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This article was produced by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

1. Unravelling the Silk Road: Icon Books, £15.99.

Travels and Textiles in Central Asia Textiles expert Chris Aslan explores a crossroads of history where ‘fortunes were made and lost through shimmering silks, life-giving felts and gossamer cottons’. Most travellers know of the Silk Road, but older still are the Wool Road and Cotton Road, whose tightly woven stories Aslan seeks to untangle. 

2. Black Ghosts: Canongate, £14.99.

A Journey into the Lives of Africans in China Nigerian-born, English-raised Noo Saro-Wiwa searches for ‘Black Ghosts’ — African economic migrants in China. Her encounters range from a Ghanaian surgeon to a Nigerian pop star who sings in Chinese, painting a picture of communities set apart from their adopted and native lands. 

3. Queer Footprints: Pluto Press, £14.99.

A Guide to Uncovering London’s Fierce History This is a guidebook taking in the scandalous, hilarious and empowering events of London’s queer story. Campaigner and author Dan Glass follows in the footsteps of veteran activists, laying out routes to walk through north, south east and west London aided by beautifully illustrated maps. 

4. The Slow Travel Guide to North East Scotland:
Bradt Guides, £15.99.  

Travel writer Rebecca Gibson walks her adopted home for the only comprehensive print guidebook to Scotland’s north east. It’s a fascinating corner: Moray alone has the world’s most northerly population of bottlenose dolphins, Scotland’s oldest independent museum and Forres, where Macbeth met the three witches. 

5. Karakalpakstan, Bradt, £19.99.

In the first English guidebook to the autonomous republic that makes up the western third of Uzbekistan, authors and Central Asia experts Stephanie Adams and Sophie Ibbotson show Karakalpakstan in all its glory. This guide helps travellers sensitively explore a fragile ecology, with insight into the destination’s wildlife, archaeology and stargazing. 

6. Sweet Salone,Quadrille, £30.

Chef Maria Bradford draws on her ancestral culture in the first contemporary food and travel book celebrating Sierra Leonean cuisine. As much one for armchair travellers as cooks, this glossy tome is packed with photography and travelogues taking readers through the streets of capital Freetown, down the Sierra Leone River and back into Bradford’s home kitchen. 

Published in the October 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

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