I polished off two books while in South America:
My sister gave me a copy of Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia, a 1977 travel book--though the author apparently disputed that categorization--about the barren but beautiful area in southern Argentina and Chile and the people who lived (and still live) there. Interestingly, Chatwin is the most famous proponent of the Moleskin notebooks I like to use.
In Brazil the past few days, I tackled a book my mom picked out for me for Christmas: The River of Doubt, an account of Teddy Roosevelt's perilous exploration of the upper reaches of the Amazon basin after he lost his 1912 comeback bid for the White House. Candice Miller wrote a gripping treatment of this journey, grounding it in such diverse disciplines as history, politics, geology, and biology, without ever losing the human dimension of this fascinating story.