BOOK: "Don't Let the World Pass You By! 52 Reasons to Have a Passport," by Sara Benson, et al. (Lonely Planet, $10)

TARGET AUDIENCE: The travel risk-averse; more likely to be bought by travel enthusiasts to give to wavering significant others.

Contemplating Lonely Planet's September "National Passport Month" promotion, eight of its authors present 52 three-page briefs in support of why you should travel outside the United States. Most of them make sense: As noted in Reason 7, travel obviously isn't very risky; look how cheap travel insurance is. But Reason 13 is a little dubious -- your American accent makes you incredibly sexy to others? And Reason 15 -- you'll lose weight -- is premised in part on your catching Montezuma's Revenge.

Some of the reasons are simplistic ("After you've spent time with another country's citizens, you can't imagine waging war on them") and others are unnecessarily critical of this country (can't you promote Denmark without putting down Des Moines?). But experienced travelers will agree with most of them. Travel to other countries and "you see how one place relates to another, and another and another. The entire earth becomes a version of six degrees of separation."

-- Jerry V. Haines