What Christmas present can you give to the person who has everything? A book, of course—and this year, many travel publishers are competing for your Yuletide dollar. Among the better picks is Lonely Planet's new guide to the entire globe. Aptly titled The Travel Book
, it skims over every country in the world—all 192 of them, plus a handful of territories—in 448 pages of snappy prose and glorious photos, including the picture shown here of a camel driver in Syria. There is lots of zippy trivia as well. "No es facil" (it's not easy) is, we are told, the essential phrase to learn in Cuba. If you're bound for Botswana, make sure you try a glass of bojalwa
, the local sorghum beer. Want to know more about life Down Under? Then you're urged to check out David Malouf's novel Remembering Babylon for a "compelling insight into the dynamics of early-colonial Australia." Stocking fillers have rarely been so free-ranging or informative.
The same might be said of the Luxe city guides—the other hot seasonal choice. Billed as "brutally frank and sometimes, frankly, brutal," these slick, concertina booklets offer an arch insider's advice about 10 Asian destinations—from the latest bars to offbeat sights and "shops and artisans that the average visitor would simply never find." Boxed sets of five guides come in white, black or faux snakeskin, and the individual booklets are small enough to be slipped in a pocket or hand luggage as required. Prices from $32.50. For more information, visit luxecityguides.com.