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What We're Reading: Map Eye-Candy, a Fail-Safe Way to Avoid Crowds, and More

Welcome to What We're Reading, our new weekly look at the most insightful, useful, and entertaining travel-related stories from across the information superhighway.

This week yielded a handful of travel stories we couldn't wait to share—the stuff of a really good yet really unproductive lunch break. Here are the most tweetable, readable, and hilarious travel tales and blogs we've spotted on the Web. Feed your map obsession, learn how to keep yourself busy on a Chinese ferry, and discover the best day to avoid crowds at popular destinations, all with just a click of the mouse!

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The Click of Death

The angle is just right. The light is divine. You point, shoot, and … your camera croaks. If you've been there, you'll appreciate travel blogger Mike Sowden's eloquent account of his Kodak Z740's ill-timed demise. By the end of the post, we were shedding a tear for the little camera that could. But cry not. It led a full life. Some of the photos Sowden took from that wasted machine (may it rest in peace) will stop your breath for a moment or two.  

A Fantastic Voyage

This week began the Year of the Dragon, so it's only appropriate that we include Sally's (also known as "Unbrave Girl") comical account of a ferry ride from Osaka to Shanghai. Sally, who says, "I'd do pretty much anything if it involves living out an idiom," takes the slow boat to China, learning about all the extravagant amenities available in "Second Class A" along the way. Warning: This post will cause audible laughter to resonate from your cubicle. Make sure your boss isn't around.

Give the Game the Slip

Thank you, Michelle Higgins. I thought I might be the only person in the U.S. (or in New England, at least) who'd rather be wedged into a coach-class airplane seat than watching this year's Super Bowl. But you have assured me that I am not alone, while offering some excellent travel tips for those of us who would abandon our couches and venture out into the world on game day. For advice on taking advantage of some incredible travel deals and fewer crowds while a good mass of the country is shrieking at a screen and eating nachos, take a look at this recent piece from the Practical Traveler.

Get the Big Picture

OK, we're not exactly reading this one—it's more like we're drinking it in with our eyes. They Draw & Travel is a graphic site bursting with whimsical, colorful map eye-candy created by artists from around the world. (It's the traveler's answer to They Draw & Cook, an illustrated recipe website.) The site is a fresh and beautiful twist on the typical text-and-photos travel blog. I could spend all day expounding on this one, but you should just see it for yourself.

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