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Index For Book Reviews

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Good Reads For Your Adventure Travels

Please Note: The books and Audios reviewed here are my honest opinions. I received these unsolicited and free  for promotional purposes, but I simply do not review the ones I do not believe to be review worthy.

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The Mountain: My Time on Everest by Ed Viesturs is by the man who knows Mt. Everest better than any other climber in the world, because he has been on eleven expeditions to Everest and has summited eight times.  He has spent a total years of his life on Mt. Everest since his first climb in 1953 at age 27.  He is the only American to have climbed all fourteen of the world's 8,000 plus meter mountains and one of only six to do so without oxygen.  In this wonderfully readable book he tells of his climbs and shows magnificent photos. He also includes facts and stories about other famous and infamous climbs by others, with insights on the fate of Mallory and Irvine who disappeared on the mountain in 1924.  The book is a Must Read for climbers and just people who like to read of other people's adventures. Excellent!!!

Beautiful Tufi : Between the Past and the Future by Jan Hasselberg is an feast for the eyes. The beautiful island of Tufi is part of Papua New Guinea and one of the rare places in the world where the ways of life still center around the environment, enjoying and protecting it while it provides for everyone's needs. The author, a Norwegian school teacher, became fascinated with the place and its beauty on his first visit there but returned many times to do the research into learning the ways and history and culture of these very native people. He followed many different ones observing their ways of life, their cultural practices, their ways of working and sustenance, family life, and joyful celebrations. He learned their traditions, their beliefs, and how they relate to each other. He was warmly received and welcomed into their daily lives as he took the wonderful photos in the book and also he included some historical photos. You will love this very readable book while learning about a people who live still at nature's pace in touch with the physical world in a way most of us can never know. Terrific!!

Lost Angel Walkabout by Linda Ballou is one of the most beautifully written travel books I have ever read. Linda tells her personal experiences of her many travels in different continents and environs. She is well-known as a top adventure travel writer, and her tales of her intrepid soul's search for beauty in the wilds and her ability to rouse physically to any demands of the setting will thrill the reader.  She increased my desire to become more physically fit so that I could do some of the things she is daring and fit enough to do. She grew up in Alaska and has always loved horses. Her travel tales about returning to that wonderful environ and her experiences in many different places which involved riding horses are so beautifully inspiring.  Linda also leads walkabouts in Los Angeles. I highly recommend her book as a treasure you will want to read, and then to re-read aloud to anyone who might want to listen. Her use of words is very commanding and her descriptions so vivid you will feel you have traveled alongside her and seen all the beauty of the surroundings which she so deeply appreciates. This is a MUST READ!

Wai-Nani, High Chiefess of Hawai'i: Her Epic Journey  This, the author's first book, is a masterpiece and a fascinating read. The historic novel tells the dramatic and heart warming love story of Wai-Nani. By weaving the ancient legends of Old Hawaii into this compelling story, Ballou captivates the reader with her beautiful descriptions and very real characters, who come alive in your imagination. The first few pages were a bit hard to read because the author has interjected real Hawaiian words into sentences in which the meaning is evident, but once I got the rhythm I could hardly put the book down. It is an excellent read, especially if you have been or plan to go to Hawaii.

At Home In the West by William S. Sutton is a beautiful black and white photography book of Western Landscapes of the United States public lands, and the reader is reminded of Ansel Adams and a few photographer pioneers who made the US Government and citizens aware of the stark and rugged beauty of the newly settling wild west.  We have all enjoyed the many beautiful coffee table full color photography books available, but this monochrome one arrests our attention to the landscape's details and ruggedness in a new way because, with no color, we notice other structural details and appreciate the wild places in a different way. I have been to many of these amazing places, most in properties managed by Bureau of Land Management and available for people to explore, camp, and do other outdoor activities which are self sufficient, not commercial, as no motels, restaurants, lodges, restrooms, gas stations are on these still natural places of wonder.  These places capture your heart and reach your soul, as do these stark and wonderful photos. The essays by Toby Jurovics and Susan B. Moldenhauzer are poignantly and astutely written.  The appendix at the end of the book maps the places and tells specifics about each location.  An excellent book to own and enjoy over and over!

500 Hostels In The USA, Canada, & Mexico by Hardie Karges This is another EXCELLENT hostel guide by an unusual backpacker since he is 55 years old, but he has traveled all over the world staying in hostels and has written other very good guides on the subject (Hypertravel: 100 Countries in Two Years).  His guide does not tell you how or where to travel but how to find and book REALLY good hostels, which are a fairly new and rapidly growing class of places to stay in North America.  Karges personally checks out, recommends, and describes the ones in this book, handpicked because they have cheap dorm beds, easy Internet, kitchens, English language, and storage lockers.  He calls himself a "flashpacker" because he is more interested in the urban locations where he can find a pub and because he is older than most backpackers but addicted to and quite experienced at hostelry.  You'll find this book VERY helpful if you intend to backpack in North America. He tells about the 500 hostels and also the most practical tips for getting bookings and staying safe and traveling very economically, in a way suited to those people who like to be with congenial groups and do not prefer luxury.

Africa Speaking With Earth & Sky by photographers Craig and Damon Foster, text by Michael Hutchinson is such a compelling book I could hardly put it down.  The photography at first glance seems fuzzy and disjointed in many pages, like a film strip printed, and that is exactly what it is!  These men were making a film about Africa and the San or Bushmen.  Living with these tribes for about a year and following their customs and aboriginal ways changed the lives of all the people involved in making the documentary.  And since they lived the very spiritual rituals of hunt and worship and ways of life of these primative bush people, the Fosters and Hutchinson decided to make a book of all they experienced and learned.  And what experiences they had!  Once vehicles broke down in the middle of the vast Kalahari Desert and lost, without water, and GPS battery going out, they were led back by a Bushman who read the stars for four hours.  They ran with hunters who run all day until the hunted animal gives us and gives itself to the hunter, a spiritual exchange of life for life, which these westerners witnessed with exhaustion.  The dance rituals for shamen who were seeking healing from spirits.  And so much more...It is described in words you will want to read completely through while perusing the unusual photos that lay bare any pretense and make no attempt at beauty... just revealing a way of life that still thrives today and enables people to survive and live in a very unhospitable environ.  Terrific!  

