Read: Several Ways to Die in Mexico City

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I was going to go to Mexico City, but now I’m not.

I can’t say this decision is entirely based on this book by Kurt Hollander, but what this book did was remind me of my fragility. I’m already sick, so venturing to El Capital isn’t on my radar. The book is described as an autobiography, but it’s the coolest, most different autobiography you will find, and in addition it is LOADED with statistics and facts that frankly caught me entirely off guard. Fifty percent of all the food consumed in Mexico is imported? Wha?

Any book that starts by talking about “weird shits,” is a five-star-read in my mind, but honest reportage about travel is rare these days. Most publications featuring travel are formulaic and cater to the advertising dollar. Does this sound familiar? The overall image, the portrait, the skyline, the food shot, the hotel image and each filled with smiling, uber-hip, wealthy individuals who aren’t there long enough to actually get sick, or probably meet any locals, let alone get dirty or uncomfortable.

Hollander takes us through the city from varying heights, demographics and even through the absolute gluttony of traffic and pollution. There are many ways to die in Mexico City, some sexier than others.

Hollander is a photographer, but he’s also a writer, editor and former bar owner who seems like the best possible guide you could ever find. I truly enjoyed this book, and found myself reading passages aloud to my wife who couldn’t care less. (I do this to drive her crazy.) This is my 70th book this year, but one I will remember.

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