Media Guy's Pop Pick

This Week: Mrs. Mortimer

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An uncharacteristically generous Media Guy praises a pop-cultural gem.
The one travel book you'll want to read this summer.
The one travel book you'll want to read this summer.

In time for summer, "The Clumsiest People in Europe, Or: Mrs. Mortimer's Bad-Tempered Guide to the Victorian World," has just been re-released. It received rave reviews in hardback, but I'm grateful for the paperback, because a whole new audience will pack this vastly entertaining, slim $10 book in their carry-on baggage and gain amazing non-insight into where they're headed.

Favell Lee Mortimer, you see, was a best-selling Victorian children's author who wrote three travel books, covering scores of countries she never actually visited. Todd Pruzan rediscovered the lost volumes and decided to collect her finest, most outrageously Xenophobic bon mots into one vile volume.

The book starts being hilariously scabrous right from the table of contents -- "SCOTLAND: You would not like the sound of their bag-pipes; FRANCE: They like being smart, but are not very clean; NORWAY: People who are dainty must not come to Norway" -- and never lets up. Happy travels!
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