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5 travel books to get you inspired for summer


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If, like me, you're a bit of a square and enjoy reading about travel almost as much as doing the travelling itself, then boy do I have a treat for you.

The smell of a new book, the intricate lines and details of a well-illustrated map, and the satisfaction of travelling to unknown lands armoured with a shield of knowledge: these are the little things that really make the adventure worth it. 

So before you fall headfirst into a spiral of "but where do I start?!" and end up Google-mapping and Trip-advisor-ing your way through your weekend city break, crack open one of these travel books for insights, cultural tidbits, directions and just a damn good story for the plane journey. 

The Bells of Old Tokyo by Anna Sherman // Image courtesy of Stanfords

1. Arabia: A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East by Levison Wood

Stanfords book seller's biggest hit of this year so far is Levison Wood's circumnavigation of the Arabian Peninsula. His words take us on a journey through some of the harshest and most beautiful environments in the world, as he challenges our perceptions of a sorely misunderstood part of the world. Consume this one in a couple of sittings, and open your eyes to the magic of the Middle East through Levison's complex, daring and stunning stories.

2. European Rail Timetable

Despite rail fares in the UK climbing faster than ever before, rail travel has boomed as an economic and affordable alternative to flying, particularly within Europe. Brought together in a collection of concise rail and shipping services throughout Europe, the timetable book covers main towns and all major inter-city services, providing you with a handy go-to trip essential for wherever you end up on our beautiful continent. 

3. Bells of Old Tokyo: Travels in Japanese Time by Anna Sherman

Japan's unique, intriguing culture was closed to outside eyes for over 300 years. During its isolation, the only way for Tokyo's inhabitants to know the time was its public bells (earlier calls the bells of Edo). Sherman retells her tales of searching for these ancient bells and building friendships along the way - the most important one with Japan itself. Through stunning architecture and historical figures, Sherman tells the twisted and terrific tales of Japan's capital; its past, present and future. 

4. Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall

Ever wondered why Putin has taken the actions he has to seize power in Russia? Ever Googled why countries are divided up and called different names in the way that they are? 'Prisoners of Geography' is a collection of ten maps that tells you everything you need to know about global politics before you set out on your next adventure. Get some knowledge before you get some culture.

5. Welcome to Unspoilt Puglia by Eric & Lu Van Wesenbeek

Puglia is a stunning, relatively untouched part of Italy with an enigmatic soul. Beyond the imposing cathedral walls, fairy-tale trullo houses, winding and art-drenched Baroque streets and ancient Greek and Roman ruins, there are warm human beings and damn good cuisine. The Wesenbeek's book takes you on a personal, illustrated tale packed full of historical and tourist information; the perfect guide to arm yourself with before setting off in search of chic solitude. 

Find all these books at Stanfords and kickstart your dream trip now.

Lead Image Credit: Peenstra on Pixabay

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