Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Interesting enough to flick through
on 7 October 2013
I already own the large (very large!) version of The Cities Book, so I thought I'd take a look at this mini version and see whether there were any improvements. It turns out the books have almost exactly the same content, but there's a little less in the mini version, with the most obvious exclusion being the Imports and Exports lists and the Urban Myth paragraphs that feature in the larger edition. These were mildly interesting but didn't help you decide whether to visit a city, so I don't miss their presence too much in this edition. The only other difference I can see is that the space has been used a little better in the mini edition, with less white space left (in the larger book there are spaces left blank which looks as though the writers ran out of ideas). Whether you choose the smaller or larger edition will be a matter of personal preference and will depend more on whether you want a cute, chunky little doorstop of a book to put on your bookshelf, or an impressive coffee table book.
So, onto the content itself. The book contains information on the world's 200 Best Cities. Each city has a four page spread, of which over half the space consists of photos. The information is split into small paragraphs entitled Anatomy, People, Defining Experience, Strengths, Weaknesses, Gold Star, Starring Role In, and then a short section giving one thing to see, eat, drink, do, watch and buy. My favourite section is the Starring Role In which tells you some of the films that have featured the city.
I found the information in general to be quite lacking and often poor quality. The strengths and weaknesses are useful but the section giving things to see etc seems to miss out important things. Looking at the pages for the cities I've been to, they seem to have selected some quite drab things to see and do compared to the amazing things that I know are there but aren't mentioned in this book.
The photos are disappointing too. Often just close ups of people, cars or the side of one building, they don't give much of an idea of the city at all and sometimes seem quite amateurish.
This is a nice book to flick through but it probably won't be a great help in deciding which cities to visit. It is nicely produced with thick, glossy pages, but there's just not enough relevant information included and the photography didn't give me enough of an image of the cities. I wouldn't particularly recommend either this book or its larger counterpart.