ATLANTA, October 4, 2012 — A Pope John Paul II bottle opener, a Mount Rushmore lamp and plush pillows from the Eiffel Tower: These are just a few of the bizarre tchotchkes for sale Doug Lansky explores in his recently released book, “Crap Souvenirs.”
Lansky, a Stockholm-based travel writer, takes a look at some of the zanier souvenirs for sale at both off the beaten path destinations and major world attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Vatican City and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
“What we really bring back from a trip are experiences. For many, there’s a desire to represent that with something physical,” Lansky said in a recent interview. “Combine that with our love of shopping and lapses in judgement (and maybe a few too many margaritas) and there are the main ingredients of your kitsch souvenir recipe.”
Lansky’s interest in what he calls “kitsch-tacular” souvenirs began when he and his wife played a game when waiting for a plane. “We’d wander into the gift shop and see who could spot the most kitsch item,” Lansky said.
“We don’t have much space where we live and often we had maxed out our carry-on, so buying wasn’t an option,” he added. “But it was a good laugh. Then we realized we could just snap a photo. “When our friends seemed to enjoy the photos just as much, I thought there might be a bit more to it.”
A bit more turned into a website — and now a book. At Lansky’s website, users can jump in the fray and upload their own pictures of “kitsch-tacular” souvenirs.
So, does Lansky believe there are any souvenirs worth collecting?
“I suppose that depends how much space you have in your home and how much you love to collect kitsch,” he said. “Some of the classic collections (snow globes, spoons, and pins) are likely quite valuable. Then again, you can sell just about anything on eBay.”
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