books of the week

In the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon (BBC, pounds 16.99 hardback) by Joanna Lumley.

This picture-packed, easy-to-read stocking filler, is Ms Lumley's account of her journey to Bhutan in her grandparents' footsteps. Sleeping in a tent and travelling by foot and pack pony, she visits Buddhist monasteries and villages like Wangdi-Phodrang, making friends with everyone she meets. However, having heard how she cheated on her Girl Friday programme, I'm not as ready to believe she really used earth latrines and washed her own clothes in icy streams along the way. It's bound to be a best-seller.

Travellers' Tales from Heaven and Hell (Travellers' Eye, pounds 6.99) by Dan Hiscocks (ed.).

There isn't a rotten apple in this barrel of laughs and sighs. Even the story titles, such as Five Go Mad in Paignton and Niet Way Out, raise a smile. My favourites include the nightmare story of a manic Egyptian doctor in the next seat on a long flight. Some stories seem just too good to be true. But I blame Joanna Lumley for my all my irrational cynicism.

The Travellers' Guide to Mars (Cadogan, pounds 4.99) by Michael Pauls & Dana Facaros.

This guide to the red planet is a marriage of scientific facts on climate and geography with tongue-in-cheek humour, such as how much it costs to get there ($3bn strapped to a Viking 2 space probe). I'm not sure to whom this book would appeal, but if you fancy a look, buy it in a discount book store for 20p in six months.

Russia & Central Asia by Road (Bradt, pounds 12.95) by Hazel Barker.

This guidebook can take you from Vyborg, in Finland, to Vladivostok, on the Manchurian Plain by 4WD, motorbike or bicycle. The planning section has lots of good advice on what to take, although the rest of the book is a different kettle of ribah (fish). For example, "What to see in Moscow" is covered in half a page; and the fact that "Russian bread is generally very good," isn't going to help when you're starving on the steppes! While the lack of information may provide a pioneering flavour, I'm not sure I'd trust the book to give me the most out of such a journey.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Exhibition Content Developer

    £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - major leisure brand

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Partner

    £25000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Partner is required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn