Photo of Carnaval by Mansir Petrie used under a Creative Commons license.
Ruy Castro, Rio de Janeiro (Bloomsbury USA, 2004).
A splendid little take on Rio from a Carioca (a resident) and booster, full of sights and sounds, the Carnival and football, pirates and slaves, anecdotes and history. Castro has written elsewhere about Brazilian music, and is particularly strong in that area — see his discussion of “The Girl from Ipanema” and the woman who inspired it, Heloisa Pinheiro — but he also tells a good story, and there are plenty of them here. More of a guide to the spirit of the city than to its sights, though Castro provides the sort of color to many neighborhoods that is lacking in more conventional guides.
The publisher offers an excerpt. Here are reviews from Kara Kellar Bell, Reuben F. Johnson (The Weekly Standard), Carl Wilkinson (The Guardian), and Stephen Smith (The Observer). Hey bloggers — read this book and write about it.