How To Travel the World on $50 a Day by Mat Kepnes is an excellent guide book on how to travel cheaper, longer, and smarter.  This seasoned world traveling expert shares his secrets of how to earn thousands of frequent flyer points, find discount travel cards to save you money on so many things: lodging, tours, and transportation; how to find cheap or even free plane tickets; and how to avoid paying bank fees, which can really mount up when needing money abroad.  Matt has so many tips of how to stretch your budget further than you ever imagined so you can travel farther than you even dared to dream.  But, you might think you want to travel in higher style and more comfort than this obvious backpacker must do, but NO...think again! He likes comforts and good eating also and knows all the tricks of how to get these even on a very low budget, and best of all, he shares them with us!  EVERY TRAVELER will want this book, and those who have not been able to realize their dreams of travel will want this book even more! is his travel blog.

Diving and Spearfishing in South Africa by Piet Van Rooyen is  the second edition of the book which was the definitive guide when it was first published in 1988. Updated and more complete, this edition has full color photos of many of the fish and fishermen and women. This edition very importantly stresses the practices needed for sustainability of sportfishing in South Africa, where the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast has icy cold temperatures and the Indian ocean on the east coas is temperate, thus providing the visitor and sea sports enthusiasts the largest arrays of marine species. An expert himself, Rooyen details everything from equipment, techniques, training, safety, boat handling, hazards, emergencies, attacks, restrictions, protective methods, as well as how to dive and how to spearfish. The book is interesting to peruse even if you never intend to participate in the sport...I gained a huge appreciation for all that goes into any marine endeavor, whether as sport or as a job.

Save Me From The Lion's Mouth: Exposing Human-Wildlife Conflict in Africa by James Clarke is such an interesting book I could hardly put it down!  It has so many true stories of people's encounters with the wildlife of Africa, often tragicencounters. The author has been a wildlife writer and reporter for decades and also is one of three founders of South Africa's most effective wildlife conservation movements, the Endangered Wildlife Trust.  In spite of being a dedicated conservationist of these wildlife treasures, he makes us well aware of the problems the people who live in areas surrounding the parks, where animals roam freely and are protected.  There are many deaths each year by snakes, elephants, hippos, buffalo, lions, leopards, some of the large primates, and a few by rhinos. And even more endangered are the crops on which the surrounding native villages depend, but which the animal forage, trample, or ruin. The book brings out many facts that must be faced about people and animals safely co-habiting, hunters and poachers who wound the animals being the cause of many dangers.  The book is thoughtfully and factually written to make us aware that people must be protected too. If you plan a safari to Africa, you MUST read this book first!  

Ardmore: We Are Because of Others by Fee Halsted, photography by Roger de la Harpe is an exquisite coffee table book about the Ardmore Ceramic Art of Kwa-Zulu-Natal in Africa.  Fee Halsted, a white woman who grew up in Africa and loves the peopl, is an accomplished artist, but she realized about 30 years ago as she was teaching that the real, meaningful art she could help create with her talents was the young artists themselves.One day David Middlebrook, an American artist, appeared in her studio in Africa and introduced her to paints and clay that gave the talented artists new media that made the way of producing the works of art much simpler. She has helped educate many young artists in Africa and became one of their sponsors/patrons, along with other charitable organizations she has connected them. She and one of the other artists began the Ceramic Arts Studio in a small, poor village, to empower the women there. Through the years, a huge AIDS epidemic which took the lives of many of the community, through enormous difficulties the studio has grown to esteem throughout the world, with the exquisite pieces, created by these African artists tohow the country, their customs, and the natural world they live in, has gained international fame.  The highly prized pieces are now in museums and collections around the world and Ardmore artists have shows at their own headquarters and around the world. The book is a beautiful story of the jubilation of art triumphing over many impossible situations so that the free spirit of these lovely people is exalted, enriching thousands of lives, not only of the artists and their families, but also of those collectors around the world. You will REALLY WANT THIS BOOK! EXQUISITE!

West Coast: Bering to Baja by David Freese This black and white photography book has an unusual format in that the photos are rather small, about 4x6 inches framed by a large amount of white space surrounding them on each page. Mr. Freese is the first to make a book of photographs documenting the entire west coastline of North America from the Bering Straits in Alaska to the tip of the Baja peninsula at Cabo San Lucas. The photographs are presented as if you are traveling from North to South in the order in which a driver would see the sights.  Each photo emphsizes nature, omitting almost entirely the impact of man, so that the resulting images could have been made in the 19th century. However, the skilled photographer that David is, he has combined film photography with digital and has manipulated the photos in the computer to their best presentation. The accompanying text is beautifully written and deeply enhances each image, as well as explaining what is depicted. A lovely book, but I wish the pictures were much larger.

 Lonely Planet's Food Lovers Guide To the World is the way to savour the world of many different specialty cuisines right in your own kitchen with recipes that are the special unique tastes of each country or region. It is also the perfect guide for your extended world travels. Each of the over 300 pages has a double page spread including a full page and a smaller full color photo of the place, featuring a speical dish or display of the food described. The best restaurant for this is listed and described with address. And a delicious, flavorful recipe is included from each local. This book is unique and a one-of-a-kind way to let your taste buds travel the world, even without the cost of a plane ticket.  The book is a world of education for anyone interested in various cultures and cuisines. You will LOVE THIS BOOK, and it makes a perfect gift or coffee table book!

The Ringtone and the Drum: Travels In The World's Poorest Countries by Mark Weston is a beautifully written book that will break your heart. The author was brave enough to take any means of transport possible (often very undesirable) and bravely face poorest of living conditions as he traveled through some of the world's poorest places: Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, all in Western Africa. The author has travelled extensively to see conditions, meet people, and advise governments as to how to meet the needs of places in distresses of all kinds. His brave trip of curiosity gives us a true picture of the way in which thousands of people are still living in the Dark Ages of tribal wars, 24 hour danger from their own friends and family as each in fear must scrape out enough to survive. Weston writes in a poetic way and has great compassion for the people he meets and documents their lifestyle and their hardships in a way that is compelling to read and very informative.  The influence of Europeans and other Westerners on these countries has plundered formerly peaceful places where people helped each other, and the way of life had continued to be enough for time immemorial, but today these countries are in shambles of poverty, mistrust, fighting, and duped by invaders who brought foreign ways and religions and corruption to these peoples. It is a sadly true story of our times, but one you should read.

The World's Weirdest Places by Nick Redfern is a book I could hardly put down!  It is very readable and each chapter takes a different kind of weird place and describes it.  The stories and tales of aliens, UFO's, ghosts, etc. are fascinating, and he tells several about each place, as well as giving the location and some of the history of what has happened there. If you are a thrill seeker, you can use his Index to plan your next exciting trip!  If you are a timid traveler, use this book to see the places to avoid, even if you have to take circuitous routes (like some of the planes and ships that decide to by-pass the Bermuda of his first chapters!)  I like to read about weird places and occurances, but I never knew there are so many in the world.  He has 25 intriguing chapters about places around the world (and some near YOU!) A FUN READ!

