Mark Jacobson's 12,000 Miles in the Nick of Time: A Semi-Dysfunctional Family Circumnavigates the Globe (Atlantic Monthly Press) is more than an account of one family's three-month odyssey in search of "the Real." As the author drags his brood—wife Nancy and their two daughters and son, ages 16, 12, and 9—from Kathmandu to Jerusalem and beyond, the eldest, Rae, supplies wisecracking counterpoints to Dad's hilarious riffing about the "cathode domination" of popular culture. And Jacobson is indeed funny—like S. J. Perelman, another jaundiced chronicler of family travel, only with a lot of heart and soul.
—George Kalogerakis