HAVANA, by Kurlansky

Tuesday, August 6, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

Havana: A Subtropical Delirium By Mark Kurlansky Cover Image

Havana: A Subtropical Delirium (Paperback)


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days

A city of tropical heat, ramshackle beauty, and its very own cadence--a city that always surprises--Havana is brought to pulsing life by New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky.

Award-winning author Mark Kurlansky presents an insider's view of Havana: the elegant, tattered city he has come to know over more than thirty years. Part cultural history, part travelogue, with recipes, historic engravings, photographs, and Kurlansky's own pen-and-ink drawings throughout, Havana celebrates the city's singular music, literature, baseball, and food; its five centuries of outstanding, neglected architecture; and its extraordinary blend of cultures.

Like all great cities, Havana has a rich history that informs the vibrant place it is today--from the native Taino to Columbus's landing, from Cuba's status as a U.S. protectorate to Batista's dictatorship and Castro's revolution, from Soviet presence to the welcoming of capitalist tourism. Havana is a place of extremes: a beautifully restored colonial city whose cobblestone streets pass through areas that have not been painted or repaired since long before the revolution.

Kurlansky shows Havana through the eyes of Cuban writers, such as Alejo Carpentier and José Martí, and foreigners, including Graham Greene and Hemingway. He introduces us to Cuban baseball and its highly opinionated fans; the city's music scene, alive with the rhythm of son; its culinary legacy. Through Mark Kurlansky's multilayered and electrifying portrait, the long-elusive city of Havana comes stirringly to life.

Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling author of Milk!, Havana, Paper, The Big Oyster, 1968, Salt, The Basque History of the World, Cod, and Salmon, among other titles. He has received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Bon Appétit's Food Writer of the Year Award, the James Beard Award, and the Glenfiddich Award. He lives in New York City. www.markkurlansky.com
Product Details ISBN: 9781632863928
ISBN-10: 1632863928
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
Pages: 272
Language: English

"Kurlansky reaches back 500 years to track the city's evolving history, separating out the different strands--Spanish, African, American, Russian; political, social, musical, culinary--that slowly steeped to create Havana's piquant blend of static defiance." - New York Times, "Summer's Best Travel Books"

"A happy hybrid, Havana: A Subtropical Delirium invokes the Cuban capital as an occasion to discuss the country's history, politics, food, architecture, music, religion and passion for baseball . . . Kurlansky approaches Havana like an Impressionist painter, building the image of this metropolis of 2 million inhabitants with subtle brushstrokes." - The Washington Post

"During his decade-long tenure as the Chicago Tribune's Caribbean correspondent in the 1980s, Mark Kurlansky began traveling to Cuba. Since this introduction to the island nation, the journalist grew to know and love the beautiful, messy capital. Drawing on Havana's history, Kurlansky starts with Columbus' arrival in 1492 and examines the city's role in the slave trade and its lasting effects. But he also brings us into the contemporary culture, highlighting the city's lively music, dance and art scenes, and supplying us with recipes to tasty Cuban dishes." - Smithsonian Magazine, "Ten Best Travel Books of 2017"

"This little gem of a book by the prolific Kurlansky is a revelation . . . At a most auspicious moment in the history of Cuba and Havana, Kurlansky, who has spent much time in the country as a journalist, writes an eloquent love letter to one of the world’s great cities." - starred review, Booklist

"An affectionate, richly detailed, brief biography of a unique city." - Kirkus Reviews

"This extremely readable book is not preachy, not dogmatic, not shrill. As in life, there is a mixture of both good and evil, and Kurlansky, a frequent Cuba correspondent, covers it well." - starred review, Library Journal

"Warmly rendered and rich with the insights of an observer intimate with his subject, this paean to the city of Havana is as engaging as it is timely. The chapters read like a series of colorful picture postcards, each one a touchstone of Havana’s history and Cuban culture." - Publishers Weekly

"Few countries seem as alluring as this island nation, long cloistered from American travelers, which welcomed its first commercial U.S. flight--from Fort Lauderdale--this past August . . . Havana is Mark Kurlansky's cultural history of a city that he began visiting regularly in the 1980s, when he covered the Caribbean for the Chicago Tribune." - Publishers Weekly, "Spring Travel Books"

"We are in good hands to explore this diabolically alluring city with New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky in Havana: A Subtropical Delirium. His is an insider's view of the ramshackle charm and special cadence of Havana, its tattered and elegant surprises and pulsating fun-loving life." - New York Journal of Books

"Havana is sui generis and addictive, and Mark Kurlansky really gets it." - BookPage

"Biographical portraits of cities are in vogue. This lively addition to the genre is essentially a history . . . Kurlansky found international fame in 1997 with his piscatorial portrait, Cod. The lengthy list of other titles he has penned is enough to make most professional writers want to shoot themselves--not only more than a dozen non-fiction works but novels and children's books as well. The bugger is also an award-winning food writer. Narrative history is his forte, however. His vignettes of the figures who moulded Havana are excellent. The story unfurls through grisly post-independence dictatorships and ends, inevitably, with Castro. Kurlansky is even-handed." - Literary Review

"A highly readable and entertaining account of Cuban history and culture that I found hard to put down." - San Francisco Book Review

"HAVANA is as enjoyable as it is fair, and above all features the beauty and essence of the city that makes it unmistakable. It is a colorful, descriptive piece that any person should warmly enjoy." - Bookreporter.com

