The Munros and Tops (Mainstream Publishing, pounds 15.99) by Chris Townsend. Described on the dust-jacket as the "stirring account of a unique achievement", this is the story of the first man to climb all of Scotland's 277 Munros and 240 Tops, in the course of a single walk. Stirring stuff? Hardly, unless you enjoy the niceties of Scottish weather as much as the author does. Readers will be challenged to find a single page which does not deal in depth with showers, mist, wind, clouds or storms, and the ordeal of camping out.

The Wild Blue Yonder: The Picador book of Aviation (Picador, pounds 16.99) edited by Graham Coster. What we have here are poems, essays and extracts on the subject of planes and flight. There is not enough evocational writing on the topic, which has touched so many lives this century. From Biggles to the Turin soccer charter, from WB Yeats to Tom Wolfe, these voices make a fascinating record.

Japan, A Travel Survival Kit (Lonely Planet, pounds 15.99). These days the Lonely Planet treatment needs 860 pages for even a relatively small country like Japan. But this is the sixth edition and each new edition incorporates extra features. The latest model has a 30-page all-colour section on Japanese arts, from gardens to tea ceremonies, as well as new sections entitled "Japanese Food" and "Highlights of Japan". The real strength lies in those nitty-gritty details such as where to change trains when you travel from Tokyo to Kanazawa.

China, the Silk Routes (Cadogan, pounds 15.99) by Peter Neville-Hadley. What I like about the Cadogan guides is that they are so readable. Where some guides seem to regard "history" or "culture" as an obligatory side-stop to be endured by tourists, Cadogan succeeds in bringing it to life, without skimping on the details. This book is thorough on a huge swathe of Asia, stretching from the Chinese capital to the very heart of Central Asia.

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