Mark Shand (£12.99, Eland)

DSC_3547First published in 1991, this is a timeless travelogue across India by the author and an elephant named Tara, a journey of six hundred miles to the Sonepur Mela in Bihar, the world’s oldest and largest elephant fair. Shand’s engaging style is infectious from the outset, and his honesty engaging… When asked where he was planning on heading once he had bought his elephant, he replies: ‘ I haven’t really given it much thought yet… I just imagined myself climbing aboard and setting off.’ The author developed a natural affinity with nature and wildlife as a child, and his passion for India came about whilst en route to Australia. In this new edition, he explains how what began as an adventurous whim has developed into a life of campaigning to provide vital migratory corridors for Asian elephants. With Tara, the author established a lifelong bond, and I challenge you to make it past their parting without reaching for a tissue.  In 2002, Shand set up Elephant Family, today the UK’s biggest funder for the endangered Asian elephant, whose massive habitat loss has seen their numbers plummet by 90% in the past century. The charity currently funds 20 projects across Asia.