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on 25 November 2011
I was already an AA Gill fan so this book was preaching to the converted - and my faith has been rewarded! Lots of anecdotes of travel and food from around the world, illuminated by AA Gill's funny, snippy, acerbic and sharply observed style. I have not been to many of the places he writes about nor eaten many of the dishes he consumed - but felt as if I had after reading the book.

He paints a very interesting picture of today's New York, his disappointment in Istanbul, describes his fascination with slums (as he says, because he doesn't have to live one!) and lots more. A phrase in one of his columns sticks with me, "You can only travel as far as you can describe." I'm still trying to work that one out... Highly recommended read.
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on 9 January 2012
I hadn't, to my recollection, read any A. A. Gill before starting in on the sample to this book during the Christmas sales. Little did I know I was in for a treat.

Gill writes with a quirky sense of humour, candid honesty, and a distinct streak of the bizarre, and this book is almost compulsive reading. There's a lot of variety here, of countries and where the focus lies in any given column, and there is both laughter and thought provoking seriousness in this collection.

The strength of this book is similar to Notes From A Big Country, in that the format of the book is a series of columns. The similarity does not end there - both authors can make me laugh - but Gill's style is more measured and thoughtful, and of course the sheer variety of subject versus Bryson's letters home from America is a vast difference. However, both books are very dip-in-and-out-able, and fans of Bryson could do worse than checking this collection out to have a taster of Gill's writing. I have seldom come across travel writing that I find as absorbing and entertaingly as Bryson's, but Gill (in a different way) has achieved just that.

Overall, informative, illuminating, and thoroughly enjoyable - thoroughly recommended.
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on 9 May 2015
interesting, amusing, both in what he likes and what he doesn't like; I would hate to travel with him, because he likes places and food that I would loathe (and he would loathe the places and food that I like) but that's a relief, because I don't have to go there, I can just slouch in the armchair and enjoy his perceptions.
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on 24 January 2014
Already a 'convert' to AA, and have a number of his other books on the shelf! As usual, this book got mixed reviews from purchasers, with the inevitable 'slagging off' from some reviewers, but, all I can say is that it - for me - is as enjoyable, entertaining, and humorous as all his other books that I've read, and, as I have now come to accept as 'standard' from AA, very sharp and incisive, sometimes breathtakingly so....
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on 24 January 2013
I'm a big fan of Gill when he writes in the S.T. and GQ so I thought I'd give one of his books a go. It is a collection of short essays so is very much like reading him in the paper. It may be that these essays were written for papers originally as they do become a bit samey after a while. Another thing I noticed is that he writes in a similar way to Jeremy Clarkson, they are good friends apparently, so if you don't like JC's style you probably won't like this.
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on 11 October 2012
I love AA Gills reviews of restaurants and he is always entertaining. But I struggled for the first few pages of this book as his articulate and wordy writings were a bit more of a "read" than his reviews. If this presents you with a bit of challenge its no big deal as you very quickly get into the rythm of his style and then you are away. Its a brilliantly entertaining read.
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on 13 January 2013
I dont usually like short stories or collections but this was a really enjoyable read.
AA Gill has strong opinions but hey are well presented and he doesnt care if you agree with him or not !
i enjoyed his irreverence and absence of PC-ness at times.
A good read which I would reccommend.
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on 27 February 2012
Loved this book - but must confess to being a great AA Gill fan anyway. I love the way he wraps something up so succinctly that you want to burst out cheering "Yes! That's exactly it!" I am sure he's an arrogant person in the flesh, because there is often just a hint of sneering, but his writing hits the nail on the head so well, I can forgive him anything.
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on 29 July 2013
Personally, I love his style (but he's a bit "marmite" I understand). This was a hugely enjoyable travel book that introduced me to places I'll probably never go
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on 21 January 2013
Well crafted, amusing and informative studies of various locations around the world. Particularly amusing anecdote about Italian men and their dress sense!
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