Friday, November 30, 2012

BC2012: Welcome to Horneytown, North Carolina, Population: 15 by Quentin Parker

This book describes itself as "An A to Z Tour through 201 of the World's Weirdest & Wildest Places", but mostly it's about places with suggestive or weird names. I bought this shortly after it was published two years ago, but I stopped reading it because the format annoyed me. Each place gets one page, but then each page has a sidebar about where the place is, how it got its name, and what you should know about it. These questions are answered in the text, so the sidebars are mostly redundant. I know people have short attention spans these days, but is a sidebar summary of three to six paragraphs of text really necessary?

Parker includes my personal favorite, Kentucky's Big Bone Lick State Park, as well as Hell, MI, which I've visited by car and bicycle, and Cumming, GA, where my best friend used to live. Some of this book overlaps with 101 Places Not to See Before You Die: Wall Drug in Wall, SD; the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA; Fucking, Austria (whose residents voted against renaming); Dildo, Newfoundland (though Price suggests attending "Historic Dildo Days"); and Area 51/Rachel, NV.

Aside from the format complaint, this book is okay. A lot of the humor is on a Beavis & Butt-head level, but what would you expect someone to write about towns like Cunter, Switzerland; Dickshooter, ID; Middelfart, Denmark; Wanker's Corner, OR; French Lick, IN; Humptulips, WA; or Fingringhoe, England? The truth is that many of these places are tiny towns with little to mention aside from the name. I get the impression that Parker hasn't visited most of these places (if any), so he loses points for that. But if you're looking for something to snicker at, this is a fun book to read in small doses.

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