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The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World (Lonely Planet Travel Book) Hardcover – 17 Sep 2010
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"...it's the stunningly selected images by a cadre of Lonely Planet's best photographers that capture the charisma of each destination." Flavorwire
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I like this book as it runs through countries alphabetically and not by grouping them together, I find that this makes it smoother to read and if you do choose to read this as a fiction book then you get a surprise on the turning of every page.
This book allows you to get a `taster' for the country on the page identifying facts and stats as well as having photographs that draw you in. I have come across countries in this book that I had never even thought about visiting, but I found it so inspiring they have become a part of my `countries to visit' list. The book also has sections on the countries for you to get a more in depth opinion on it. Called `under the skin' this allows you to read about what you may hear there, watch, drink, eat and `in a word'. There is also a section on when to visit the country - always useful when you a planning a visit!
I always keep this book out on the coffee table when I have guests and so far I have not come across any who have been able to resist a peek at it. Once they have done, they fall in love with the book and rave to me about it afterwards.
As lonely planet go, I am not a big fan of their individual country guides/books, however I absolutely love their big books which capture the moment in the photograph and make you wish you were there.
I would urge everyone to purchase this book as once you have you would not regret it, mine is currently sitting on my coffee table stuffed with post it notes on pages I wish to now visit.
Every country has two pages dedicated to it - one with photos and one with info. A brief description of the country is provided and then there is a bullet point list of must knows / must sees / etc.
I love that there is a food / drink / music / movie section that will allow you to further throw yourself into a specific culture.
A bible for any traveler.
Each country is given just four pages and they're listed alphabetically, which makes for interesting contrasts as you flick through - Denmark is next to Djbouti, Saudi Arabia is followed by Scotland for instance. All the entries follow a similar format with some introductory text, and bullet points under several headings, such as 'Essential experiences' and 'Getting under the skin', plus some stats on sidebars and a rather too tiny map.
The real stars though are the 1140 photographs. They've used all of Lonely Planet's resources to pull together an amazing array, and as the book's aim is not purely touristic, few of the photographs are traditional postcard shots. Nearly half the photos feature people and their lives, as well as costumes, carnivals, breathtaking landscapes and brilliant architecture (particularly little churches). Seeing all the little island states and lesser known countries in all their glory is what it's all about. It's not done without humour though - one of the photos chosen to epitomise England is off the deckchairs on Brighton Beach by the pier.
Where would I go having looked at this book, given that I normally go no further than France or Italy? Well - Aruba, off Venezuela, looked a gorgeous mix of cultures, Madagascar looks fab (and it has lemurs), and every time I see a photo of Petra in Jordan, I get desperate to go there one day. This is a lovely book, and it would make a great gift.
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