Once a month, I put together the books I’ve read into a single review post. Alternatively, see plenty of previous book reviews over here, or see how I rate books.

Also, a quick disclaimer: review copies are typically provided for free, and links may be affiliate links. These reviews cover the version of the book I read, not necessarily the version that’s currently available. A newer or updated version may be available – check for yourself using the links below.

Gluten-Free Restaurants Around the World – Happy Celiac

December 2017 book reviews: gluten-free restaurants, Maya sites, and motorcycle adventures ()

By some counts, about 3,000,000 people in the US have Celiac’s disease — an autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Millions of others have an allergy to wheat, and millions more have claimed going gluten-free has benefited their health. Happy Celiac presents what must have been a monumental research challenge — over 1,000 dedicated gluten-free restaurants around the world are listed across 35 countries.

The big thing to note is that these are “100% dedicated gluten-free restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, food trucks, breweries, ice cream shops, butchers”, and more, not just places with gluten-free options. It’s organized alphabetically by country, then province/state, then city. Load this up on your tablet or phone, then get going.

This is about as straightforward a book as it gets — you know exactly what you’re buying, no two ways about it. I wish the URL’s were linked instead of basic text, and that the text was a bit larger, but that isn’t much to complain about.

Recommended.

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The Maya Sites – Hidden Treasures of the Rain Forest – Christian Schoen

December 2017 book reviews: gluten-free restaurants, Maya sites, and motorcycle adventures ()

With over 100 color pictures and 14 maps, the Maya sites never looked so nice. Charting a circular path through the eastern tip of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, the author offers three courses for the reader to follow — classic, exotic, and adventurous. Unlike most other travel guides, Christian eschews the “long lists of hotels and restaurants” and “gadgetry” found in traditional travel guides. Instead, he encourages the reader to “pay attention to where the locals go and follow them” and ask about accommodations once on-site.

After a brief rundown of the three courses, the meat of the book offers details on the sites themselves. Some great photos and good descriptions of the history on display combine for a fine book, whether you’re an armchair traveler or ready to venture forth yourself.

This is a great example of an adventurer-turned-author, and the exact sort of guidebook I’d buy myself if I were headed to the area. That said, it’s not perfectly polished, has a few easily-dismissed typos, and uses a fairly basic template to get it ready for print. The hand-drawn maps harken back to a time before professional cartography software, while the descriptions are unmistakably written by someone who’s been there. If you’ve read a traditional guide book in the last few years, you know how pithy descriptions can be when trying to cram in hundreds of places into a single guidebook. Christian’s work here has but a single goal, and it performs admirably.

Recommended.

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Maiden Voyage – The Prequel to the Adventure of a Lifetime – Tim Notier

December 2017 book reviews: gluten-free restaurants, Maya sites, and motorcycle adventures ()

Take an epic motorcycle trip and see where life takes you — that’s how the story goes. The author’s connection to his bike, a Yamaha Raider 1900cc, is evidenced from the tattoo “on the lower right side of my ribcage”, and the first chapter goes into some detail of how that choice was made.

From here, their trip heads west through the USA, starting from the Chicago area and heading towards the Rocky Mountains. The author and his girlfriend, Marisa, take the bike across the US chapter-by-chapter, and each chapter starts with a scan of a Google Maps printoff, complete with handwritten notes. They tend to go with the flow on their trip, which becomes necessary when there’s snow in Wyoming’s mountains in late June… Tim’s proposal is a nice highlight, and their interactions with other travelers makes for some worthy diversions from the main storyline.

There are elements that anyone that’s taken a roadtrip can appreciate, such as learning to listen to locals, preparing for the weather, and being awed by the beauty found as you travel. Plan loosely and be open to adventure and opportunity.The story continues on his blog, but this prequel sets up the story of an American couple taking a very American adventure through some wonderful sight of the western US.

There’s nothing particularly new about this adventure, but it makes for a worthy first book in this author’s repertoire. The reader can slowly see the urge to travel building throughout the book, and I suspect the wanderlust will be contagious.

Recommended.

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Also published on Medium.