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World Travel: An Irreverent Guide

– tekijä: Anthony Bourdain

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1395153,256 (3.44)-

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näyttää 5/5
My review of this book can be found on my Youtube Vlog at:


Enjoy! ( )
  booklover3258 | Jul 15, 2021 |

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and editorialized updates on the restaurants and places he talked about--which in themselves may already be out of date.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 ääni browner56 | Dec 1, 2020 |
This is a puzzle book of sorts. It’s mainly built on an idea that Bourdain and Woolever—the latter of who is a writer and editor who’s written Appetites with Bourdain and spent a decade assisting him—had where they would collate Bourdain’s experiences as a travelling eater in his TV shows into book form.

It was never my intention to be a reporter, a critic, an advocate. It was also never my intention to provide audiences with “everything” they needed to know about a place—or even a balanced or comprehensive overview. I am a storyteller. I go places, I come back. I tell you how the places made me feel. Through the use of powerful tools like great photography, skillful editing, sound mixing, color correction, music (which is often composed specifically for the purpose) and brilliant producers, I can—in the very best cases—make you feel a little bit like I did at the time. At least I hope so. It’s a manipulative process. It’s also a deeply satisfying one.

Bourdain was highly passionate about food. He also loved people, music, some culture, an old-world view of rock ‘n’ roll, and seemed to try to be a better person; upon revisiting foods, peoples, and cities, he reevaluated his old self and tried to come to grips with things. Where he’d been a full-blown drug addict who, after having attended rehab, wrote funny and glammy stuff about drugs and the cool life of a ‘rock chef’, he later wrote truly introspective and contemplative stuff.

This book consists of soundbites from different episodes of Bourdain’s TV series, paired with geographical info á la Lonely Planet guides; the book is updated with current information on all of the restaurants, hotels, and weirder places that Bourdain talked about, containing tidbits down to how much you pay for a night at any hotel.

The book also contains at-times fascinating parts about the series from others than Woolever and Bourdain, for example, Jen Agg speaks of what her restaurant became famous for, post-TV:

The camera operators planned their angles and shots for the next day, while Tom and I made small talk, into which he slipped, oh-so-casually, “I heard you guys do bone luges here.” I had no idea what that was, so he clarified: After scraping and sopping up the last of the glistening marrow out of halved and roasted veal bones, you pick something like sherry or bourbon, and hold the narrow end of the bone to your mouth, as you would with a beer funnel, while a game pal pours the shot down through the wider end, and into your mouth.

I was skeptical, very skeptical. I feared appearing on a show I loved as, essentially, a shooter girl—a fear that turned out to be entirely warranted. I also worried that if we did this whole bone luge thing on the show, we’d be doing it for guests, forever and ever, in an Edge of Tomorrow–style loop. I wasn’t wrong about that, either. So I expressed a fair and reasonable amount of doubt. We’d never served anyone a bone luge before, I said. It wasn’t, like, our thing. At all. But Tom was adamant, and so, on shoot day, I played along, if a bit unhappily, pouring bourbon down a still-warm marrow bone into Anthony Bourdain’s mouth. I was incredibly uncomfortable, which is very rare for me. But I did it.

I watched the episode once, when it originally aired in 2012, and only recently watched it again. I was happy to be reminded that the only thing I said on camera was, “I feel like a shooter girl, and it’s actually just a little humiliating.” With the perspective of time, though, I have to agree with Tom’s instinct to insert this bit of bone luge weirdness. It crystalized the segment, was such a huge hit, and, to be completely honest, we made a lot of money off supplemental bone luges. Tony never knew that it was a manufactured bit, and, frankly, it became such a part of Hoof lore that it doesn’t matter. Time really is a flat circle.

I mention it because fabrication is part of so many series. Bourdain never knew about that, it seems, and it doesn’t really matter.

One of the lovely things about this book is how it serves as a perfect reminder of how things were, historically speaking. Woolever writes of how Bourdain took time to prepare before visiting a place—be it in the USA or another country—and read a lot about it beforehand.

After a Finnish fan created a Facebook page that garnered 100,000 votes for Tony’s coming to Finland, he went:

Helsinki, Finland. What I knew about the place wasn’t, shall we say, encouraging. I knew the Finns were tough people, tough enough to fight off Nazis and Russians. Tough enough to handle the cold, harsh climate, the long, depressing winters, the short, binge-drinking summers. I knew it was a place not long on easy smiles, or even eye contact, for that matter.

One thing that strikes me about Bourdain’s style of writing is that it somewhat matches that of the makers of The Wire; it’s not completely strange, then, that Bourdain was invited to write part of Treme, the TV series by the gang behind The Wire.

Their style of writing spills back and forth over Bourdain’s lingo; it’s not surprising to know Hunter S. Thompson was a major literary figure in Bourdain’s life, as was Charles Bukowski. It works most of the time and provides Bourdain with the style for which he was known, slightly derivative, as it were.

I think Bourdain became a better writer with time; the older he became, the more he cut to the chase and didn’t dance around. He embraced the world more and more. An example of this:

In 1975, the newly independent Mozambique looked forward to a brighter future. But this was not to be. Yet rather than giving up after enduring a sixteen-year civil war—one of Africa’s most brutal and senseless—the country picked itself up and began the enormous, daunting task of rebuilding, well, everything, from the ground up.

There are very few places left in this world like Mozambique. The climate is nice. The people are really nice and the food is extraordinary.

Yet today, Mozambique is barely a pit stop on the tourist trail. It was with all this in mind that I arrived on my first visit to this East African country of twenty-three million people.

Mozambique, it should be pointed out, is a darling of the World Bank. It’s seen as an African success story, and the fact is, things are good, very good, here, compared with how things have been in the past. Five hundred years of truly appalling colonialism, eighteen years of enthusiastic but inept Communism, and a brutal and senseless sixteen-year civil war ending less than twenty years ago left Mozambique with a devastated social fabric, a shattered economy, and only the memory of an infrastructure.

Shockingly, people here, throughout the country, after being relentlessly screwed by history, are just as relentlessly nice.

It’s fun to read about places where both he and I have eaten, as with Quimet y Quimet, in Barcelona:

If I lived across the street from this place, I’d quit my job and just hang out here all day, until all the money was gone. Quimet & Quimet is a four-generations-old tapas bar in the El Poble-Sec neighborhood of Barcelona, which relies heavily on that Catalonian tapas bar staple of canned food.

There’s an extensive wine selection, along with cocktails and beer, but the real draw are the montaditos, or canape-sized open-faced sandwiches populated with the likes of cipriones (stuffed baby squid), anchovies, mussels, tuna belly, sea urchin, Spanish and French cheeses, pickled vegetables and more, all prepared to order behind the bar—there is no kitchen on site, and it’s a tight space, with room for only about 20 guests at a time.

QUIMET & QUIMET: Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, 08004 Barcelona, Tel +34 93 442 31 42, www.quimetquimet.com (tapas 2–18 euros/US$2.25–$20)

All in all, this book is quite interesting even though, at its worst, it’s fragmented. But if you’re looking for a rocky version of a Lonely Planet guide, this is it. ( )
1 ääni pivic | Jun 12, 2020 |
näyttää 5/5
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