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What We’re Reading

Spaces and Places—Johannesburg, by Gerald Garner
This book was an essential read for me as we prepared for AFAR Experiences South Africa, but anyone wanting to discover the hidden gems of Joburg’s fascinating public spaces, neighborhoods, restaurants, hotels and much more should pick up a copy. Gerald Garner is a local historian and guide who knows the city inside out. This edition features a comprehensive compilation of some of the most interesting and most unexpected places around town, but there’s still more to tell: a revised and fully updated version—Spaces and Places 2.0: Joburg Places— hits the stands this month. —Jill Greenwood

Welcome to Seoul, the City of the Future,” Smithsonian magazine
AFAR contributor Tom Downey captures all the neon and bustle of the new Seoul. I knew there was a cultural boom (K-pop!) but the story delves into the role urban planning plays in the explosion of the city. —Ariel Ramchandani 

Why Time Magazine Used Instagram to Cover Hurricane Sandy,” Forbes
To cover breaking news surrounding Hurricane Sandy, Time magazine handed over its Instagram feed to five photographers who each had a strong following. What resulted was 12,000 new Instagram followers in 48 hours, an intimate visual account of the storm that’s still growing, and even a Time cover shot sourced from the mobile app. “If there was still any debate about whether serious photojournalism can take place in the context of camera phones and cutesy retro filters, it’s over now,” says Bercovici. —Serena Renner

Election Day Dispatches from around the Globe,” Roads & Kingdoms
I often find myself abroad during the US presidential elections (and dutifully vote absentee) and I find it fascinating to observe how the rest of the world views American politics. On Tuesday night I joined an election party at a London pub and listened as the Brits opined on the pros and cons of Obama and Romney. Roads & Kingdoms shares US election insights from 21 countries around the globe. Read what people are thinking and feeling in New Delhi, Johannesburg, Tbilisi, Beirut, and beyond. —Jen Murphy

Shibboleth, U.S.A.,” The Economist
When I first moved to the Bay Area, I pronounced Marin “Mare-inn,” Gough like “cow” and Noe as a blunt “No.” I was obviously an outsider. This very short article, about stumbling over America’s inhospitable-to-foreigners place names, made me feel better. It also made me feel smug, because I do in fact know how to say Schenectady, Schaghticoke, and Schuylkill. —Jessica Silber

The City and the Storm,” New York Magazine
For those far away from the havoc that Hurricane Sandy wreaked on the East Coast, John Homans recounts what it was like to be in powerless NYC the day of and days after the storm. —Jen Murphy

Painter in a Savage Land, Miles Harvey
As an artist, history buff and self-proclaimed archaeology nerd, I found this book fascinating. Harvey’s book is an account of artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues’s expedition to the Americas. He arrived in Florida with a group of French colonists in 1564 with the express purpose of recording what he saw. Harvey’s narrative provides a glimpse into a moment in time when Spain, France, England, and the indigenous peoples of the Americas were first coming into contact with one another, and, in seeking to find an authentic picture of Native American culture, shines a light on a delicate chapter that has served to shape the experience of generations. —Bryan Kitch

Will Jersey Shore Ever Be the Same After Sandy?,” Seattle Times
The Jersey Shore is one of America’s favorite punch lines. But in the light of Hurricane Sandy, people are reminiscing about the area’s history and lovable quirks  – the boardwalks, beaches, Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi – and question if it will ever be the same again. —Jen Murphy

The Lox Sherpa of Russ & Daughters,” New York Times
Why lox and Everest have more in common than you think. —Shelley Tatum Kieran

High Ambition and Visions of Andean Haute Cuisine,” New York Times
Is the next Noma in La Paz, Bolivia? A Danish celebrity chef sets out to create a Bolivian food movement using local ingredients like llama meat and coca, the precursor to cocaine. His lofty ambitions might be completely out of touch with reality, but maybe he’s on to something, too. —Ariel Ramchandani

Photo of Seoul by Joseph Cyr via AFAR.com.