NEW YORK >> Whether you’re an armchair traveler, a road tripper or a frequent flyer, books about travel can inspire and inform. Here are a few out this season on a variety of travel themes.
>> “Great American Railroad Journeys.” This book is a tie-in to a BBC series of the same name which airs on public TV this summer, hosted by Michael Portillo, who wrote the forward to the book. In the show, Portillo travels by train across America from New York and Boston to Atlanta and New Orleans, then on to Chicago, Colorado, New Mexico and San Francisco. The book (Simon & Schuster, $25) consists of essays about the development and expansion of rail routes across 19th-century North America, with maps, photos, illustrations and lots of history.
>> “Footsteps.” This collection of essays is subtitled “From Ferrante’s Naples to Hammett’s San Francisco, Literary Pilgrimages Around the World.” It walks readers in the footsteps of famous writers, looking at the destinations and landscapes that inspired them, whether the familiar locales of their childhood or a trip they took to a faraway land. Ernest Hemingway’s Madrid, Jamaica Kincaid’s Antigua and Mark Twain’s Hawaii are among the places featured in “Footsteps” (Three Rivers Press, $16).
>> “Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour.” This hardcover ($20) from travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet features breweries in 32 countries on five continents. Because a lot of craft beers don’t get distributed beyond their home cities or countries, the book offers advice on where to go to find local suds in destinations as far flung as Ethiopia, Nepal and Iceland. The book also offers information on how to ask for beer and say cheers in the local language, the best local bar snack and other local things to see and do. Two other books out from Lonely Planet this season offering themed trip ideas include one on “Street Art” ($20), with recommendations for seeing 140 examples of street art in 42 cities around the world, and “Film and TV Locations” ($12), listing places featured in “Game of Thrones,” ”Star Wars,” ”Harry Potter” and more.
>> “Madrid After Dark.” This guidebook is subtitled “A Nocturnal Exploration” (Interlink Books, $15), and it takes readers on a tour of the Spanish capital many visitors might never see. Though the city is known for nightlife and late dinners, author Ben Stubbs reveals the hidden side of Madrid’s nighttime world, from all-night cabdrivers and partygoers to stories of religious observances and the lives of the poor.