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World Travel: An Irreverent Guide

par Anthony Bourdain

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I didn't think it would be possible to make Anthony Bourdain boring. Well, I was wrong. This book is not at all what I expected. It's simply collected reviews of the places Bourdain visited in his TV shows, consisting of comments cobbled together and read by various other people, with a few unnecessary biographical comments included by the general narrator ("Tony's daughter was conceived when he returned home from this trip."). It might be OK in book form, if what you're after is minimal travel info on the cities Bourdain explored (and I won't be going to any of those places soon), but it was a huge mistake getting it on audio. I just returned it, half listened to. I just couldn't bear to hear the canned closure of each section one more time: "Taxi from the airport costs about 22 Euros, or 20 US Dollars. Drivers do not expect a tip, but rounding up will be appreciated." Something you want to know if you're planning a specific trip but not if you are looking for a visit with Anthony Bourdain.

1/2 star for Bourdain's brilliance, which is totally demolished here. ( )
  Cariola | Sep 27, 2021 |
My review of this book can be found on my Youtube Vlog at:

https://youtu.be/68WQ18_WsTc

Enjoy! ( )
  booklover3258 | Jul 15, 2021 |
nonfiction

This is posthumously-produced Anthony Bourdain: snippets of quotes taken from his many taped shows, accompanied by occasional, short essays by acquaintances, and editorialized updates on the restaurants and places he talked about--which in themselves may already be out of date.

Though his personality and voice very much do still come through in his quotes, the effect is really sad, a pale comparison to what used to be. Travel guides in normal times age quickly as businesses change management or close altogether, and all the much so during COVID times, so this isn't really much of a travel guide either.

Of limited interest to everyone but the most dedicated fans. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+. All opinions are my own. World Travel by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever is part travel guide and part memoir, a loving tribute to Anthony Bourdain. My understanding is that this book was planned prior to Mr. Bourdain’s death but was still in the preliminary stages when he died. It provides snapshot views of the places that Mr. Bourdain travelled both for his television shows and on his own time, as well as essays by friends and family about those travels. I think it will be an intriguing book for the armchair traveller, and if the world has not changed too much, post-pandemic could serve as a travel guide for those who, like me, enjoyed his shows and want to follow in his footsteps. Publishing Date: April 20, 2021. #WorldTravel #AnthonyBourdainAndLaurieWoolever #TravelGuide #HarperCollinsCanada #EccoBooks #bookstagrammer #bookstagram ( )
  nmgski | Apr 20, 2021 |
World Travel is a very unusual book that is hard to categorize correctly. Subtitled An Irreverent Guide, the volume presents a country-by-country summary of more than forty of the places that the late Anthony Bourdain journeyed to over the years while making his various television shows. Before discussing its contents further, it is probably useful to understand how this project came to fruition in the first place. As Laurie Woolever, the book’s co-author, writes in the Introduction, Bourdain had the initial vision to create a guidebook based on his extensive travels, but the two only had one brief meeting to discuss the idea before his untimely demise. So, the finished product is really the result of Woolever fleshing out virtually all of the details of what began as a fairly embryonic concept.

The result is a very odd book that lacks a clear focus. In particular, it is really not useable as a guidebook, at least not in the traditional sense. The information it provides in each country-specific chapter is far too limited to actually sustain someone’s travels. Instead, what is presented are a few dining tips (for the places Bourdain visited for the shows, of course), along with detailed instructions of how to get from the airport into whatever major city where he was staying. Far less frequent are mentions of hotels or other sights worth seeing in the area. In fact, when hotels are noted, they are the ones that Bourdain himself used and they tend to be high-end luxury places in the $400-500/night range. (Tony clearly like to stay in style, which is really out of keeping with his “man of the people” style of eating and probably why his accommodations were seldom featured on the shows themselves.)

Where the book shines is in reading Bourdain’s own thoughts about the places he visited, which is achieved by inserting parts of his transcribed monologues from each of the respective episodes. It was a pleasure to relive these moments; Bourdain was a wonderful writer as well as a deeply insightful observer of the world around him, and these passages capture that quite well. Unfortunately, one thing that is uniformly missing in the book are the times when he would go to a person’s home and sit down for a family meal. (For me these were always the best part of any show and cast Bourdain at his gracious and appreciative best.) In this same spirit, the volume also includes a somewhat random collection of essays by friends, colleagues, or relatives, but these often read more like personal tributes than anything else.

So, what is the proper overall assessment of this project? I am really torn in answering that question. On one hand, the information it contains is disappointingly shallow and it is really unfocused in its execution—I simply do not need that much detailed information about airport transportation options, which is likely to be outdated in a very short time. On the other, it really was great to revisit some memorable places in Bourdain’s presence again and be reminded of just how much we all are missing with his passing. I cannot imagine that this was very close to the final product he originally envisioned, but World Travel is a book that should resonate with many of his fans. However, for those looking for an introduction to just how great a food and travel writer Bourdain could be, a volume such as A Cook’s Tour or No Reservations would be a better choice. ( )
1 voter browner56 | Dec 1, 2020 |
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