Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Book Talk Tuesday for May 20, 2008

The Utah Guide, 3rd. ed., by Kent Powell, at nearly 500 pages is a hefty attempt to catalog Utah attractions, yearly events and festivals, trails, scenic settings, accommodations, and restaurants throughout the state.

The book mentions many of the places that the previous books I've reviewed in Book Talk Tuesdays have covered, but with some of the depth. The book is well organized by geographic regions (the author has broken Utah into six regions), and each region by area, and then by type of listing; places to see, events and festivals, restaurants, etc. Powell gives good, short descriptions of most places so that you get a fairly good idea of what there is to do or see at each location. There are three inset sections with color pictures from around the state, almost all of which are mentioned in the book. Powell also does a good job in keeping to things that are of interest to a wide variety of people rather than pointing out things that might have such a narrow interest that most readers would skip pages in order to find the good stuff.

As good as this book is, there are a few drawbacks. In trying to pack so much information into one book, the print is fairly small, which, for some of us can make the book difficult to read. The amount of material also seems to be a limiting factor in descriptions of places. It seems Powell wanted to get so much packed into the book that he couldn't always write as much information as he could (or should) have about many of the places.

My biggest complaint about the book, though, is its age. While still a valuable resource, it's in its 3rd edition and was last published in 2003, making it five years out of date. Most of the attractions and sights mentioned in the book are still there, but some are not. Phone numbers and website address also have a tendency to change over time, so all the information is not completely accurate. Also, the pricing guides that he uses to give you an idea of the general cost, are now out of date as well, sometimes significantly.

Overall, the book lists many great places to see and things to do in Utah, but it needs to be brought a bit more up to date.

Suggested Reading: 3 1/2 stars out of 5

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