Simon Reeve (Ebury)

Brit Simon Reeve has made a TV career out of following “imaginary lines” around the circumference of the globe.

Having already travelled the equator for the 2006 BBC TV series, he set his sights on the Tropic of Capricorn.

The resulting travelogue is no mere companion piece to the recent TV series. Sensitively and intelligently written, this book easily stands on its own.

The journey takes Reeve to the southernmost border of the tropics – from Botswana to Brazil – bringing him face to face with the great issues of our time, including global warming, globalisation and poverty.

He witnesses at first hand Zimbabweans crawling through razor wire to escape into South Africa, and is shocked by the squalor in which Australia’s Aborigines live in the outback.

It’s this ability to tackle weighty issues alongside Reeve’s enthusiasm to muck in with the locals (eating penis soup in Madagascar, for example) that makes Tropic … a joy to read. ALISON GRINTER