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It’s a Weird, Weird World:New Travel Book

Destination: World

Book: Weird World: The Strangest Stories and Oddest Images from around the World from Bradt Books and Wanderlust Magazine. Publication October, 2009

FLASH! See my guest post about hiking the trails of Siphnos Greece at My Itchy Travel Feet.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Do you have a ten-year-old boy on your Christmas list? You might consider the travel book, Weird World, as a holiday gift.I know he would appreciate the displays of icky foods and disgusting photos of amazing things that people do to their bodies.

Of course, the book is not a children’s book, and if you WERE giving it to a ten-year-old, you might want to monitor some of the more adult pictures–not that there is much that is adult about this book.

I was once the mother of three boys–now men–and you would think I would be inured to yucky stuff mistaken for entertainment. Despite my experience, I spent most of the time when I was leafing through this book, saying “eeeeew!” and screwing my face into the kind of expression that would make my grandmother say “Your face is going to freeze that way!”

According to a cover blurb by Tony Hawks, the author of Round Ireland with a Fridge, “Weird World is sure to inspire the most stubborn of couch potatoes to get out there and discover the world’s wackiest travel adventures.”

I find this statement, and the book in general at puzzling odds with a quote from travel writer Bill Bryson about Wanderlust magazine, “There simply isn’t a better magazine for the serious traveler.”

What were those people at Wanderlust thinking when they co-published  this book with Bradt ( a publisher of esteemed travel guides)?

Serious travelers want to see people lacerate their faces with swords?–or even a chair? Serious travelers like to seek out butcher’s shops that display camel heads or iguana bodies? Sorry, but I thought serious travel was about learning about cultures, not ridiculing them. Circus sideshows have gone out of favor because we no longer think that sideshow freaks are an object of fun. So why is this book supposed to be entertaining? Oh, yes, I forgot to mention, it is made up of photos submitted by readers. So THIS is what happens when you leave professional writers behind, and rely on contributor-content.

Frankly, I think these people have been watching too much You Tube. (And I don’t mean the cute cat videos.)

Book supplied to me by the publicist for Globe Pequot, the U.S. distributor. And he may be wishing he didn’t send it.