Most Beautiful Books

Two books with most beautiful in the title: one focuses on Paris and the other covers Greece. While those two words may grab attention, a reader is bound to face disappointment because of the high expectations these superlatives evoke.

The Most Beautiful Walk In The World, by John Baxter, Harper Perennial 2011 is a ramble through space and time. It starts in Paris but touches on several other locales as well. The author begins by praising walking. Then relates an incident involving his French in-laws, who are surprisingly inept at cooking the annual holiday meal.

Eventually Baxter is invited by a friend to be a tour guide, replacing a tour guide who failed to engage his audience. Initially reluctant, he performs better than he expected, beginning a new career in his adopted city. It’s a job that requires flexibility and creativity.

Baxter proves seems well-suited for the challenges, dispensing amusing stories and offbeat historical information to delight both the tourists he guides through Paris and those fortunate to discover his book.

The Most Beautiful Villages Of Greece, text by Mark Ottaway and photographs by Hugh Palmer, Thames & Hudson, 1998 suggests more than it delivers. I expected stunning images revealing delightful architectural gems. Perhaps in the style of Architectural Digest. However, what turned up is more reminiscent of National Geographic. While the type size in the paperback edition is rather small, I managed to read it without a magnifying glass.

The book contains photos and text about villages in the northern and southern mainland as well as islands in both the Ionian and Aegean seas. I was surprised by the tower houses of the Mani and learned a few things about the geography and history of the country.

It’s a good introduction to prospective travelers or anyone that collects all things Greek.

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

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