I always bring a couple of books whenever I travel. After reading a lot of great books this year, I have compiled the list of my favorites.
After much anticipation, fresh off the presses is Dina Kwit’s Through My Lens — A Photo Collection of Women’s Pro Softball. I have enjoyed Kwit’s work as Chicago Bandits team photographer over the years, but I was blown away at how awesome this book is. Through My Lens completely captures the intangible feeling on and off the field that made me love this team and sport at first sight six seasons ago. The first half of the book allows me to experience the moments I missed, while the second half lets me relive the great moments I witnessed. I literally got chills several times as I made my way through the 345 pages of brilliant pictures and interesting interviews.
Growing up a big fan of the Ramones, I was thrilled to interview Richie Ramone about his time with the band and his book I Know Better Now: My Life Before, During and After the Ramones. Although not an original band member, Richie is a vital part of the Ramones’ history. Front man Joey went so far as to say Richie saved the Ramones. Richie tells his story, answering all the questions and adding plenty of details and insight into one of the most influential and controversial bands ever.
The 1969 Chicago Cubs had a legendary season, although I was a bit young to fully experience it. The 1969 Cubs: Long Remembered — Not Forgotten by Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins and writer-historian George Castle is the definitive look at the team. Jenkins gives an insightful self-examination, while Castle provides archival interviews with the major players. Jenkins and Castle are a winning combination, as they deliver the facts with plenty of personal reflections.
Spiritual adventurist Jenniffer Weigel made appearances on several of my previous book lists. Although This Isn’t the Life I Ordered was published in 2015, I finally read it this year. Weigel gives a personal account of surviving a divorce and staying on a spiritual course. The insights given can be applied to any of life’s challenges. It’s equal parts inspiring, educational and entertaining. Like Weigel’s other books, this is one I will reread as a refresher.
Another repeat author to my list is Lisa Lutz. In The Swallows, Lutz brings the charm and wit from her Spellman series and spins it into a gender war set in a New England prep school. It’s a thought-provoking thriller filled with fully developed, flawed characters. While I keep hoping for Lutz to revisit the Spellman Detective Agency, I am thoroughly enjoying her other novels. Lutz has cemented her place among my favorite authors.
Originally printed in 1921, The Royal Book of Oz is the fifteenth book in the Oz series and the first written by Ruth Plumly Thompson. The newest edition features updated, all-new illustrations by Eisner Award-nominated artist Sara Richard. The Royal Book of Oz is 272 pages of entertainment following the Scarecrow’s search for his family tree, highlighted by beautiful and whimsical illustrations by Richard.
On the much lighter side, I picked up a few comic books for quick and enjoyable reading. All have a special meaning to me, too.
AJ Mendez and Aimee Garcia co-wrote GLOW vs. The Babyface, a four part miniseries based on the popular Netflix series GLOW. The two ladies, who have Chicago connections, have created diverse, complex and unbreakable female characters.
The previously mentioned Sara Richard had a very busy year. She also illustrated several other comic book covers including Star Pig #3 and GI Joe 7, which made Sara “so excited to have drawn my girl, Baroness.”
Lastly, the legendary horror host Svengoolie joins the DC Universe, meeting the Joker, Superman and more in a series of custom inserts. Svengoolie’s alter ego, Rich Koz, is a Chicago icon and a great guy.
While these books went on my bookshelves in 2019, I already have a few books in the queue for my travels in 2020. I look forward to traveling to real destinations as well as new literary locales.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
West Palm Beach, Florida, recently welcomed AKA West Palm, a hotel residence offering long-stay accommodations. As AKA’s second South Florida property, AKA West Palm features 215 hotel residences comprised of studios, one- and two-bedroom spaces, and Penthouse suites. The five-story hotel blends modern luxuries with comfort and simplicity, with sleek kitchens, washers and dryers, and private terraces. Room furnishings contrast with a backdrop of stone, metal and wood to create simple, clean lines with minimal contrast.
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
Birmingham, Alabama, was named for the city in the English Midlands that kept the fires burning, warmed the homes and made much of the steel for the United Kingdom’s industrial revolution. Decades later, the American city also made steel, so much of it, in fact, it became known as the “Magic City” for steel production, and the moniker stuck. But today’s Magic City makes more than steel, taking the raw product a few more steps to become a major center for automobile parts manufacturing and more, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz and U.S. Steel. Thanks to local leadership and long-term planning, the magic still works for Birmingham, as evidenced by its role hosting The World Games 2022 last summer.
As New York City’s leading Latino cultural institution, El Museo del Barrio welcomes visitors of all backgrounds to discover the artistic landscape of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American cultures. El Museo’s wide-ranging collections and exhibitions represent these cultures’ richness, complemented by film, literary, visual and performing arts series, cultural celebrations and educational programs. Ranging from pre-Columbian to modern and contemporary art, the permanent collection totals more than 8,000 objects.
From 24-Hour Butler Service to a Sky Pool: Boutique Luxury Awaits at Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences in Los Cabos
Set on a seaside bluff overlooking Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas, Vista Encantada Spa Resort & Residences is a Baja paradise specializing in serene vistas and impeccable hospitality, offering a Pacific coast lifestyle with authentic Mexican touches. Guests can now earn a fourth night free at the stunning resort, plus a $100 resort credit, when booking through March 20, for travel through June 15.
Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown recently reopened its Fairmont Gold, introducing amenities, a contemporary new style in the Fairmont Gold Lounge and dedicated concierges. The 48-room, three-suite Fairmont Gold, positioned as an urban oasis, takes over the entire ninth floor of the hotel and delivers exceptional service to meet guests’ needs.
Global Traveler is proud to announce the winners of its Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion in Travel recognition for the second year. The awards were added to the brand’s GT Tested Reader Survey in 2021 to highlight the best in diversity and inclusion in the travel industry. An Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion in Travel acknowledgment is awarded to an airline, hotel and cruise line.
Awareness about fair and sustainable travel continues to grow around the globe, with travelers everywhere considering a destination’s eco-friendly options before visiting. As public consciousness for this important aspect of tourism strengthens, tourists also look beyond just ecotourism and delve deeper into types of travel that allow them to respect the local culture, interact with locals and distribute benefits fairly.
The results are in! For the 19th consecutive year, Global Traveler conducted its GT Tested Reader Survey, asking frequent luxury travelers to name the best in a variety of travel-related categories. More than 22,000 people responded. Global Traveler’s inaugural awards were celebrated in 2004.