A newly updated 2nd edition of James Teitelbaum’s very popular Tiki Road Trip is due out in May of this year. The world of tiki has changed very much, mostly for the better, since James’ book originally came out in 2003, and fans of the book are very eager to get a more up-to-date version of their road bible. The new TRT features many revised and re-written entries, more photos, and a design that will make it a bit easier to find what you’re looking for.
I’ve pointed many, many people to Tiki Road Trip over the years, here on Critiki News, on Tiki Central, and on Critiki. As a matter of fact, for the first year Critiki was available to the public, I required you to prove you owned Tiki Road Trip before you could access detailed information like addresses, maps, websites and phone numbers (now, this information is available to anyone who registers, for free, on Critiki). However — and this may shock some of you — I have never actually read Tiki Road Trip. I know! Can you believe it!?
The thing is, I’d love to. I own several copies of it. I’ve skimmed it a bit, but always very briefly, and very cautiously. You see, when I started work on Critiki in late 2002, James’ book hadn’t been announced yet. In the course of collecting information about tiki places for Critiki’s database, I realized how much effort had gone into the creation of James’ Tiki Bar Review Pages (Tiki Road Trip’s online ancestor). The last thing I wanted to do was poach someone else’s very hard work, and so even though it meant re-inventing the wheel a bit, I didn’t use any of the information he’d collected, only information I’d collected myself. I steered completely clear of the Tiki Bar Review Pages, though they’d been a great initial inspiration to me in my personal search for tiki when it was new to me. When I learned that James had a book coming out, I wasn’t sure what to do: I knew the power of what a good database-driven site could do, not just for my own travel plans, but for others’, but I also didn’t want to do anything that would steal James’ thunder. In the end, I decided I couldn’t shelf Critiki, I was far too excited about it, and I’d put far too much effort into constructing it. I gave James some advance notice that Critiki was underway, so he wouldn’t feel sideswiped, and when I launched Critiki, I did everything I could to encourage folks to support James’ book. Not that it needed my help — James’ book really sells itself.
James and I became dear friends — he came to visit me in Seattle, and he showed me the sights in Chicago — and naturally our shared passion for tiki travel has formed a strong bond. As time has marched on, I continue to update Critiki on a very regular basis, and there sits James’ book, with all my other tiki books, spine uncracked. It’s a very hard temptation to resist — after all, how could a book possibly be more up my alley?!? But, I can’t take the risk that James’ hard work would influence my own research. So, I don’t use it. It’s probably silly of me.
I can’t conclusively say what’s different about James’ book vs Critiki, beyond two pretty salient points: his is paper, and much more portable; and it’s James’ voice, not mine. Multiple voices & viewpoints always make the general understanding better. Even though I haven’t read it myself, I feel very, very comfortable recommending it, and it’s great news that a new edition is coming out.
This is going to be a banner year for tiki books: I’ve already mentioned Sven Kirsten’s new Tiki Modern book, and there are two more books on their way in the coming year: Sippin’ Safari by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, and another book that I don’t think has been announced yet, so I’m going to keep quiet about it. Tiki Road Trip is due in May 2007, from Santa Monica Press.