  True Africa by David Sacks is one of the most beautiful photography books I have ever had the pleasure of perusing.  David, a world renowned professional digital photographer has photographed in 34 countries in his 20 years as a professional.  In this book he documents trips he has made in the 21st Century to Sub-Sahara Africa, and many of his photos are of children at an orphanage in Nogongera, Uganda. En route on the plane he was frightened as to what he would want to photograph in such a poverty stricken place: To be honest as a documenter, would he show the poverty?  But the children and the beautiful local people soon warmed to this mazungu  (which means confused wandering person) and helped him get over his fears.  In his photos the huge smiles, which were so typical of these warm-hearted people who live in some of the direst conditions on earth, leave no doubt that their spirits overcome their living conditions. The photographs, full page with some black and white and some full color, is some of the most beautiful  I have ever seen of people.  In stark contrast to the living conditions depicted, these huge smiles and shining faces warm every heart.  The memoirs at the end of the book are very poignant and beautiful. EXCELLENT!!

Tearing Up The Silk Road by Tom Coote is the author's travelogue from his hurried trip of nine difficult weeks traveling the Silk Road from China to Istanbul, through Centrl Asia, Iran, and the Caucasus. The Silk Road started in Xian in very ancient times as a trade route for not only silk but many other products, the first trade route established between East and West.  The network of roads enabled the establishment of many civilizations and the trade between them, and thriving cities of today had their beginning because of this road in ancient tribal times. Tom meets many interesting and also difficult people along the way, as he travels with the local people on bus, train, and any kind of transport he can find and stays in many dodgy places.  In the recording of his trip he describes people, places, and events as well as the history and emerging strides of the various places, which are often not friendly to tourists.  He had some narrow escapes on this 2010 venture but gained a deep understanding of why our world is growing smaller and we all need to understand each other as human beings with the same yearnings and sufferings common to us because we are part of the struggling human race. The book is very interesting and informative. The trip is one that few people would want to follow in the same way, making it all the more fascinating that Tom is the one navigating the difficulties bravely.

"A Fierce Local" by Harvey Gould For anyone interested in travel, Ireland, and horses the book "A Fierce Local" by Harvey Gould is an enjoyable and informative read. Gould and his wife made their first trip to Ireland in 1988. Growing up Jewish and coming from Chicago had the author skeptical as to just how much he could find himself enjoying or fitting in with Irish culture. The book traces his evolution from the Jewish American background to his actually pressing the Irish government for Irish citizenship. Covering the some 13 trips to Ireland from their first trip in 1988 to 2006, the book gives the reader a colorful picture of a Jewish American's engagement into Ireland's culture, landscape, and people. The book goes much beyond a mere travelog in its entertaining account of the unique situations encountered and the more than unique characters that became a part of the author's time in Ireland. Gould and his wife also became avid horse enthusiasts, and Gould recounts the various treks and adventures they experienced on horseback, including several fox hunts. Having spent time in the Western part of Ireland, I was extremely impressed with Harvey Gould's insights and descriptions of many of the places that I found so wonderful in my travels there. The reader can't help being intrigued at the way Gould approached the Irish government about gaining citizenship. In 2011 "A Fierce Local" was a finalist in the San Francisco Writers Conference Indie Publishing Contest.

Hypertravel: 100 Countries in Two Years by Hardie Karges is one of the best written and most interesting travel books I ever read.  I find it almost impossible to believe that someone in mid-life could make this unique and sometimes trying or grueling trip! Although all the travel was not in one extended period, he did cover all of it in two years, around the world and much, much more. His descriptions and experiences in each place include geo-political and historical and cultural context on each of five continents.  His goal is to visit every country in the world! And in this one he tells about the highlights and keynote facts of each of the 100 he passed through.  He does not tell you how to do a similar trip, not the typical where to eat and where to stay kind of travel book. You will find this one well written, compelling, enticing, very interesting and insightful. I loved it! It made me want to go, but it also made me decide I could never do it in the manner in which he travelled because he was at a strategic crossroads of his life, fulfilling his dream in his own way.
 The Milepost Alaska 2013 is the 65th edition of the Bible of the North Country Travel.  This is the 65th year  for travelers to depend on this excellent travel guide which shows mile-by-mile what to expect along the highways, even road conditions, for 30 major routes and 60 side trips and over 15,000 miles covered with details in this amazing book.  You'll find all you need to know about ferry travel and there are many color photos and over 100 maps.  The new book also has a pull-out large map to "Plan a Trip" to Alaska and over 100 other maps.  If you have never been to the North Country, get this book and plan your experiences in Alaska, Yukon territory, British Columbia, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories.  If you have been there, you already know what a treasure this book is, and what a necessity! A Digital Edition is also available online for those who purchase the print edition and also a VIP Milepost Travelers Club.  You can plan camping and fishing, sightseeing, accommodations, wildlife viewing and even road conditions. No one should go to Alaska without it!!!

Nepal Himalayas -- In the Moment:  An Anthology byJeff Rasley has trekked or climbed in the Nepal Himalayas almost every year since 1995. He kept a written and photographic journal each trip.  The articles and photos included in Nepal Himalayas -- In the Moment:  An Anthology are based on the journals Rasley kept.  The photos included illustrate the magnificent beauty of the Himalayan Mountains and the unique culture of the high mountain dwellers.  The anthology of photos and articles will whet the appetite of those interested in trekking the Himalayas.  The personal essays describe the local culture and some of the interesting characters that have climbed and trekked the Himalayas. The experience of a first Himalayan climb is described as is the inspiring experience of trekking with Sir Edmund Hillary's elder sister as is the gratification of helping to finish a little village school in the land of the Rai people.
The amazing strength and admirable gentleness of the Sherpa and Rai people living within the most spectacular vistas on planet Earth create a magnetic attraction for adventurers and spiritual seekers. Rasley's love of the mountains and mountain people shows through his personal essays.  But, he is also critical of how the spread of materialistic consumerism has damaged traditional cultures. And, he describes how some mission and development efforts with the best of intentions have harmed rather than helped the traditional culture of local people.  The cruelty and beauty of Nature in the high mountains are revealed in Rasley's writings and photos. So are the virtues and vices of adventurers and seekers Rasley has met in his travels in the Himalayan region. What is most meaningful to the author is the special relationship he has developed with Basa village in a remote area of Nepal.

