Book Review: 101 Places Not to See Before You Die

Don't go there. Seriously, don't go there. Wondering where to take your next road trip or how to squander those frequent flyer miles? Instead of suggestions for where you should visit, how about a list of places to avoid?

Catherine Price has cobbled together a host of hotspots (not) on the road less traveled, and best they stay that way. If you're one of those travelers who prefers to go off the beaten path you need 101 Places Not to See Before You Die.

Some of these locations will require a passport and some simply an overactive imagination. Price has listed some actual places in her travelogue of decidedly untropical locales, and some she’s made up or can’t prove exist. Such as “The Room Where Spam Subject Lines are Created” or “Hell.”

Price is fairly certain that there must be some staff lounge somewhere with too much Mountain Dew and three hyper guys thinking up intricate ways English can be manipulated to capture your attention while scanning your email. And she doesn’t know about you, but she has no plans to visit Hell or any of its circles any time soon.

Price, has, however, visited a number of real destinations that were less than desirable. Like the “Tokyo Summerland Wave Pool.” There are so many people in the wave pool in August, it's like taking a bath with half of Nagoya. Or “Any Hotel that Used to be a Prison.” There are more of these than you may think. Price stayed at the Null Stern Hotel in Switzerland, which used to be a bomb shelter. Her evaluation? Iron bars just aren't intriguing decor no matter what the concierge tells you, and the prison-quality food isn’t tasty.

Some locations have been on the traveling bucket lists of many turistas Price makes an effort to have a look at them. Places like Euro Disney outside Paris, France (dubbed "cultural Chernobyl" by a Parisienne), the Blarney Stone (lie on your back, tilt your head, and pucker up, buttercup), or Times Square in the heart of New York City on New Year's Eve (no food, no bar, no restrooms, no moving, not even an inch).

And it goes without saying that you don't want to visit “A North Korean Gulag” for any extended period of time.

Face it, you're destined to visit the Rockies, Key West, or somewhere off the coast of Maine.

About the Author

Kaite Stover

Kaite Mediatore Stover is the Head of Readers’ Services for the Kansas City Public Library. She is a regular guest on KCUR's Book Doctors segment and moderator of The Kansas City Star’s FYI Book Club. Kaite has contributed to Booklist, Public Libraries, Reference & User Services Quarterly, and Library Journal. She can tap dance, read tarot cards, and doesn’t bite.