Mystical Places by Sarah Baxter and Illustrated by Amy Grimes
This beautiful book by travel journalist Sarah Baxter is a love story to magical, wonder-filled places. Instead of using photographs to bring the places to life, there are colourful, ethereal illustrations to depict each place, which adds to the sense of almost supernatural mystery.
As you read the book, Sarah’s passion for the mythology of places is as evident as she provides both historical facts about the origins of each place alongside the folklores and theories that make it beguiling.
Places I’ve now been inspired to add to my ever-expanding travel bucket list include: Lake Bled, Slovenia; Mount Shasta, California; Spiti Valley, India; and Cadair Idris in Snowdonia National Park, Wales.
Mystical Places by Sarah Baxter and Illustrated by Amy Grimes is published by Quarto Publishing. Available from Wordery.com for £1.91 (hardcover).
Stuff Every Cheese Lover Should Know by Alexandra Jones
If you’re a cheese lover who wants to know everything there is to know about cheese, from how it’s made to why some cheeses melt differently, then this is the book for you.
Author Alexandra is a woman after my own heart when she prefaces the book by expressing that she’s not here to judge – if you’re first experience with cheese was ‘Velveeta enveloping macaroni’, ‘Cheeto powder licked from your thumb and forefinger, or an American cheese single melted between two slices of bread’, then that’s fine. Being an American girl, whose first love of cheese was all of these things, and later discovering ‘finer’ cheeses after I moved to England and was exposed to a wealth of amazing English cheddars and fabulous French cheeses (which were very expensive and hard to come by in the small town I grew up of in the middle of the Midwest), I felt as though the book was written just for me.
There are lots of great tips on how to pick amazing cheeses from your local cheese shop or grocer, as well as how to build a festive cheese board. For those who are feeling really adventurous, there is also advice on how to make cheese at home.
The book is small, so it’s perfectly portable, making it the ideal size for popping in your handbag, should you want to reference any cheeses when you pay a visit to the cheesemonger.
Stuff Every Cheese Lover Should Know by Alexandra Jones is published by Quirk Books. Available from Blackwells.co.uk for £6.6.8 (hardcover).
Wish You Were Here by Terry Stephens
If your favourite travel books feature the most visited destinations that epitomise the usual travel bucket list of ‘go tos’, then this isn’t the book for you. But, if you like to branch out to seek places that are a bit more unique and are guaranteed to provide a memorable experience that you’ll remember for years to come, then you’ll find this book highly enjoyable.
Terry Stephens is an international tourism expert who wrote the book to help people understand each place and why we should experience them. Having established his own successful tourism consultancy, Stevens & Associates, Terry has worked on destination development and management in 60 countries. So, if anyone knows what it takes to make a great destination, it’s Terry.
So, what makes a great destination? Quite simply, it needs to provide people with a great experience, which means that the destination must be well managed to ensure it delivers an amazing experience. All of the cities that have been selected for inclusion in the book are relatively compact in size, have a clear vision, and invest in the tourism industry and the local community.
Destinations that we’ve now been inspired to visit include the Eugenian Hills in Veneto, Italy; Austin, Texas, USA; Baden-Baden, Germany; Baiersbronn, Germany; Bled, Slovenia; Flagstaff, Arizona, USA; Kitzbuhel, Austria; The Julian Alps, Slovenia; and Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Sadly, it’s going to be a while before we can jet off to any locations outside of the UK, but for now we dream.
Wish You Were Here by Terry Stephens is published by Graffeg Limited. Available from Waterstones.com for £20.00 (paperback).