Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Ridiculous Race

Television comedy writers Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran challenged each other to a race around the world without airplanes (one heading west, the other going east), with the winner getting a bottle of 40-year-old Scotch (mmmmm!). The Ridiculous Race is an often hilarious and sometimes surprisingly poignant travelogue about their adventures.

The book shifts between the authors as each tells his own story. This is a good way to present the racing aspect (mercifully, they don't switch back and forth too often). Of the two, I preferred Hely's writing, particularly because he tells more history about the places he visits, which is important for understanding the people he meets. Chandrasekaran's experiences tend to be more superficial, although he has his deeper moments.

A few Amazon reviewers complained that the authors didn't take the race seriously enough. That is true (they do call it ridiculous), but I think the end result is far more entertaining. Besides, racing around the world without taking a little time out to see things would be such a waste. Others say the authors are immature, but heck, they're comedy writers in their late 20s.

The Ridiculous Race is fun to read. Sometimes it's even laugh-out-loud funny. Unfortunately, I can't get too specific without spoiling it. If you enjoy humorous travel-adventure stories, then this book is worth checking out.

Current tally: 15 books finished, 9 books acquired

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