 Governor's Travels by Angus King is a delightful travelogue by the former governor of Maine who packed his family into their RV and drove to many points of interest all over the USA.  I loved the way this book is presented, like a scrapbook of personal memoirs with photos which look like family snapshots.  Since I am an RVer and a travel writer, this book really captured me. I have visited many of the places his family enjoyed and loved the way he describes their experiences and the beauty and wonders of our country. It is a delightful book!

 Walk London by Annie Coburn, David Ingham * Ian P. Hardy is the newest in the excellent Suzy Guides travel guidebooks. This is the perfect way to see London, as if with you lived there.  The book is beautifully written with good descriptions and lovely full color photos, history, interesting facts, and all you need to help you locate the place with ease. You won't need any other guide to get you there and to help you understand everything you see in each place, to point out all the details you would not want to miss, and what each means.  Walk London shows you the easy way to get from place to place by subway and then exactly where to go the shortest or most scenic way by foot from the Underground/Tube stop. The hours, cost, address, phone numbers and URL's are there for each place, so you can call ahead, or go by car, taxi or bus.  Nearby restaurants are described and located for you close to each main point of interest. And in this book you will discover not only the famous tourist attractions in this vast city but also the special little places which only locals frequent and love, and many maps to help you.  A unique and very popular feature in this wonderful guidebook is that in many of the place descriptions you will see the Youtube URL for videos the writers prepared for your extra enjoyment and to show your friends when you tell about your trip.  This, and other Suzy Guides for Paris, Beijing, and New York City, are the best guidebooks for ease of seeing these important cities.  Be sure to take Walk London with you when you go to the 2012 Summer Olympics because there is a special section, London 2012 Olympic Walk, devoted to helping you maneuver these events.

Carnivals of the World by Marcelo Bendahan is a beautiful coffee table book with grand colorful photos of Carnival celebrations, parades, festivities, costumes from all over the globe. These elaborate festivals go back much further into history and are celebrated in many more countries than we had known, and each is unique. The author gives a good one page location and history and description of the country for each chapter, as well as the history of Carnival in that region. The book is a great one to own and display for visitors, especially in February and March when the celebrations take place annually. And it is a very readable and fascinating and beautiful book to enjoy over and over and to keep as a great souvenir if you attend Carnival anywhere. We highly recommend this one!

Along Interstate 75 by Dave Hunter is another of the author's excellent compendiums of the best stops along this busy highway.  How he covers all the details is beyond my well-traveled imagination!  We have used his Interstate 95 book many times in our drives along the East Coast. Now we are taking his new book along as a necessary tool along our RV trips from Detroit to the border of Georgia and Florida.  The books are so well planned in 25 mile strips with maps indicating what you'll find at each exit, north or south bound.  It is planned that you read what is next and plan your stops seven miles before you reach an exit. What a great help!! Especially when you are driving a large vehicle like a truck, 18-wheeler, or RV or towing a boat or trailer. No one wants to make unfruitful exits and discover no restrooms or not the right restaurants or service stations. Dave tells it all in quick and easy details and rates each of the places along the way! What a great travel companion!

The Traveller's Guide to Planet Earth is the combined effort of the Lonely Planet and BBC EARTH presenting the experience of 50 Extraordinary Destinations from the BBC's Spectacular Documentary Planet Earth for people who want the experience in their hands in book form.  This is probably the most exquisite and fascinating travel book you will ever read and enjoy. The photographs are indescribably breath-taking and the text is so descriptive and fascinating.  In addition to the information which is in the documentary, the book details fifty different trips to amazing parts of our earth which are available to travelers.  The book reveals little known (and some well-known) places to visit for extraordinary learning experiences: from Mountains to Fresh Water, to Caves, to Deserts, to Ice Worlds, to Great Plains, to Jungles, to Shallow Seas, to Seasonal Forests, to Deep Ocean.  You will want to ponder this wonderful book over and over and show everyone who visits.  And, if you are lucky enough, you may be able to book a tour to some of these places described. If you are fortunate to go in person, this book tells you all you need to know about how to do so.  

Eat Smart in Turkey by Joan Peterson and illustrated by S.V. Medaris is another of the author's excellent taste tours of various countries.  Joan loves traveling and believes that through the various flavors of national favorite foods one gains the true flavor of the country and its people.  Mingling in market places and traditional restaurants is a great way to enjoy the local atmosphere and truly experience being there, instead of just taking photos and moving uninspired through a place to say you have seen it.  With this excellent guide Peterson tells how to decipher the menus, know market foods, and embark on a tasting adventure. She gives the history of Turkey and how its cuisine and eating customs changed as the various conquerors took over in each region. With the favorite recipes of Turkish foods Peterson encourages the traveler to try the dishes before leaving home so as to know what you prefer to order and what the ingredients are (so no food allergies or upset stomachs are encountered to ruin your trip.) Then the author guides you through the fascinating market (pazar) experience, where you can mingle with locals and immerse yourself in the sights, smells, colors, noise of real life in this fascinating country. She even gives you phrases to help you navigate a market or restaurant. Most helpful for tourists is the Menu Guide, which gives the Turkish names and detailed descriptions of the foods you may wish to order or avoid.  In the Foods and Flavors Guide you will know just what your tastebuds can expect. The book is a great cultural study and a wonderful help for traveling to Turkey or preparing authentic cuisine.

Eat Smart in India by Joan Peterson and Indu Menon with illustrations by Susan Chwae is a MUST for your travels to (or living in) India.  "Everyone gets sick in India," was the warning we received before we travelled there recently, so we ordered this book, but, alas, it didn't arrive in time and YES, EVERYONE gets sick in India! On our tour of 28 people who had long bus rides on many days EVERYONE had diarrhea, which is a sure way to make a trip miserable!  Indian food is highly spicy, and ,for people unaccustomed to these delicious and unusual flavors, it is an aggressive assault on the digestive system, yet the food tastes so good you keep eating it at first, having no idea what you are tasting.  With this wonderful book you can avoid all the misery and enjoy the wonderful foods and you can prepare the national favorites at home with the easy to follow recipes and places to order hard-to-find ingredients.  The book does not overlap other travel guides in listing restaurants; instead Eat Smart Guides tell the history of the country's cuisine, the traditional and popular food customs and their meanings, and guides you through the markets and ordering in restaurants.  Most helpful is the section of descriptions of the most frequently encountered dishes and their names and flavors, so you can know what you are ordering. Good color photographs show what some of these dishes look like.  Each of the spices and herbs are listed, telling the flavor and how these are used.  The author stresses that the best way to learn a country and its people is to mix with them in popular restaurants for locals and to enjoy their food and their company in off-the-beaten tourist paths. You can use this book to prepare and try some of the dishes before you leave home so as to know what your stomach is ready for, or to continue to enjoy some of your favorite discoveries when you return home. GET THIS BOOK BEFORE GOING TO INDIA! Excellent!

