A recent trend in guidebooks is the "before you die" list of things to do or see. Thus we have "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," "1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die," and "1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die."
I am not a fan of this concept. When deciding on leisure activities, do you really need that kind of pressure? But I did enjoy St. Louisan Amanda Doyle's new book "100 Things to Do in St. Louis Before You Die."
Doyle selects parks, museums, annual festivals, natural features, and concerts to represent the wide variety of activities in St. Louis. She briefly describes each place or event, often adding bonus information to a well-known attraction.
Recommending a visit to the St. Louis Zoo is common, but Doyle advises that from December to February penguins are paraded from their habitat to the gift shop Sundays at 2 pm. About touring the Anheuser-Busch brewery, Doyle recommends opting for the $25 upgrade for the St. Louis Beermaster Tour for behind the scenes extras.
The tone of the book is casual and fun, and Doyle's enthusiasm for St. Louis is evident on every page. The result is less of an authoritative to-do list and more of a celebration of our hometown.
--Jennifer A., Headquarters