Four Must-Read Books For the Armchair Traveler In All of Us

Los Colorados Pink Lakes, Río Lagartos, Yucatán, Mexico.

Edited by Casey Gillespie

Warm summer days, getting lost in colorful Mediterranean villages, exploring beaches and historic ruins in Southeast Asia and beyond … visiting far-flung destinations may have to wait until next year, but wanderlust is alive and well. Enjoy a taste of this seasons best destination-
driven coffee-table books because daydreaming definitely isnt canceled.

Izabel Goulart poses in front of the signature ceramics of the Amalfi Coast.
Bay of Conca Dei Marini.
Bay of Conca Dei Marini.
The breakfast terrace at Villa San Giacomo in Positano.

Amalfi Coast

“Hailing from Brazil, I arrived in Europe in the late 1970s to work for Valentino. I took up residence in Rome; however, my fondest memories lie with the holidays we’d spend at Valentino’s home in Capri. We’d take his speedboat out to Li Galli, a tiny archipelago on the coast of Positano, for swims and picnics, and we would often visit Rudolf Nureyev, as he had bought a home there. Along the Amalfi Coast — 40 kilometers of south-facing Italian littoral giving onto the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea — the taste of the food, the views, and the aroma of lemons and geraniums were irresistible. I’d use any excuse I could to return to the area, whether to visit friends like Alba Clemente, the amalfitano actress and costume designer, or to simply wander the smaller towns between Positano and Ravello. It held a kind of storybook enchantment for me, that continues to pull me back.”

— Carlos Souza and Charlene Shorto 

AMALFI COAST (Assouline), text and photography by Carlos Souza and Charlene Shorto,, $95

Moyses Stevens floral boutique, Belgravia.
Moyses Stevens floral boutique, Belgravia.
Wisteria-covered house, Kensington.

London in Bloom

“London captivated me well before I meandered along its ancient cobblestoned alleyways or marveled at its historic structures. From the air, circling Heathrow one long-ago summer, I discerned, at first, the bright-green patchwork fields of the countryside, and then the breathtakingly grand expanses of the Royal Parks, and finally, closer in, a multitude of row houses with their tiny gardens of pinks and purples, all lush and welcoming. Subsequently, I fell deeply in love with the irresistibly complex bouquet of tradition and trendsetting, whimsy and pageantry, playfulness and propriety that is this magnificent city. Perhaps not surprisingly, my most memorable London experiences have been inextricably interwoven with gardens. Whether I was rambling through nearby Richmond Park from our Sheen cottage the first summer I visited in my teens, or sitting in Russell Square in my early twenties, memorizing Shakespeare for my acting courses at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the open spaces of London have seeped into my consciousness, awakened my imagination, and become part of me.” — Georgianna Lane

The Sunken Garden, Kensington Gardens.
Lamppost in Kensington.

London in Bloom (Abrams Image) by Georgianna Lane,, $19.99

Los Colorados Pink Lakes, Río Lagartos, Yucatán, Mexico.
Batu Caves, Malaysia.
Batu Caves, Malaysia.
Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan.

The Rainbow Atlas

“In a time when oversaturated and heavily edited photos are all the rage, it’s inspiring to work on a book like this that shows Mother Nature, mural artists, and indigenous cultures the world over truly can be bright, beautiful and better than a picture can ever convey. There are lakes in Patagonia and Canada that are bluer than the mind can conceive of; there are sunsets in the tropics that Photoshop cannot improve upon; and there are pops of color in the regalia of chiefs and hill tribes tucked into all corners of the world, just begging to be discovered. As photographers and world travelers, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to show the world why nature and culture is so worth protecting. Over the past seven years, as I have traveled solo to many remote places, I have seen glaciers shrinking and trash filling the ocean. But I have also seen people becoming more concerned with ‘leave no trace’ principles, preserving what we have, and recognizing the importance of asking people if it’s OK to photograph them before taking their picture. As the world becomes more and more connected through social media, it’s each of our responsibilities to fiercely protect and preserve it.” — Kristin Addis

500 Most Colorful Places (Chronicle Books) by Taylor Fuller,, $30

Costas Spathis. Ionio, Pelagos, Greece.
Altamash Javed. Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Eyes Over the World

“Whether by plane, paraglider, drone, or even a homebuilt experimental aircraft, we often find ourselves yearning for that heightened perspective and to create an image that really brings it home. I guess that’s why aerial photography is a passion like no other; it never fully does justice to what the eyes have witnessed. This book comes just about as close as possible to giving us a glimpse of this special and unique world that many will only dream of seeing with their own eyes. That is the beauty of this day and age, and the marriage of technology and art. What used to take hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of planning can be done in very remote places with a small drone. In the last few years our slim view of the planet and its beauty has been forever changed by the fact that we can now always answer that burning question: What does it look like from up there? Well, now we know for certain; it’s more beautiful, more vibrant, and more complex than we could have ever imagined, and in so many ways it’s only the beginning. This book will make you fall in love with nature all over again, reminding you of that first time you saw something whose beauty truly took your breath away. It will make you want to spread your wings and imagine … just what it would feel like to fly.” — Chris Burkard

Eyes over the World: The Most Spectacular Drone Photography (Universe Publishing) by Dirk Dallas,, $35

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