Bringing Progress To Paradise by Jeff Rasley  This book reminds me of Three Cups of Tea in that Rasley went to Nepal, saw the needs of the tiny village in the Himalayas, which had no running water and no electricity and badly needed teachers and a school, returned home and made it happen.  Jeff is a lawyer and an action adventurer and the climb of Mt. Everest was a life-changing event for him. In wanting to help the people he found so wonderful, he was very cautious that the "help" might also bring with it the problems of Western civilization:greed, and trash, and waste, fighting, materialism, and the destruction of families working to help each other, which has always been the way of life and survival in the "top of the world" villages for centuries.  Jeff, in beautiful writing style, shows the reader the place, the people, his experiences, and his yearning to help in a truly careful and best way. He returned in 2009 to supply these people with many of their needs and requests through funds he raised for several years. The book details beautifully "Waht I Got from Going to a Mountain Village in Nepal.

Over the Top and Back Again by Brandon Wilson. This is one of my very favorite travel writers.  He and his wife take the most dangerous, daring and unusual treks to some of the most inaccessible places on the planet and he writes about these treks with such fascinating tales.  This time they didn't take the friendly hikes other tourists take in the Alps; they were among the very, very few people who trekked the Via Alpina (scarcely marked) which follows very ancient historic routes of the earliest settlers of these prominent regions.  They were literally walking across the topmost heights of Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France and Monaco, over 1,000 miles. Each day it necessitated an ascent of over 3,000 feet and back down for food and lodging (when they were not in a tent.) The harrowing adventures began in the early summer, when the couple figured the weather would be okay, but, of course, high peaks create their own inclement weather unannounced. So summer had horrendous snowy and icy ways (and they were not equipped for these.)  The newly opened Via Alpina was marked (only in some places ) with tiny, almost impossible to find markers but mostly were unmarked.  Early in the trek his wife Cheryl severely injured her knee and had to take time off for healing, meeting him in various places, so Brandon had to face the extreme challenges with no backup and no way to get help.  This brave couple tell the fascinating and harrowing tale of pilgrims through these beautiful but impossibly difficult peaks, their failures and successes, with wonderful people who helped them along the way. Brandon includes some interesting photographs in black and white, which you can also see on his website in color. ( ). This book is a MUST READ for hikers, travelers, outdoors people, and adventurers. You will find it as fascinating as I did.  And you will be on edge awaiting his next book, as I always am.  TERRIFIC READ!

Life is a Trip: the Transformative Magic of Travel by Judith Fein.  This book is a different and most inspiring and fascinating kind of travel book, one which I wish I were capable of writing and had the courage to experience the unusual adventures Fein has had around the world. She says she"lives to leave," but not just to see the sights as other tourists do; she travels to unusual places to be with the people and experience the important things about their lives. She seeks the heart and soul of travel and of each culture she visits and each person she meets. She goes to places most Westerners would not dare to visit (for example, a prison in the southern part of the Yucatan where she spent time visiting with and getting to know the prisoners). She travels in ways most of us would never want to experience: like sleeping in a hammock in an over-crowded condition on a small boat en route to a remote Micronesian island where she went to be part of a funeral of someone she didn't know.  She has lived in North Aftica and Europe and Los Angeles, and written travel features for nearly 100 priemere publications and been a reporter for The Savvy Traveler on public radio.  She is travel editor of Spirituality and Health Magazine.  You will not want to miss her fourteen travel essays in this EXCELLENT and moving book.

Re:Viewing Egypt Image and Echo by Photographer Xavier Roy and Gamal Al-Ghitani is a very thought provoking and fascinating photography book containing over 100 full page, black and white images of Egypt.  The photographs are juxtaposed in a most impressive way, couterpointing the old with the new, shadows with vibrant life, tradition with modern. The inspired text by Al-Ghitani helps the onlooker to understand the intent of the book while creating a mystical and meditatively receptive mood before one enters the photographs, for you do truly enter them with your eye and then your mind and then often your soul. It is a most unusual and provocatively beautiful photographic essay book. You will be inspired!

GetawayGuide Garden Route by Brent Naude-Moseley & Steve Moseley is another beautiful guide from GetawayGuide Books, this one of the most popular and one of the most scenic routes in South Africa, which follows the N2 along the Indian Ocean Coast and northward through Outeniqua Mountains, along Mossel Bay to George, from Gouritsmond to Storms River Mouth.  The book is divided into twelve chapters, the first three which give practical information about facts, highlights, and how to handle various situations there. There is a chapter detailing the most important six hiking trails. The remaining chapters 5 - 12 are by regions: Mossel Bay, George, the wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, and Tsitsikamma.  The photographs are exquisite on the slick pages and the book is  a convenient size for your backpack or car glove compartment.  This book is beautiful and complete and perfect guide while you are planning or there and memoir for later.

The Nile Cruise a photographic guide by photographer Sherif Sonbol with text  by Jenny Jobbins. If you travel to Egypt this is the perfect souvenir of your trip, telling all about the various points of interest and historical treasures you'll see along the Nile Valley. If  you cannot go to take a Nile Cruise you will feel as if you are there by reading this lovely book and seeing the exquisite and explicit photos and excellent but brief explanations of the historisity of the places and items depicted. A LOVELY keepsake quality paperback book.

Under the Neon Sky: A Las Vegas doorman's Story by Jay Rankin is a fascinatingly horrifying book wirtten by the man who was for six years the doorman for MGM Grand Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. Rankin, who had earlier careers as both a police officer and as a professional counselor, took the job because he heard it was a highly coveted position for which hundreds applied because the doorman of a large hotel casino in Sin City makes a lot of money.  He tells graphically many true events and happenings that he was exposed to through the years, the temptations, the horrors of behavior he witnessed in employees, visitors, and casino management. The book is a sad exposure of the underbelly of the most glamorous cities in the world, where no rules apply and people leave their reality behind when they enter the city. For employees it is a hellish life which gives great monetary tips and perks but is not worth the personal toll physically, mentally, emotionally, and on their marriages and other relationships, even the relationship with themselves. The book is really well written, very interesting. I highly recommend it!

