July 2022 MBR The Travel Shelf

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Midwest Book Review

Aug 3, 2022, 1:20:44 AM8/3/22
The Travel Shelf

Chicago Scavenger
Jessica Mlinaric
Reedy Press
PO Box 5131, St. Louis, MO 63139
9781681063584, $29.95, Spiral Bound, 192pp


Synopsis: "Chicago Scavenger" is a unique guide by Chicago resident Jessica Mlinaric to the hidden gems of Chicago's neighborhoods. The on-site visitor is offered an interactive mission to explore 17 neighborhoods across the city.

No ordinary travel guide, "Chicago Scavenger" deciphers the clues and tracks down the photos to leading the visitor to over 300 little-known museums, vibrant public artworks, nature areas, overlooked historical markers, charming cafes, architectural oddities, and more.

Ideal for itinerary building, "Chicago Scavenger" showcases the nation's first Black art museum and a B&B run by monks, raising a glass at Chicago's smallest bar, and taking a stroll down a real yellow brick road. From Pullman to Rogers Park, seek the thrill of discovery in Chicago's unique and diverse neighborhoods, "Chicago Scavenger" offers surprising stories and the creation of fun memories. With "Chicago Scavanger:, urban explorers, foodies, culture enthusiasts, history geeks, and anyone curious about Chicago can put their skills to the test, solve riddles solo or team up with family, or challenge friends with an engagingly mysterious and exciting way to experience what Chicago has to offer off the well beaten path.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized, impressively informative, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in presentation, "Chicago Scavenger" is a very special and unique form of travel guide that is especially and unreservedly recommended for both residents and tourists alike. Very highly recommended for personal, professional, and library American Travel Guide collections, "Chicago Scavenger" could well serve as a template for similar off-beat guides to other major American citiers.

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, Jessica Mlinaric is also the author of "Secret Chicago: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure". Her writing and photography covering culture and travel has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, the Architect's Newspaper, Chicago magazine, and more. Jessica founded urbnexplorer.com in 2010 to share stories that inspire the culturally curious traveler.

Alaska Adventure 55 Ways
John Wolfe Jr., author
Rebecca Wolfe, author
Mountaineers Books
1001 SW Klickitat Way, Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98134-1161
9781680515428, $24.95, PB, 304pp


Synopsis: John Wolfe Jr. and Rebecca Wolfe, are a father-daughter team that with the publication of "Alaska Adventure 55 Ways: Southcentral Wilderness Explorations" collaboratively describe activities spanning the broad swath of Southcentral Alaska, 300 miles north to south and 350 miles east to west.

This unique and specialized travel guide features activities on the lakes and peaks of the Kenai Peninsula, the Anchorage front range, the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys, and the Copper River basin, taking in Chugach and Denali State Parks, Chugach National Forest, Kenai Fjords and Wrangell St. Elias National Parks, several wildlife refuges, and portions of the Iditarod National Historic Trail.

With an emphasis on adventures regular people can enjoy and destinations that don't require highly technical skills, expensive flights to remote locations, or demanding levels of athletic fitness, "Alaska Adventure 55 Ways: Southcentral Wilderness Explorations" will have a very special appeal to all ages, with its family-friendly shorter options and trip extensions adding up to more than a hundred "ways" to adventure in Alaska.

Critique: Nicely illustrated with color photos, "Alaska Adventure 55 Ways: Southcentral Wilderness Explorations" is exceptionally well written, impressively organized, and thoroughly 'user friendly' in presentation -- making it an ideal resource for DIY itinerary planning for visitors, vacationers, and locals alike. While highly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Travel Guide collections, it should be noted that "Alaska Adventure 55 Ways: Southcentral Wilderness Explorations" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note #1: A lifelong Anchorage, Alaska resident John Wolfe Jr. studied at Middlebury College in Vermont and then returned to Alaska and founded the nonprofit Alaska Huts Association. He and his wife, Gretchen Nelson, included their daughters in outdoor excursions as they grew up. John became co-author of this guide with his mother, Helen Nienhueser, in 1994. Although he has guided on Denali, John loves the simple peak scrambles of the Chugach Mountains best of all.

Editorial Note #2: Rebecca Wolfe has been hiking in Southcentral Alaska since childhood. She earned a bachelor's degree from Smith College and a master's of architecture from Montana State University. Becca enjoys finding new ways to experience the Alaska backcountry on skis and by bike, though backpacking in the mountains is when she feels most at home. She splits her time between Mojave, California, and Anchorage, Alaska.


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Midwest Book Review
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