I have always been fascinated by ancient Egypt.
Egypt tops my list of places that I'd go if time, money, and personal safety were no objects. I used to absolutely devour books about King Tut, Queen Nefertiti, and egyptology. I even read Robin Cook's Sphinx when I was about ten (and decidedly too young for some of the subject matter) because it had a picture of a pyramid on the cover. (I'm still not sure where that book came from; it wasn't my parents', and it wasn't a library book--a sibling's, maybe?) For years afterward I wanted to be an egyptologist, and remember feeling crushed when I put it together that job openings for egyptologists in the midwest (where I have always intended firmly to stay, negative temperatures notwithstanding) were few and far between.
To this day, whenever I see a book about ancient Egypt, I bring it home. The latest such treasure was The Eternal Light of Egypt: A Photographic Journey, by Sarite Sanders. It's published by Thames & Hudson, and even though the photography is all black and white, it's still beautiful. I particularly love the close-ups of statues and carvings of human torsos, particularly those on buildings where light and shadow comes into play. They had such a beautiful way of carving--these torsos, most of them featuring bare midriffs or chests, look like they could breathe any second. To make stone look like it is a living thing is a pretty fantastic thing to be able to do, particularly way back in BC times.
The photographs are beautiful, but still they're only half of the book. The other half of the book is quotes and texts from ancient Egyptian sources (as well as a few more modern ones), and those are beautiful too. Consider:
"I live on Truth, and I have my being in Truth, I am Horus, who dwells in the heart, who dwells in the centre of the body. I live by saying what is in my heart, and it shall not be taken away from me. My heart is mine, and it shall not be wounded. No terror shall subdue me..." --The Book of the Dead, Chapter 29b.
That feels eternal to me. Take that, Julian Barnes.