Continuing in the vein of offbeat books I've been reading of late, I picked up an interesting and amusing read at the library this week... 101 Places Not to See Before You Die by Catherine Price. Most travel books cover the places you *should* see before you depart the bounds of earth. Price saves us all time and agony by telling us what we can bypass. :) If taken with the requisite dose of humor, this book is pretty funny. Of course, you may not think so if you live in Nevada...
Price decided to write the anti-travel book as a way to relieve pressure on herself. Every time she went into a book store, she was seeing lists of things she had to do *before* she died... 101 places to see... 1001 beers to drink... 100 movies to see. With that kind of pressure, who can relax and just enjoy things? With this book, she could help people ignore the places that just aren't worth the time and effort so they could focus on all the other things that are apparently required before death. Some of her choices are meant to be tourist destinations, such as the Colorado Testicle Festival or an overnight stay in a Korean Buddhist temple. Others are definitely *not* places you'd choose to visit or experience, such as rush hour on a Samoan bus or forensic anthropology facilities, also known as "body farms," where dead bodies are left to decompose in various situations to aid crime research. She even picks on some of the biggies, such as Euro Disney and Las Vegas. Actually, she includes the entire state of Nevada, as some of her friends focused on "the heat, the emptiness, the atrocity that is Lake Las Vegas, the nuclear waste, the alien sightings, and the fact that Criss Angel calls it home." Yes, you *do* have to have a sense of humor to read this, especially if you live in one of the places she chooses.
If you take this for what it is, it's a fun read. Obviously some of the choices are meant to be funny, as you can't go visit ancient Rome on the night of July 18th, 64 A.D. when a fire destroyed much of the city. But you learn something along the way, and you get a few laughs in the bargain. I certainly enjoyed 101 Places Not to See Before You Die, and my desire to visit Garbage City on the outskirts of Cairo has finally been put to rest...
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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“101 Places Not to See Before You Dietakes a fascinating and hilarious look at some of the least appealing places and events on the planet—from Montana’s Testicle Festival to the Amsterdam Sexmuseum—and explains in lucid terms just what you’ll be missing out on.” (Salon)
“This clever collection of travel advisories lists all the places that are definitely not worth a trip, including a rendering plant, Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and,bien sûr, Euro Disney.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“A hilarious look at some of the most uninviting, overcrowded, unsanitary, overhyped, and stomach-churning locales on the planet.” (Budget Travel)
“Price is a delightful writer who manages to give readers more giggles in under-two-page entries than many writers could in an entire chapter. . . . Highly recommended.” (Library Journal)