Thursday, November 7, 2013

Visit Sunny Chernobyl by Andrew Blackwell

"Tell folks that you're making a grand tour of polluted places, and they tend to get excited. A surprising number of people say they want to come along, and, although this turns out to be mostly talk, it's gratifying to know the market is there. Most of all, people want to know about the list. How am I choosing my destinations?"

 Blackwell's destinations include the ruined nuclear reactor of Chernobyl, the oil sand mines north of Fort McMurray, Canada, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, just to name a few. I bet you're wondering why anyone would want to read a book about any of these places, but Blackwell's book is a surprisingly witty and entertaining travel memoir. I also learned a lot about some of the world's most polluted environments. Blackwell has that enviable journalistic way of writing that informs, but doesn't bore. Not only is he adventurous; he's also insightful:
"My mission was to find the world's most polluted places...Only if I found those ecosystems of despair would I be able to implement my conceit of contrarian ecotourism and compose my great elegy for the pre-human world. But instead of finding degraded ecosystems that I could treat as though they were beautiful, I was just finding beauty. The Earth had gotten there first. I went looking for a radioactive wasteland and found a radioactive garden. I went looking for the Pacific Garbage Patch and found the Pacific Ocean."
I love books that take me to new places and this book certainly did that! It even got me thinking I just might want to make a trip to Chernobyl myself one day. I hear it's lovely this time of year. Just don't forget to pack your own Geiger counter; Blackwell says they're very hard to find in Kiev.

Happy Reading!

Check out Bookish Travel for other great travel adventures.


  1. so many books, so little time...

  2. I am glad to know this one is well-written as it seemed like an intriguing travel book to me. Maybe it will make it onto next year's TBR list!

  3. Amazingly enough, I think I would like this book--I also like armchair (and real) traveling, and I good, witty narrator can make a trip anywhere work.

    1. That's why I enjoy Bill Bryson's books...he's such a witty author.