Game Parks of South Africa by Gerald Hinde is the book to help you research which safari trips you would like to take in South Africa. In the book twenty of the twenty Parks of South Africa are shown in  beautiful photos and you will learn what is available to see in each of these very different parks, from wetlands to mountains.  The wildlife is varied between parks, as are the accommodations and climates. This lovely book is not only a great planning guide but also a wonderful keepsake for your trip.  The animal photos, on every page, will engage your children, and the format is small and high quality for little hands to hold easily. A beautiful and informative book.

RV the World by David Rich What an amazing life and book about it!!! David Rich has had wanderlust since age four, when his educator parents showed him a photo of Mt. Vesuvius erupting. He always asked to go to the end of the road wherever the family drove, just to see what is there. As an adult he was able to fully pursue his desires to see the world and ended up living or traveling in 147 different countries, most of the time in an RV.  He has traveled to 90 percent of the world and explored all the continents from top to bottom, west to east, and he details his favorite places and the scenes along the way, and also the difficulties he had to overcome. This book is a MUST READ for adults and children alike. And for any RV-er, it will make you want to turn your RV or camper into a duck-mobile and travel the world too. Of course, it is much easier to rent RV's locally! This book is GREAT!!!!

In Search of the African Wild Dog by Roger and Pat de la Harpe Roger and Pat de la Harpe's excellent book of one of the little known species in the world, which is on the brink of extinction, is not only a very informative and provocative read but also a book with exceptional insight into preservation and conservation on this planet. In Search of the African Wild Dog is a combination of wonderful photography coupled with well researched and well thought out text. The species of the African Wild Dog is hanging on to existence in the Northeastern area of South Africa, most prominently in the area of Kruger National Park. The animal has a bit of a hyena look to it because of the ears and some of the head features, but is clearly very different when the total body is viewed. My feeling from seeing the de la Harpe's pictures was that it was a large jackal with hyena ears. Their strange yellow, black, and white blotching of color is very unique. I had never known of the existence of these animals, which are known to be possibly the most successful hunters in Africa by those that have studied them and attempted to help preserve them. From the accounts given in the book, the reader finds this species to be one of the more interesting African animals. The methods of hunting as well as such things as their use of an old aardvark hole as a den to raise the pups and returning year after year to the same place are among the many features brought out by the authors. The book details the history of human encounters with the African Wild Dog from the early 1800s. It also goes into great detail about the present efforts to preserve the species as well as the efforts to reintroduce the animals back into areas where they once roamed by the group called The Wild Dog Advisory Group, which was formed with the purpose of establishing several small populations of wild dogs in different locations. The de la Harpe's give the reader in depth accounts of this with description combined with unbelievable photographs. First seeing the cover of this book might lead one to think it to be only a coffee table photo book, but it is what I believe to be a captivating read in understanding life on this planet and the need for preservation of any of the species that are in danger of extinction.

Guide to Underground Rome: From Cloaca Massima to Domus Aurea, The Most Fascinating Underground Sites of the Capital by Carlo Pavia is a really fascinating book which describes in details and with many photos the underground explorations and tours available in Rome, Italy.  The text is in English and Italian.  We were amazed to learn that in 2,000 years up to fifteen meters of debris from earthquakes, floods, normal deterioration, fires, and waste dumps built up over Rome. Now archeologists and others who wished to study below the surface and learn more of the history of ancient Rome have successfully excavated miles of tunnels and found absolutely fascinating discoveries which tell detailed stories of what happened over the ages. You can even tunnel through the home of Nero, before Rome burned, in its elaborate detail with paintings and some furnishing still intact!  and, of course, many tombs are in these underground areas and so much more. The book is very interesting and the facts carefully documented and the photos are enlightening.  This is especially a good way for interested persons with lung problems to see Underground Rome without risking the lurking molds and mildew and dust.

Traveling Through Deserts of Egypt, Edited by Sahar Abdel-Hakim and Deborah Manley: Having just made a trip to Egypt and gone down the Nile River from Aswan to Luxor in the autumn of last year, I found the book  very interesting and great for adding insight into the vast area of Egypt not traveled by many visitors to the country.  As I cruised down the Nile, I could look out to the West and to the East of the river to see beyond the lush delta of the Nile River, the desert sands stretching all the way to the far horizons and wonder at who and what lay out there.  We made one journey of a little over 100 miles from Aswan to the great temple at Abu Simbel through the desert, and I was intrigued by thoughts of what it would be like to actually spend time traveling through what seemed to be such a barren landscape.  “Traveling Through the Deserts of Egypt” gives the reader a great sense of what this might be like through the eyes of some 75 notable explorers and writers.  The editors of the book have put together quoted passages from such people as: Sir Richard Burton, Robert Curzon, E. M. Forster, Herodotus, and Rudyard Kipling, that describe their feelings and experiences from traveling in the deserts of Egypt.  The book is arranged in sections.  The sections on the three deserts of Egypt, the Western `Libyan' Desert, the Eastern Desert, and the Sinai Peninsula, give exerts from the various travelers as they relate to each of these particular deserts, revealing to the reader how each separate Egyptian desert is not just the same, as well as pointing out specific features that set them apart.  Other sections of the book include: preparations for the journey into the desert, starting out into the desert, the desert day, the desert night, nature in the desert, the threats of the desert, the people of the desert, and the return to the world that is not desert.  Each of these sections is filled with appropriate writings from the various travelers, allowing the reader to fill his or her mind with vibrant images of these vast unpopulated areas of Egypt and how different people approached a journey into them.  The passages found in each of the sections come from travelers experiencing the deserts as early as 450 BC up and unto 2008 AD, bringing out not only the different impressions by era but also by culture, as the 75 authors used by Abel-Hakim and Manley were from different origins, with different reasons for being in the desert areas.  “Traveling Through the Deserts of Egypt” expands the understanding of the little noticed vast areas of Egypt through the eyes of great travelers, writers, and intellectuals.  This is a very notable work of research and compilation by these two editors and well worth the read to come to some understanding of the Egyptian desert environment and its effect on individuals from many cultures and eras. (Review by Bill Neely)
London City Guide from Lonely Planet by Tom Masters, Steve Fallon, Vesna Maric is another of the excellent guide and planning books from this noted publisher.  The city is divided into sections, with good maps of each area to help plan your itinerary as you find the places reviewed.  At the back of the book is a large city map you can pull out to use as you stroll around. And in discussing each area, the authors highlight their Top Picks, making it easier for you to decide. The city sections are dark edged pages, making it easy to find where you need to be guided.  The second half of the book has pages with white edges, divided into sections on Shopping, Eating , Drinking, Nightlife, The Arts, Gay/Lesbian, Sleeping, Excursions, Transport, and a Directory of necessary services you might need while in London. There are some color photographs, as well as conversion charts for temperature, money, and distances.  Each place has phone, address, wi-fi info, Internet, opening hours, A/C, pool, wheelchair, bus, train, and underground info. The book is definitely the one you need for a trip to London, and very handy to have if you live there. (Lonely Planet)

