St. Augustine famously declared that "the world is a book"; Haus Publishing obviously agreed. So last month the London-based publisher launched The Armchair Traveller
, a series of insightful travelogues documenting personal journeys all over the globe. Each volume, printed on thick, creamy paper, features a foldout map. Otherwise, there's no fixed format for The Armchair Traveller
. The first four titles are as different in tone and approach as the smooth, expansive river that dominates Along the Ganges
is from the wild Celtic waters in the sailing odyssey Cape Wrath to Finisterre
. New works arriving in 2006 serve up a gastro-tour of Italy, a road trip through China and a memoir of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. What unites each account is the authors' passion for travel. In Venice For Lovers
, novelist Louis Begley and biographer Anka Muhlstein describe 30 years of exploring the backstreets of La Serenissima.
In Damascus: Taste of a City
, resident Marie Fadel writes vividly to her brother, an exiled journalist in Germany, of a walk through the Old City, weaving in recipes for Damascene dishes like tis'iyye
, a spicy chickpea soup. While readers may find it easy enough to undertake some of the journeys, like the Venetian tour, others, like the sea passage, are likely to stay true to the name of the series, enjoyed from the depths of a comfy chair.