Eclectic, challenging and deeply involved in its subject, it takes you to deeper, more diverse places than you could ever hope to go elsewhere. The range of writing on offer here is staggering - juxtaposing Ian McEwan with Tobias Smollet, Anne Frank with present-day 'Dam bloggers. As with all of the series, there's a recognition here (which other literary guides seem slow to pick up) that cities are international spaces these days, and that the stories of those who arrive or leave or pass through are as much part of cities' fabric as their museums, landmarks and famous men.
Thus we have reflections on immigration, chronicles of British hedonists aprowl for fun and games forbidden at home, and Croatian immigrant Dubravka Ugresic evoking the dark side of those pleasures in the streams of trafficked human flesh pouring in from the impoverished societies of the east.
You wouldn't exactly use a city-pick as your guide to a foreign city - as the series' editor says in our interview, it won't tell you how to get to the airport - but if you could only read one book before you went, this would have to be it.
Publisher: Oxygen Books