Throughout this special issue, readers of all persuasions will find material to stretch both personal boundaries and bucket-list travel aspirations. Here, I highlight three very different books that all relate to pushing against borders but take readers outside of their comfort zones in their own unique ways.
The first, Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris (Aug. 21), is anything but a standard-issue travelogue. Restless after studying at MIT and Oxford, the author set out on a yearlong bike trip along the Silk Road. Awe-inspiring and illuminating in equal measure, this is “a tale of beautiful contrasts: broken landscapes and incomparable mountain vistas, repugnant sights and smells and euphoric baklava hangovers, geographic neighbors at war and the moving hospitality of total strangers.”
For readers unprepared to tackle such a daunting challenge, I recommend a book to take you beyond your borders: Rediscovering Travel by Seth Kugel (Nov. 1). Essentially a travel guide, Travel sets itself apart by making the “case that low-budget, minimally planned travel can be more rewarding than a journey insulated from risk and serendipity.” The author spent years as the “Frugal Traveler” columnist for the New York Times, so many of his anecdotes and suggestions are unmatched in both functionality and entertainment value. Indeed, “travelers both timid and daring will find plenty of useful advice in this perceptive and provocative volume.”
Though not a book for vacationers, In Extremis by Lindsey Hilsum (Nov. 6) unquestionably pushes readers beyond their borders with its thrilling portrayal of war correspondent Marie Colvin, who was killed in an explosion in Syria in 2012. Throughout this “rip-roaring” biography, “Hilsum skillfully explains the politics, economics, ethnic hatreds, and additional context of the nations where Colvin reported, with emphases on Libya, Chechnya, Zimbabwe, Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, and Syria.”
—Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.