The World’s Great Wonders (Review)

I’m a sucker for beautiful picture books that are about more than the pictures, alone. That’s why when I stumbled across The World’s Great Wonders–How They Were Made & Why They Are Amazing by Jheni Osman I simply had to bring it home. Wonders-bookcover

At the risk of adding to my bucket list, I was tempted by the attractive, medium sized book’s presentation. Since I’ve already traveled to a few of the wonders, I also wanted to compare notes with the author. Because the The World’s Greatest Wonders is published by Lonely Planet, I figured I would not be disappointed.

Thankfully, the book isn’t one of those “top ten lists” that crowd the Internet and book shops. Nor is it yet another presentation of the standard “Seven Wonders of the World” theme. That said, some of those expected “wonders” are found within the covers of this book. Osman has two categories, 20 natural and 30 man-made sites.

The reader isn’t overwhelmed with many photos of each “wonder”. There is usually one or a few that entice the eyes.  There are also artistic renderings that detail geographic or architectural explanations of each place. Each site’s chapter also includes thumbnail photos and short descriptions of similar places, elsewhere. The reader is also given a list of other interesting spots in the vicinity of each “wonder”.  Small maps are placed throughout the pages of the book.

The World’s Great Wonders is a reasonable guide for the armchair tourist. There are well written back stories about each featured place Wonders-01and the diagrams help explain the nuts and bolts of the sites. Because Lonely Planet specializes in travel publications, the armchair tourist might be tempted to become an actual tourist by the suggestions of what else can be done during a visit to any of the places.

The positives are many, but I did experience some twinges of disappointment. Since many of us are caught up in the global economic downturn, we can’t afford to travel to many, if any of these amazing places. I had expected more information and photography. I’ve been spoiled by Lonely Planet’s other books that provide a wealth of important and interesting background for travelers. I expected more than concise topic skimming.

While Osman describes her own reactions to the places she visited, I never did find out why they are amazing. Then, I remembered that “amazing” is a vague concept.  I wasn’t amazed because of the presentation. My amazement about these places was already present before I discovered this book. It’s no surprise that most of us feel a sense of awe and The Pyramids of Giza tourism destinationscuriosity when we think about the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt or the Grand Canyon of Arizona, USA. I wasn’t given a tempting nudge to actually buy a boarding pass and make hotel reservations to any of the spots.

I did find that The World’s Great Wonders is a satisfying book for bedtime reading. The topics are interesting enough to engage the mind but not too challenging in that I wouldn’t feel too stimulated before dropping off to sleep. I had hopes that my dreams might take me to some of these “wonders”. It’s too bad my subconscious didn’t play along.

I don’t think the book needs to be read cover to cover, but I did anyway. A person could just as easily cherry pick and read about the places that seem most interesting. In either case, the book is a more than adequate resource. I came away with more knowledge about these “wonders” than I had before picking up the book. It’s a pleasant read that can trigger

{ The World’s Great Wonders: How They Were Made & Why They Are
Amazing by Jheni Osman; 256 pages; published March 2014 by
Lonely Planet. ISBN: 978-1-74321-430-5 }

1978veryhappymeThe Blue Jay of Happiness relates to Gustave Flaubert. “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”


About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Books, cultural highlights, Entertainment, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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