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What We’re Reading

How to Catch a Street Taxi in Astana, Kazakhstan,” Matador Network
“You’re running late to meet with a friend—you’re always running late,” writes Celia Emmelhainz. How does she know me so well? If indeed I were to visit Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, undoubtedly this would be the case, and I would need to hail a cab as quickly as possible—and, thanks to this article, it would be a breeze. Not only does it outline the best practices for keeping yourself safe, it’s a window into the world of Kazakhstani small-talk and negotiation, complete with audio and transcriptions for those of us whose knowledge of Cyrillic is, well, limited. —Bryan Kitch

A Global Romp Through Tokyo,” Fathom
Fathom cleverly looks at Tokyo through six cultural lenses and provides itineraries to match. —Jen Murphy

Facing the Truth: CNN’s Arwa Damon,” Vogue
In the December issue of Vogue, AFAR contributor Heidi Mitchell wrote a terrific profile of Arwa Damon, an intrepid CNN reporter who’s filed stories from Libya, Iraq, and Egypt. —Julia Cosgrove

An Illustrated Talk with Maurice Sendak,” New York Times Magazine
Adam Yauch, Adrienne Rich, Whitney Houston, and David Rakoff were just a few of the people covered in the New York Times Magazine’s “Lives They Lived” end-of-year issue—always a sad, funny, educational, innovative read. I loved being reminded—via the amazing illustrator Christoph Neimann—of the touching, heart-wrenching interview that Terry Gross did with Maurice Sendak, who died this year.  —Davina Baum

For Many a Follower, Sacred Ground in Colorado,” New York Times
Researching a holiday road trip from Colorado to California, I came across this article about one stop on our itinerary: Crestone, Colorado. This alpine town of 1,500 residents at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains (about four hours south of Denver) has two dozen religious centers, from native American sanctuaries to a Hindu ashram. We noticed an odd mix of Old West and New Age during a quick lunchtime stop but found none of the temples, churches, or monasteries we expected. We figured they must be tucked into the mountains, only adding to the intrigue. —Serena Renner

The Year in Food,” Roads & Kingdoms
Roads & Kingdoms looks back at the most compelling meals of 2012, from a 26-course tasting menu at Copenhagen’s famous Noma to California’s iconic double-double (animal style, of course) from In-N-Out. —Jen Murphy

The Art of Travel,” by Alain De Botton
I just started this collection of travel essays on Derk Richardson’s recommendation. Alain De Botton weaves together personal stories with anecdotes from famous artists to make philosophical remarks on such topics as how our expectations of travel compare to the real thing (which depends a lot on our moods and attitudes in the moment) and how solitary travel spaces like motel rooms and train cars open our minds to new territories of thought and attention. This book is for those who like to overanalyze the whys and hows of travel. —Serena Renner

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest,” by Wade Davis
This is the latest work of one of my favorite storytellers, Wade Davis, an anthropologist and explorer-in-residence at National Geographic. In this captivating narrative, he tells of Mallory’s ongoing attempts to scale the mountain and how that quest relates to the atrocities he endured during his time on the front lines of the first World War. As each page is turned, it’s easy to understand why it took Davis 10 years to research and write this spellbinding and prize-winning work of superb non-fiction. —Jill Greenwood

The Capital of Cajun Country: Lafayette, Louisiana Travel Guide,” Bon Appetit
Writer Brett Martin discovers a surprising group of talented homegrown chefs in Cajun country. On the menu: fried trout head, smoked pig tails, and escargot-and-crawfish ragout. —Jen Murphy

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