia!

  2. TripFiction
    Morocco
    December 14, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Amy Tan is such a good choice to bring locale to life!

    One of the top novels that we have read this is year and which really evokes location (Morocco) right down to the smallest fossil, is The Forgiven by Lawrence Osborne.