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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I didn't have many expectations for a sign book, but actually, this is one of the funniest books I've ever encountered. I don't understand the previous writer's negative comments, who says it wasn't funny and that he had already seen most of them on the web. Well, I don't have friends sending me funny emails about signs all the time, so most of these were new to me, and I thought they were very funny. From the "Sand" sign in the middle of the Namibian desert (what did they think they were driving through for the last 100 miles or so? :-)), to the "Boring Oregon City" sign, to "Dead Slow Children" on a road sign in England, to "Secret Nuclear Bunker," and "Hello Big Nose Friends (a tourist sign in Kashgar, China), I found a lot here to tickle my funny bone.

I found the book by chance in a Border's Books and sat down to read it, and had to try to keep from laughing out loud, some of the signs are so funny or ridiculous--such as the "Not a through street--evacuation route," sign on the cover. Then there's the "Bad toilet" sign in Norway (I think "bad" means bath in Norwegian, as it does in German, so that explains it), and the "Turn on lights in clouds" sign in the Andes, and the $exchange" sign at a foreign exchange store.

And there was a surprise for me in between the pages that I wasn't expecting--I'd seen one of the signs in person once. In the San Juan Islands of Washington state, there's a bridge over two of the islands that warns people about RVs with large mirrors sticking out that might bonk you in the head as you're walking on the narrow sidewalk over the bridge. The bridge connects Whidbey and Fidalgo islands over Deception Pass, and I saw the sign walking out on the bridge once. :-)

And on a visit to Jamaica my father had seen the sign, "Beware of sleeping policeman." The book doesn't explain the sign, though, but a "sleeping policeman" is the local term for a speed bump.

Overall, a very funny book and reasonably priced for what you're getting. The brief bio says the author has visited over 120 countries and started taking pictures of signs on his travels. In a sense this book shows what can grow from a seemingly harmless and innocuous little hobby if one is persistent and patient enough.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2005
The price is right for this hilarous collection of odd and quirky signs from around the world. A perfect quick entertainment for a waiting room or as a gift. Just a few of the signs have a bit of innuendo, so better for adults. Doug Lansky adds well-written caption comments for a second smile with each picture. The signs shown here on the cover give you a good idea what to expect.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
"Signspotting" is a quirky collection of real signs from around the world, which amuse because of either grammatical or translation issues, unintended innuendo, or otherworldly context. I really like this book, and especially enjoy signs with non sequiturs and seeming contradictions such as a sign in front of a Racine, Wisconsin store proclaiming "Happy Easter! We Sell Handguns" and the sign from Maui that says "Bottomless Pit - 65 feet deep." I love the misspellings as well, finding the sign from Incline Village, Nevada stating "Detuor to College" to be especially entertaining. The sub-genre of disturbing combinations is equally hilarious, like the store in Grafton, Illinois that proclaims "R&R Worm Farm Worm - Castings & Best Dirt in Town - Wine Making Supplies Sold Here."

This is a great little book, and I recommend it as a quick and funny read to anyone, especially those that travel internationally frequently.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2006
Bought one copy for a friend and laughed so hard I had to order several more copies for gifts. Lots of fun for a small price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A lot of fun and, unfortunately, you don't have to go very far when traveling in the Middle East or Africa to see some entertaining signs (and I'm not just talking "camel xing" either). I'm glad someone thought to put this collection together!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2005
Now that neighbors on one side of the house have heard me laugh out loud from the john since getting this book, it's time to buy another copy for the bathroom on the other side of the house. It's hard to believe the compilation of outrageous and hilarious signs is nonfiction. Only a world traveler with lots of friends like Doug Lansky could pull this off.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I would expect that nearly everyone has run across unintentionally funny signs or weirdly juxtaposed combinations of signs that either evoke frenzied head scratching or out-loud laughing. I've seen some odd ones during local excursions or on road trips and thought, "I wish I had the camera."

Doug Lansky managed to capture and compile a bunch of such photos in his book "Signspotting." Some of these, culled from photos of signs taken around the world, are outright hilarious, and others evoke a slack-jawed sense of what on earth does that mean, at least from where I sit. I'm sure that some of these signs perhaps make sense within their physical context but that does not diminish their humor in my opinion.

This book would make a nice small gift for a teenager, friend, or, better yet, a retiring colleague who is about to hit the road.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Lonely Planet Signspotting is a sure laugh-getter to share with friends. Bring it to work with you and it will be the sensation of the break room for a couple of days as everyone passes it around.

There are lots of hysterical photos of signs -- the sort of things you sometimes notice in passing and wish you had a camera to capture as evidence, yourself. Guaranteed, you'll enjoy this book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon December 26, 2012
"CAUTION. Please be aware that the balcony is not on ground level." - as pictured in SIGNSPOTTING. Gee, you think?

Ok, ok. I received this as a Christmas stocking stuffer and not something that I would've actually bought for myself. But, it is what it is. And it does what it's supposed to do, which is display as color plates "strange and amusing" signs from around the world. I can't really tell you how many are included because the pages aren't numbered. (I was tempted to count them for the purpose of this review, but nah; it's too close to my bedtime.)

What I find intriguing is that another reviewer awarded one star to this slick little paperback because expectations weren't met. Really? What level of expectation might be considered levelheaded? I mean, c'mon! This isn't a coffee-table tome of great artwork reproductions.

SIGNSPOTTING did allow me to invent a new game that can be played by anyone with Internet access and this publication. Simply stated, using the Google satellite map function in street level mode with the little yellow man, see how many of the signs in the book you can actually track down and zoom-in on. Obviously, you won't manage the "Complaints about elephants to be made here" or "Deformed man toilet" or "Diaria Buffet", but you can do the Pine Acre Motel sign (Shawano, WI) or the directional sign to Boring and Oregon City via Oregon state route 212. Why, I've scored on several already. My favorite is the road sign at the junction of the A113 and A128 in Essex, England directing the motorist to bear left off the roundabout to the "Secret Nuclear Bunker."

Well, go on then. Try your hand at the brass wall plaque announcing the place of business for Argue & Phibbs (Solicitors). Hint: Sligo, Ireland.

So, how many stars is SIGNSPOTTING worth? Well, it's not great literature, obviously. On the other hand, it has engaged me (what with the satmap exercise) more than would the hypothetical coffee-table art book. And while that perhaps says more about my affinity for cultcha, it also means the former is more than just ho-hum average. So, four stars. Just don't expect me to rush out and buy SIGNSPOTTING 2, III, and 4.
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on February 13, 2013
I read this book with my tween sons and we got lots of good laughs out of it. There is some mildly inappropriate stuff that we flipped quickly past. If you're offended by signs that unintentionally read sexhibit and sexchange or signs with foreign words/place names that resemble "naughty" words in English, then maybe this isn't the book for you.

My biggest complaint is the small print. The picture captions were hard enough to read, but the author's general musings were printed on a yellow background - so the poor contrast exacerbated the problems with small print. And I wish the book had page numbers!
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