Sunday, September 26, 2010;
101 PLACES NOT TO SEE
BEFORE YOU DIE
By Catherine Price
Harper. 249 pp.
Catherine Price, a blogger, traveler and freelance writer, realized a little while ago that "the last thing I need to read is a book that pits my desire for adventure against the time pressure of mortality." Books such as "100 Places to See in Your Lifetime" and "101 Places to Have Sex Before You Die," she concluded, stressed her out. Her solution was to write an antithesis, a compilation of experiences and situations readers never need relish: hence "101 Places Not to See Before You Die."
Much-visited entries on her avoid list include Euro Disney, Times Square on New Year's Eve, Ireland's Blarney Stone, Stonehenge and the entire state of Nevada. Many of the entries are weird and funny ("Any Place Whose Primary Claim to Fame Is a Large Fiberglass Thing"), but some aren't, such as Hell, an AA Meeting When You're Drunk and the Inside of a Spotted Hyena's Birth Canal.
The book is seemingly well researched, so you can take her word for it when Price says you can skip a Giant Room Filled With Human Crap (a sludge-recycling plant in Southern California); the Testicle Festival, where revelers chow down on Rocky Mountain Oysters, which, Price clarifies, are not a "high-altitude mollusk"; and Your Boss's Bedroom.
-- T. Rees Shapiro