The Wonders of Karnak, The Sound and Light of Thebes by Zahi HawassThe small but impressive book Wonders of Karnak: The Sound and Light of Thebes is a wonderful collection of photographs of the temple area of Karnak in modern day Luxor, once named Thebes, and is also introduced with insightful commentary from Zahi Hawass, who is Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and a renowned archeologist. A large part of the collection of photographs are of the temple during the sound and light show that is put on each night for visitors to the area, particularly those that are on Nile Cruise tours. The script of the show is printed in this book.  The photos exemplify the majesty of this wonderful archeological area. Having just visited Luxor this past fall, I found the book not only great for recapturing the experience I had while in Luxor but also a great aid at expanding my knowledge of things I did not grasp or understand about the temple and the area of Luxor while I was visiting. Whether you are someone who plans to visit Egypt, has visited Egypt, or is just fascinated in the ancient Egyptian past, the book is a must to possess. The photographs bring out the exquisite beauty and grandeur of the place and hold the images of the light show in place for one to marvel at for more than the few seconds you have when being at the light show in person. The book also has photographs of some of the other high points for anyone visiting or interested in Luxor or ancient Thebes. Beautiful book!

South Africa's Greatest Golf Destinations by Jamie Thom with Stuart McLean For anyone planning a trip to golf in South Africa, and for South African golfers, this is a treasure. The book has beautiful color photographs of 56 of the top 100 golf courses in the country, as rated by Golf Digest South Africa, which is edited by Stuart McLean. The author has played all 100 of the top courses.  Photographer Thom is renowned for his photography, having won numerous prestigious awards for it. The lovely photos are accompanied with a half page description of the course highlights and pitfalls. Course designers are named and the year each course opened. The last page give the "best of" holes in each of 8 categories and tells which course and which hole is best in that category, such as Best Long Par Three.  Beautiful coffee table and memoir book.

The Ultimate African Wildlife by Nigel Dennis is one of the most beautiful books of the amazing animals of this vast continent, and the slick paperback book is large format and very affordable.  Dennis is an extremely expert photographer, with care to details and fascinating postures and habits of animals. The photos are close-up and you can see every individual hair.  He divides the book into sections of cats, dogs, big game, browsers and grazers, primates, smaller game, reptiles, birds, and ends with a section on the unusual animals of Madagascar.  Each animal is identified and introductory pages in each section tell about the habits and habitats. This book will be a favorite of adults and children alike and a beautiful coffee table book, or memento of your trip to Africa. Excellent!

Key To Cape Town by Toast Coetzer and Samantha Reinders is a beautiful Insider's Guide to exploring the most important city in South Africa.  I love the format with each page featuring a brilliant photograph and description of one of 115 wonderful places to visit and things to do in Cape Town.  It is an easy guide to follow and to plan your trip, with fold-out maps on the inside covers and also some double page exquisite photos.  The book's indexing is so handy: planning various itineraries for any preference of activity or interest,  or any season, for a few days or a longer time. This book is a must for your trip there and also a wonderful guide for any Cape Town resident. We highly recommend it.

Desert Songs by Arita Baaijens is a book that captured my spirit of wanderlust and wonder! This is the descriptions of a woman explorer in the deserts of Egypt and Sudan .  Arita felt the call to find her inner spirit and she left her job in Amsterdam, left everything and everyone in her life and went to the desert in search of her inner meaning.  Unbelievably, she bravely set out alone with a map and camel on her first desert wandering, twenty years ago, for a three month trek, never having been in a desert environment before.  The book is a mixture of travelogue and spiritual quest, with the journey far more important than the destination or scenery.  She fell in love with the mistique and vast lonliness of the sandscape and repeated her desert wanderings each year for twenty years, subsequently with the help of a guide, and she even joined a forty day camel drive with a caravan of over 400 animals for about 1,000 kilometres, the only woman among Arab men, but with the protection of her long  trusted guide and friend. Arita also tells much of the history of other people who have trekked the desert, because to understand the desert you must understand its history. The book has beautiful, full color photos on nearly every pair of pages. It is a most interesting read that makes the reader admire the courage and stamina of such a brave and unusual woman.
Getaway Guide to Botswana by Mike Copeland is an excellent guide book, especially for those wishing to rent a car and drive or make their own safari.  With beautiful photos to give you a glimpse of what you will see ahead of getting there, he describes each area of the country and what to see, where to stay, what to eat.  But different from other guidebooks he also tells you how to outfit your own camping trip, what to pack, where to buy necessities, how to cope with minor emergencies, how to get help if you have a physical problem or a problem with your vehicle.  The book is fascinating, and it seems to cover every possible detail for any kind of trip to Botswana, yet it is easy to carry and will easily fit into your backpack or suitcase. Don't go without it!

Wild Kruger by Adrian Bailey and Robyn Keene Young is a beautiful, collector book which is a tribute to the amazing Kruger National Park in southern Africa, a wildlife preserve for over a century.  The husband          wife team are photo          journalists with many outstanding, award          winning credits to their names.  The exquisite photographs in this book picture the wildlife in their natural habitats and capture amazing shots of their ways of life. You'll find all the most difficult to photograph species: baboon, leopard, crocodile, many water birds, wild dog, hyena, elephants, white rhinoceros, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, buffalo, antelope, impala.  The various landscapes of the bushveld and open savanna, rivers, and woodlands make the photos truly authentic and outstanding. You'll keep this book on your coffee table for years for everyone to enjoy.       

