Author: Steven McCall
I am a terrible vacation planner. As a sort of anxious traveler, guidebooks and travel guides overwhelm me with information and options until I find myself far more concerned with my vacation wardrobe than my vacation activities. Clothes shopping I can handle.
But occasionally, someone writes a destination guide that makes sense to me, and one such guide is the Irreverent Insider Guide: Portland, Oregon, written by longtime Portland resident Steve McCall. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I happen to know Mr. McCall. And he knows me – well enough to know that I wouldn’t flatter him with faint praise. If anything, I would be a bitch and tell him every last picky thing I thought was wrong with his book. But I really, really like it, and Mr. McCall has the kind of grasp of the English language that makes my inner Grammar Nazi squeal with delight over his clever narrative.
The Irreverent Insider Guide: Portland, Oregon is all digital all the way. As such, it’s filled with links to the suggested destinations, attractions and local establishments. To me, this is a boon in terms of ease of use. As much as I love real live books, a paper guide book leads to long lists of things to look up on the internet – and that’s a step I’m happy to skip. If something sounds good you can click right over to it and take a more in depth look around. Maybe even make reservations or schedule a visit. Nice.
To give you an idea what you can expect, the book is divided into multiple chapters, any of which you can easily skip to from the table of contents. There are guides to food and drink, music, sightseeing, and a truly excellent array of road trips to be had around the Portland area. As other guide books go out of date because restaurants close and venues change, the beautiful natural areas will remain, keeping the book relevant long after its contemporaries are gathering virtual dust.
One thing to note – make sure you’re using a decent e-reading device. My ancient Kindle Touch could handle the links, but just barely. It would have been much, much easier on my Google Nexus or my husband’s Kindle Paperwhite.
The Irreverent Insider Guide: Portland, Oregon makes me want to go back for another visit. I’ve been ushered around the city by Mr. McCall in the past and can assure you that he speaks about his chosen destinations from experience, not word of mouth or other sources. His fondness for the city and its surrounding areas is obvious, as is his love of gently mocking Portland for some of its more pretentious habits. Overall, this is a guidebook worth your time and money – it’s portable, user-friendly, thorough without being overwhelming, and an enjoyable read. Recommended for anyone considering a trip to Portland.