SOCIAL SCIENCES

World Travel: An Irreverent Guide

Ecco: HarperCollins. Apr. 2021. 480p. ISBN 9780062802798. $35. TRAV
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The late Bourdain (1956–2018) was a celebrity chef and world-traveling TV star, whose personality is reflected in this charming book, cowritten by Woolever, his assistant. Chapters cover the world’s cities and include a brief history, getting around, and hotel and food suggestions. The book is full of irresistible illustrations, including the cover. Drinking establishments and a single favorite tourist spot are also noted. For example, Bourdain muses over international cuisine, including a meal in Accra, Ghana, in which he didn’t know what to expect; the inexplicably satisfying meal was comprised of groundnut soup, goat meat, cow tongue, beans, and rice balls. He explains how living in New York felt like being in the center of the world until he visited Shanghai. He describes the dumpling dish Xiao Long Bao as the world’s most perfect food. The appendix for film references lists movies that provided visual inspiration for episodes of his various programs.
VERDICT An exhilarating and worthwhile choice for those planning an actual trip and for stay-at-home travelers.

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