Featured Book: Signspotting 4 by Doug Lansky

Title: Signspotting 4

Author: Doug Lansky

Genre/Pages: Humor/160

Publisher: Perigee (div. of Penguin)

Release Date: September 6, 2011

Source: publisher

The fourth book in Doug Lansky’s amusing Signspotting series, Signspotting 4: The Art of Miscommunication, offers up a pictorial of hilarious (and sometimes disturbing!) signage from around the world.

Anthony and I are avid (yet inept) travelers and have crisscrossed the country on epic road trips that leave (at least one of) us thirsting for more.  During our travels, we seek out roadside oddities, off-the-beaten-path attractions, and live for any highway signage that can offer a modicum of humor or confusion to break up the monotony.

From our 2007 Road Trip: A tasty exit off of Interstate 40 in Arizona. (photo cred. NAM, 7/2007)

It was with glee that I accepted a copy of Lansky’s Signspotting 4, and Anthony actually snapped it up the day it arrived.  I knew it was going to be a fun read based on his response–paroxysms of bed-shaking laughter that had me thinking another earthquake had come to town!

Lansky points out that he’s not poking fun at other nations and their signs but it’s more about the humor that is sometimes lost in the translation.  He proves his point by using an online program to translate Hamlet’s To Be or Not To Be soliloquy from English into a few other languages and then back to English.  Let’s just say that Shakespeare himself wouldn’t have recognized the end result.

Some of our favorites included a sign for Shalom Christian Books and Gifts–oh, the irony!–and this one out of Arizona:

The kids will love this place! (photo cred. plus.google.com and Signspotting 4)

Signspotting 4 is a fun little read and we are now on a quest for photos of some humorous signage for Doug Lansky.  Next month, we’ll have our cameras at the ready on our trip to Ireland, keeping eagle eyes peeled for Signspotting: Book 5 fodder!

Are you a sign spotter?  Have you seen anything good on your travels?


  1. We actually saw a road sign that said “The Future” and had an arrow pointing up. I wish we’d gotten a picture. We never could figure out what it meant.

  2. There are strange signs all around. My favorite is a beer ad I saw in Canada which said “Free Beer” and in small letters “with purchase of can”.
    LOL, I wondered if they could pull that off in the US.

  3. This sounds like fun! My favorites are the ones around Lancaster County for the towns of Intercourse and Blue Ball.

  4. We pass this awing at least twice a week and it always makes me giggle:

    I’m sure they’re trying to emphasize ‘fresh’, but the result is the opposite.

    Also, my sister sent in this sign that she found in Malaysia. Quite to the point, that one.

  5. That’s just wrong to use a teddy bear on your sign for gun supplies!

  6. oh my gosh! you HAVE to send that “fresh” one to the unnecessary quotes website! those flowers. that’s the last time they are going to talk like that to me! as for the one from your sis…um, google translate told me ‘ amaran pencuri akan didakwa means WARNING: Thieves will be prosecuted. that must be some judicial system over there. shoot first, trial second? lol. thanks for the links–they are great!

  7. i love road trips! i’m actually taking a trip to austin this weekend for labor day. this looks like such a fun book to read! i’m going to have to keep my eyes peeled for fun signs now. it’s a good think i’m not driving.

  8. So fun — we love spotting signs.

  9. Sounds like a fun book! In Chester England, my friends and I saw a road sign that said “Heavy Plant Turning.” If there had been a factory plant nearby this would have made since, but there wasn’t as far as we could see.

  10. I still chuckle when we pass the sign for Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky (I think) and I am well past the age that this should be so. Sounds like a fun book.

  11. Nothing like a teddy w/ an uzi to remind you, “Am I out of bullets?” AND “Am I out of diapers?” Such thoughtfulness..

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