"Perfect for anyone headed there or simply wishing to learn more about a city and country cloaked in romance and mystery." - BookFilter

"Havana is an electrifying and multi-layered portrait of the long-elusive city." - BookBrowse

"Not quite a book on the history of Havana, but rather, the history of Havana-isms . . . The result is a book that strays from repeating what most already know about Havana, and instead tells the origins of the city's unique cultural characteristics . . . Kurlansky's guide to Havana is an entertaining collage of the attitudes that have existed throughout its five-century history." - Cuba Trade Magazine


Tuesday, July 2, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

Mother Tongue: A Saga of Three Generations of Balkan Women By Tania Romanov Cover Image

Mother Tongue: A Saga of Three Generations of Balkan Women (Paperback)


Special Order—Subject to Availability

Mother Tongue is an exploration of lives lived in the chaos of a part of the world known as the Balkans. It follows the lives of three generations of women―Katarina, Zora, and Tania―over the last 100 years. It follows countries that dissolved, formed, and reformed. Lands that were conquered and subjugated by Fascists and Nazis and nationalists. Lives lived in exile, in refugee camps, in new worlds.

Tania Romanov's story clarifies the history and geography of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro by pulling you into the lives of real people. It makes those countries come alive.

And through it all glows a love of language.

What is your mother tongue? What language did you speak with your mother? What language did you speak with your father? What language did you speak with your brother? For Tania Romanov there are three different answers to those questions.

Did you speak your mother tongue with anyone except your mother? That is the most bizarre question of all. But for Tania Romanov, the answer is no. She spoke a unique language with her mother, one in which she is still fluent. And by the way, it was not her mother's native language.

The language is Serbian. Tania's mother was Croatian. Her father was Russian. Tania was born in Serbia, but left when she was six months old. She and her brother grew up in San Francisco speaking English. She didn't speak any language until she was two.

Tania doesn't know why she spoke Serbian, rather than Croatian, with her mother Zora. It never occurred to her to ask until she started writing her memoir. And by then, her mother was gone.

The country of birth listed on Tania's American passport changed four times in four successive renewals. Until the first time, she believed your country of birth was a fixed point. Today she knows better.

Go with her as she journeys through time and history looking for answers, and finding some.

Product Details ISBN: 9781609521271
ISBN-10: 1609521277
Publisher: Travelers' Tales
Publication Date: March 1st, 2018
Pages: 340
Language: English


Tuesday, June 4, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets in our DEN coffeehouse on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

Why The Dutch Are Different: A Journey into the Hidden Heart of the Netherlands By Ben Coates Cover Image

Why The Dutch Are Different: A Journey into the Hidden Heart of the Netherlands (Paperback)


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days

Stranded at Schiphol airport, Ben Coates called up a friendly Dutch girl he'd met some months earlier. He stayed for dinner. Actually, he stayed for good.

In the first book to consider the hidden heart and history of the Netherlands from a modern perspective, the author explores the length and breadth of his adopted homeland and discovers why one of the world's smallest countries is also so significant and so fascinating. It is a self-made country, the Dutch national character shaped by the ongoing battle to keep the water out from the love of dairy and beer to the attitude to nature and the famous tolerance.

Ben Coates investigates what makes the Dutch the Dutch, why the Netherlands is much more than Holland and why the colour orange is so important. Along the way he reveals why they are the world's tallest people and have the best carnival outside Brazil. He learns why Amsterdam's brothels are going out of business, who really killed Anne Frank, and how the Dutch manage to be richer than almost everyone else despite working far less. He also discovers a country which is changing fast, with the Dutch now questioning many of the liberal policies which made their nation famous.

A personal portrait of a fascinating people, a sideways history and an entertaining travelogue, Why the Dutch are Different is the story of an Englishman who went Dutch. And loved it.
Ben Coates was born in Britain in 1982, lives in Rotterdam with his Dutch wife, and now works for an international charity. During his career he has been a political advisor, corporate speechwriter, lobbyist and aid worker. He has written articles for numerous publications including the Guardian, Financial Times and Huffington Post. ben-coates.com
Product Details ISBN: 9781857886856
ISBN-10: 1857886852
Publisher: Nicholas Brealey
Publication Date: September 5th, 2017
Pages: 304
Language: English
A book as quietly appealing as its subject and full of fascinating details. Coates is entirely convincing in his affectionate portrait.—Prospect

A striking portrait of the Netherlands in the 21st century, offering a refreshing and long overdue update of the way the Dutch national character is described.—Edinburgh Book Review

Fascinating. Thoroughly researched and well thought out, Why the Dutch are Different takes us on a journey that goes beyond red-lit windows and Anne Frank to the true depths of the country. Ben Coates's day-to-day life sits effortlessly alongside deeper dives into history and folklore. A friendly read that strikes the right balance between teaching and entertaining.—The Bookbag

I thoroughly recommend this book. Why the Dutch are Different provides the answers to all the questions I had but didn't dare ask about the Netherlands. I eagerly sat up late into the night reading, laughing often and enjoying the ride into my adopted homeland.—DutchNews

In Why the Dutch are Different, a torch beam of scrutiny plays across the country's past and its lesser known foibles. Author Ben Coates has produced an insightful gem.—Scotsman - Books of the Year

One of the few books on our near-neighbour, Coates gets under the skin of a nation renowned for its liberalism.—The Bookseller

Vivid and informative. Coates intertwines the nationâ??s journey to its modern iteration with his own adaptation to the Dutch lifestyle. An accomplished debut.—Geographical