Sunday, April 17, 2011

New National Park Books

I recently purchased two new National Park books. The first one is Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West, which is the second edition of my favorite general National Park guidebook. This new edition has some differences from the first edition, with the disadvantages outweighing the advantages. The photos and maps in the new edition are all in color, which is nice but really rather unnecessary. I got a big kick out of the straight-out-of-the-60s "In Full Color" on the cover. I do like the new feature on how geysers and other thermal features work. Unfortunately, the book is noticeably thicker and heavier than the first edition, which is a big disadvantage if you want to take it along with you. The pages are also stiffer, which makes it harder to flip through. In summary, the new edition is nicer if you are sitting in your La-Z-Boy dreaming about the parks, but not as useful as a book to take along with you.

The other new book is National Geographic's The 10 Best of Everything: National Parks. It is not a guidebook, but rather a book to bring with you to the aforementioned La-Z-Boy. I have not had a chance to read it yet, but flipping through it shows that it is pretty much what you would expect from the title. It looks like it will be a good read. The book is arranged into nine categories: Natural Wonders; By Land; By Sea, Lake, and River; Seasonal Enjoyment; Wildlife; Learning Experiences; Discovering History; Sleeping and Eating; and Other Wonders. Each of these sections has anywhere from 4 to 16 subsections, each with the 10 best. Examples under Natural Wonders include Landmarks, Waterfalls, Caves, and Glaciers. Examples under By Land include Day Hikes, Walk-up Summits, Canyon Hikes, and Day Hikes with a Twist. The authors also supply lists of their own favorite National Parks. Looking at the book as I write this makes me want to abandon the book I am currently reading (China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom by Richard Baum) and start on this one right away!