Unbiased, Independent Guidebook Review (that I co-wrote): LP Tuscany & Umbria

tuscanybook.jpgFor those of you that weren’t waiting in line at midnight, Lonely Planet’s latest edition of Tuscany & Umbria hit the shelves recently and through the magic of sub-standard mail delivery I just got my hands on my free author copies a few days ago.

That’s right, author copies. Why? Because I helped write that bitch, that’s why. Pages 213 through 308 to be exact.

As I’ve confessed here repeatedly, my being thrust into the brass ring of guidebook writing jobs was the direct result of an untimely bacterial lung infection (not mine) and using up about a decade of banked karma by conveniently being in Italy and doing nothing particularly important at the time. Seeing as how I was a sub and the regular (infected) author’s text was in such great shape, I hesitated to alter too much, but vast quantities of coffee during that panicky write-up interval and my uncontainable goofball humor repeatedly got the best of me.

Some of my more notable zings that somehow made it through editing include:

• Used the phrase “stupid Florence” (p237, 2nd column, last paragraph)
• Compared the rough port city of Livorno to a grade school girl bully (p213)
• Used the phrase “screw-the-Pope” (p295, 2nd column, 2nd paragraph)
• Slipped in a sarcasm-rich box text about Saint Catherine of Siena, entitled “Mom! Catherine’s Consecrating Her Virginity to Jesus Again!!” (p245) that eventually inspired the post “Good for nothing kid or future saint?”

Also, I must say that I hit the Eating sections hard. I heroically managed to dine in nearly 70 Tuscan restaurants during my 31 days on the road for this guidebook. There were times that I reeked so much of truffle oil that dogs came running out of the hills and gave chase as I drove by. I spent over 150 euros on gelato alone. I drank enough wine to earn a lifetime membership in the Pope Paul III Wine Appreciation Club.

I’ve had precious little free time to do more than skim my chapters and admire the “smoochy” picture of me in the front “On The Road” color section, but I know for a fact that my co-authors are all geniuses, so their sections are probably at least as good, if not better than mine – minus copious snarky comments about popes and Florence.

There’s already been a flood of positive reviews about the book online. Here are a few quotes:

“This guidebook changed my life. I’ve arranged to be legally wed to it.” – Leif Pettersen, Amazon.com

“I don’t know what’s better, this guidebook or porn.” – User “love_of_your_leif”, Travelers That Love Porn Dot Com

“This guidebook is what you would get if you took DNA from Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Michelle Hunziker, put it all in an incubator with 452 blank pages for nine months, then fed it with Diablo Cody’s breast milk.” – Genetics Society of America Book Review

In closing, having taken all factors under careful, impartial consideration, I declare that this is the greatest guidebook in the history of the universe. Twelve out of five stars, plus the KB Seal of Pure Genius Awesomeness™. Get it now before the first printing sells out and you can only get copies on eBay for $2,000, sold by some company calling itself Leiftime Book Brokers.

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