August book reviews: exploring Arizona, becoming a ‘jet-setting’ copywriter, and more
Also, a quick disclaimer: review copies were provided or downloaded for free, and links may be affiliate links. These reviews cover the version of the book I received, not necessarily the version that’s currently available. A newer or updated version may be available — check for yourself using the links below.
The Jet-setting Copywriter — Kevin Casey
I don’t buy many books, e-book or otherwise. It’s even rarer that a book I buy is relevant to the monthly review post. The book starts with a reality check of a freelance writer sitting in a hammock by a beach (“It’s a fantasy. It’s a photo shoot.”). It cuts to the chase from there, from advocating LinkedIn for doing business to being direct and putting yourself out there. There are certainly plenty of places needing good writers, so there’s no shortage of jobs. Focusing on meeting people’s / companies’ needs instead of adding all the bells and whistles comes off as more professional, anyway.
It’s tightly focused, features some personal anecdotes, and emphasizes why he does it: to travel when he’s not working. To be sure, you don’t need to travel to want to be a professional copywriter. His “30 tips for becoming a better freelance writer” is the only section that focuses on the writing side of things — a reminder that an average writer good at promoting themselves will do better than a great writer that can’t promote themselves… A final section on location independence offers plenty of resources, though all are easily found with Google searches.
The author has some solid answers based on what’s worked for him, even when that means going against the flow or not doing things the same way as everyone else. There’s enough here to get you started, but don’t expect to have your hand held in the process. At 81 pages long, there’s no room for that. Get it and get started.
Your Handbook Guide to Planning a Backpacking Trip Abroad — Ashley Deppeler
Nope, this is not a repeat from last month’s book by Ashley. As you might guess from the title, the goal here is to plan your backpacking trip abroad, while laying out the pros and cons as she goes.
There’s plenty of worthy info here and little fluff, though I can’t help but wonder how many people are planning a backpacking trip six months in advance. If that’s you, you’ll discover this guide breaks down the necessary tasks by month. It’s more detailed than a checklist, and easy enough to take in the whole book in a single sitting and developing a plan from there.
There’s plenty of stuff to learn for people taking their first trip abroad, If you haven’t yet picked up a book of this type, this is a fine one to choose.
Phoenix and Tucson: 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, & How to Fit In — Gigi Griffis
I’ve reviewed one of Gigi’s books before, and overall was relatively pleased with the layout and advice. “Think of this as a supplement to your traditional guidebooks,” she says in the introductions. It’s not here to tell you where to stay or replace the guidebook’s description of local history. It’s aimed at people wanting to add the local flavor to their trips instead of hitting the same touristy hotspots.
On this, it delivers. There’s plenty of details on hiking trails from an experienced local guide, local dishes to try from a chef, and a broad variety of opinions from other locals. My chief complaint is that this series orbits around its contributors, as opposed to organizing things by category. This means you’ll be looking through several places in the book for their food ideas, and several others for advice on where to go.
Overall, this book is a great reminder that the US has plenty of local flavors, and shows two of Arizona’s major cities in a great light. Consider this a book you read carefully before your trip, taking notes as you go, to get the most out of it.
READY, SET, CRUISE!: The Cruise Tips Book (Cruise Ship Travel Guide 1) — Krystal Waterz
Krystal. Waterz. LOL. Yes, it looks to be the author’s pen name, as opposed to some random statement about the waters surrounding a cruise ship. I wasn’t sure how seriously to take this book, but away we go…
Gearing you up for your first cruise is the theme, and the author gets there in the end. I’m usually interested in reading an author’s personal anecdotes (the easiest way to ensure a story they’re telling is one they’ve actually undertaken), and there are ample stories from their own cruise ship travels. Plenty of photos and worthy pro-tips exude experience, and I enjoyed how the writer alternated between tips and personal stories.
While some of the advice boils down to simply being prepared and knowing what to expect, I appreciate the Ports of Call chapter for some reviews on what to see and do. Chapters on eating, drinking, staying safe, and so on complete the book It’s simply done, but well done — a great resource for any first-time cruiser.
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Originally published at One Weird Globe.