One for the Road: Street World

From Get Lost Books list of suggested holiday gift-giving titles comes Street World: Urban Art from Five Continents, a collection of street scenes that stretches from Mumbai to Los Angeles. The colorful hardcover is divided into more than 50 topics and includes over 500 photographs of artistic public displays from around the world.

Street World celebrates subculture creativity in all its forms: graffiti, skateboarding and bike messengering, DJing, offbeat fashion, gang life, music, as well as design, photography, and other more traditional visual art. The 400-page book looks at the artistic expressions of fashionistas, biker gangs, guerrilla gardeners, urban knitters and more. It’s the perfect gift for all your traveling culture vulture pals.

One for the Road: Instant Gratification

Gadling goddess Adrienne Wilson hasn’t written here in awhile, because she’s been super busy traveling the world and…making a book! As she explains in detail on her personal blog, Instant Gratification is a first volume of photographs from Adrienne’s growing collection of global snapshots, many taken during her travels over the past seven years.

In her own words, Adrienne explains the project: In its simplest form, Instant Gratification: Photos for your Coffee Table in Exchange for Money in my Pocket, can be described as a travel catalog comprised of a spirited mixture of color, B&W, film, digital, and lomo shots from around the globe. Feel gratified at once for once!

But there’s a hook! She then goes on to explain the super-cool generosity behind the creation of this book: Additionally, there won’t be any money placed into my pocket from your purchase of this book. Since I don’t bake cookies, I’m using this book as a fund raising tool. All the profit will be donated to a charitable organization that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.

Actually, all profit from book sales will go towards a Global Village build Adrienne is planning to lead next year with Habitat for Humanity. To raise funds for the service experience, she used her smarts to create a fundraising tool that puts a beautiful book in the hands of those who give. A creative masterpiece that benefits more than the buyer — instant gratification for all, and a wonderful idea. Kudos and congrats to Adrienne on her do-good self-publishing venture. (By the way, she used Blurb, and has lots of great things to say about them too.)

One for the Road: Bad Trips

Feel free to complain about today’s pick — a title from the archives — but I just felt like following up a Head Trip with a collection of Bad Trips. Fact is, this semi-ancient anthology received lukewarm reviews, but we’re going to feature it today anyway — some of you may still fancy a go at it: Bad Trips, originally published in 1991, is followed by this rather long and not-so-good subtitle: a sometimes terrifying, sometimes hilarious collection of writing on the perils of the road.

I learned about the book over at one of my favorite new blogs, where the map on the cover was the focus of discussion. Looking closer at the content, we learn that it’s a quirky collection of stories about disaster, danger and discomfort on the road. Authors are out of their element in many of these tales: Umberto Eco in a tacky hotel in Southern California, Jonathan Raban on a brief trip through the squalor of Louisiana, and Anita Desai on a frigid, midwinter sojourn to a Norwegian island.

Although it might not be the best travel anthology out there, with contributors like these, as well as other familiar names like Jan Morris, Redmond O’Hanlon and John Updike, I’m sure the tales are engaging and well done. Besides that, they are supposed to be bad anyway!

One for the Road: The Head Trip

Here’s a second creative travel-themed title from a Canadian writer featured here this week: Science journalist Jeff Warren takes readers on a tour of the mind in The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness. This “field-guide” to the mind explores lucid dreaming, Eastern meditative practices, hypnosis, neurofeedback and other brain awareness activities.

From the publisher: Part user’s manual and part travel guide, The Head Trip is an instant classic, a brilliant summation of consciousness studies that is also a practical guide to enhancing creativity, mental health, and the experience of what it means to be human. Many books claim that they will change you. This one gives you the tools to change yourself.

Psychology and neuroscience are packaged with humor in this adventurous trip through our own heads. As mysterious as any journey embarked upon with no set route or agenda, this mind-mapping memoir travels through the twelve unique states of mind available to humans over a 24-hour day. Not your average travel book, of course, but quite a ride just the same. Warren provided his own witty illustrations for the book too. Oh, and not that it matters, but he has penned a more “traditional” guidebook as well.

One for the Road: Hotel – An American History

A copy of this book, paired with some room reservations at a classic American hotel, might be a nice holiday gift for the history buff in your life: Hotel – An American History is a volume of stories and illustrations that explores how the hotel came to be in this country. The book tracks the invention of hotels in America, as inns and taverns gave way to the creation of majestic architectural masterpieces suited with grand ballrooms and private bed chambers. This review tells more:

Once upon a time, hotels were simply way-stations where weary travelers could stop to rest along a journey that could take many days. But over the centuries, hotels evolved into the symbols of American capitalism and of urban life. The biggest and best of them provided glamour, sophistication, elegance, and excitement, and A. K. Sandoval-Strausz has now given them the recognition they deserve. Beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, Hotel will reward both the specialist and the general reader.-Kenneth T. Jackson, Columbia University

Topics explored include: What it was like to sleep, eat, and socialize at a hotel in the mid-1800s; How hotelkeepers dealt with the illicit activities of adulterers, thieves, and violent guests; The stories behind America’s greatest hotels, including the Waldorf-Astoria, the Plaza, the Willard, the Blackstone, and the Fairmont; and how the development of steamboats and locomotives helped create a nationwide network of hotels.