World’s Best Cities (Review)

Even though I don’t own a coffee table, I sometimes love to indulge in big coffee table books.  Some of the best large, colorful books of photographs come from National Geographic.  When I encountered World’s Best Cities–Celebrating 220 Great Destinations, I was eager to bring it home.

The book is four and two thirds pounds of urban boosterism that is a tribute to metropolitan lifestyles.  I didn’t mind that it is a more than 300 page bucket list. Only scant attention is paid to the histories and back stories of each city, but that’s OK because World’s Best Cities is tourist porn of the highest sort.  Each page seems designed to fire up wanderlust.

As I took in each city’s photographs and description, I found myself constantly reprioritizing my personal bucketlist. Just as soon as I had moved Rio de Janiero up to number one, Moscow soon bumped it down a bit.  Then Sydney enticed my curiosity only to be replaced by Berlin.

World’s Best Cities is loosely arranged by region, but like most coffee table type books, it doesn’t matter whether or not you read/browse in the order of presentation. When I checked the book out of the Norfolk (Nebraska) Public Library, I wasn’t expecting a scholarly thesis on urban life.  Indeed, such descriptions are not to be found within the ?????????????????????????????????????????pages of the book, and I was not at all disappointed. I was left with only two major regrets: 1. I don’t have enough funds to visit many of these cities. 2. I don’t have enough time to visit them all, in depth.

National Geographic’s newest city book is a showcase for the usual destinations like Tokyo, New York, London, and Paris. It also highlights “up and comers” such as Minneapolis, Nairobi, and Jakarta. The photos draw the reader in. The text describes the basic nature of each city, what feature makes it unique, and a few items of local, special cuisine.Cities-02Seattle

Many chapters are presented by a local spokesperson who gives a personal spin regarding her or his relationship to their city.  For example, Ignazio Marino describes the many historical places he enjoys in Rome.  He plugs his favorite eateries and shopping stops.  Joel Giberovitch tells of the pride he feels about Montreal and the pleasure he and his family derive from the local restaurants and cultural offerings.

In particular, the Cuban actress, Iliam Suárez piqued my old curiosity about Havana.  Her listings of architecture, culture, and historical places make me want to buy a boarding pass to fly to this newly official allowable destination. If I ever make it to la Habana, I hope to at least get Suárez’s autograph.

In short, World’s Best Cities is a collection of photo galleries, light information, personal testimonials, and tourist temptations.

This big book of gorgeous photographs reminded me of my youthful past as an urban explorer.  It has also rekindled the desire to investigate many more cities in ways other than as a tourist. Now, I need to find out how soon and the means to do so.

{ World’s Best Cities–Celebrating 220 Great Destinations; 335 pages; published October 28, 2014 by the National Geographic Society; ISBN: 978-1-4262-1378-6 }

mini-moiThe Blue Jay of Happiness likes what Charles Abrams had to say about cities. “A city  has values as well as slums, excitement as well as conflict, a personality that has not yet been obliterated by its highways and gas stations.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
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3 Responses to World’s Best Cities (Review)

  1. Sartenada says:

    What are criterions for those best cities? We people love and need different things. Some examples: Some love to be incognito and in small towns it is impossible. In small towns, You can meet persons, which know, talk with them, go to bistros, to do sports with them and feel safe with You friends. In big cities, people surround you, but You can feel to be alone.

    Well, life is not so simple, because some needs buses, trams, undergrounds and even cars, some not if their work is near to their home. Some love libraries and use them, some never visit them. How waste management is organized? Are big markets ideal, or are small shops better, if they are better, then to whom? What about air pollutions? Small towns against big cities; which win? What about logistics inside cities? How easily gods can be transported to stores?

    In addition to criterions, You need to define the word best!

    I am just old uneducated senior citizen, but my brains still work.

    Happy New Year!

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