Alby Mangels: Beyond World Safari  by Lynn Santer is for readers who enjoy living vicariously through the real life adventures of a person that lives his or her life on the edge and is a great read. Santer gives us the biography of a Dutch boy, Alby Mangels, whose parents moved to Australia's outback when he was 7 years old, which began his love of the great outdoors and all nature. At seventeen, he and friend set out on motorcycles, going from the South of Australia to Darwin in the North through the arid central vast area of the country. This trip was to set Alby's sights on what later became World Safari I and World Safari II, on which he produced two films that had wide audience appeal. From Santer's accounts of Mangels' adventures the reader comes to see that Alby was a man who was not afraid to be alone or take on the unknown or dangerous. Alby is shown to have learned that isolation and solitude could be his friends as well as people he met in all parts of the globe. I was fascinated with the accounts of each endeavor that in some cases brought Mangels close to experiencing his own doom. A key part of the book centers around his travels on a renovated sailing ketch named Gretta Marie. He had learned sailing the high seas when in his late teens he hired on to the crew of the one hundred and twenty foot sailing vessel named Klaraborg. Santer relates Alby's experiences throughout the Pacific, Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa. The book is an account of a man always living in the NOW and at the same time being open to new cultures, friends, experiences, leading to a life of adventure and personal fulfillment.     

In China, My Name Is... by Valerie Blanco & Ellen Feberwee is a fascinating exploration of the new Chinese culture by two Dutch women who live in Shanghai, a melting pot of cultures,  and speak Chinese.  They realized that many Chinese people are now choosing to rename themselves with English names with the emerging importance of China as and important world power.  The photos, mostly of young people who can speak English, and interviews in the book give a great insight into this culture about which the West has known very little for decades.  In Chinese tradition a name for a child is carefully chosen because its sound and meaning are associated with the child's destiny.  Even the characters to write the name are very influential.  In Chinese the words for destiny and name are both pronounced Ming. The authors wondered if the English names are chosen so carefully. The answers, revealed through the many interviews, give great understanding of the new Chinese culture, which is both globally embracing and also filled with tradition and cultural beliefs. This book is excellent for anyone traveling to China or wishing to understand this culture. Excellent!

Yellowstone Treasures, The Traveler's Companion To the National Park, Updated third edition, by Janet Chapple is one of the most complete guides we have found. It is organized to indicate each point of interest you will encounter along each of the entrance roads and includes things outside the park at each of these entrances too. The author, who grew up in Yellowstone where her parents worked at Old Faithful Inn, has traveled or hiked each road or pathway described, and she describes them in detail.  Her husband is a geologist and has provided the information for the intriguing and informative chapter on the geologic past. You'll also find information about the history of the people of Yellowstone and its flora and fauna.  Some places are highlighted with Don't Miss! or Worth Making Time For. Travel tips are given for planning your trip in all details. There are numerous color photos throughout the slick pages. This is the book to get for Yellowstone!     

The Milepost 2009 by Kris Valencia the book that has been the Bible of North Courntry Travel since before Alaska was a state is now revised and updated for its 61st Edition. No one should go to Alaska without it! It includes maps, camping, restroom stops, handicap travel , every kind of transportation, all about wildlife and birds, gas stations, recreation of all kinds, and guides you Mile by Mile through this vast state, covering every mile of anywhere you could choose to go, by foot or any means of transportation. You will learn about the best sightseeing and wildlife viewing so you can plan your trip well before you go, as well as the contact information for accommodations and restaurangs. It is updated each year by editors in the field, so they can really tell you accurately the conditions and information you need. Be SURE to take this with you, as ANYONE who has been to Alaska will tell you. It is the First thing to pack!     

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin is one of the most amazing books I have ever read.  It is the true story of an American young man, the author Greg, who climbed Mt. Everest in the Himalayas and became disoriented, lost, and nearly died on his return trek. He was found by a local man, whose family nursed him in their poor hovel, until he could return home.  When he asked how he could thank them, the local people replied, "Help us get a school for our children, who sit in the cold on the ground and scratch lessons in the dirt with a stick when a visiting teacher can come." Greg, who had sold everything to make the trek in the Himalayas, promised to try but had no idea how he would accomplish this. He returned to his work as a nurse in an American hospital, begged and saved every penny he could, suffered great deprivations and struggles, always determined to fulfill his promise to the people who saved him. With no knowledge of how to go about getting funds, building supplies, nor how to build any building, Greg accomplishes his goal years later. The book, although rather disjointedly written, is an amazing true saga of desperate needs, personal struggles, unbelievable sacrifice and determination, and amazing fulfillment of promises, over and over again. You will not be able to put this book down, nor will you ever forget it. Greg has shown us the way to World Peace, one school at a time, if only the governments and war mongers of the world would see this.  DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!     

The book of short stories Sun, Stone, and Shadows edited by Jorge F. Hernandez is a great collection of the best of Mexican authors. The reader is introduced into the realm of a country’s literary approach, which captures the cultural essence of the Mexican people. Such stories as “My Life with the Wave” by Octavio Paz and “The Night of Margaret Rose” by Francisco Tario in the section entitled “The Fantastic Unreal” touch on the magical realism of Mexican thought and life. In the section entitled “Scenes from Mexican Reality” the reader is given the fatalistic reality of characters faced with dealing with living out life when the reality is beyond the individual to control destiny. Such stories as “The Mist” by Juan de la Cabada and “Tell Them Not to Kill Me!” by Juan Rulfo present situations in which characters must encounter inner conflict in the face of unknown outcomes. This book of short stories brings out the great diversity of Mexican life, from the rural to the urban as well as the wealth and poverty. The vivid descriptions in such stories as “The Square” by Juan Garcia Ponce paint for the reader a picture in which the sights and sounds work together to create from the simple going and coming of the main character C to and from his town’s square each day a symbolic metaphor of the individual’s life journey that relies on continued contact with the familiar to connect present with the past and thus restore faith in one’s existence. Martin Luis Guzman’s “The Carnival of the Bullets” is a story that gives the reader a glimpse into the revolutionary past of Mexico by dealing with the conflict created by merging the historical versus legendary past. Such realistic accounting of this event in history of Villa by Guzman’s story gives chilling insight into the nature of war, particularly the violence of a revolution where countrymen battle fellow countrymen. All in all Sun, Stone, and Shadows is a wonderfully compelling read on many levels. The diversity of the approach as well as the subject matter of the stories put together by Hernandez is a tribute to a country with a rich culture seen through the eyes of true literary artist.     

 San Francisco, Portrait of a City by Lawrence Migdale is well  named for that is exactly what it is. The beautiful full          page photographs in this hard cover book give a true and complete portrait of the city by the Bay.  From the Golden Gate to parks, fairs, neighborhoods, churches, and the people, you will see the city as it is in its own daily life. The book is a lovely coffee table piece.   The only text identifies the photos. Migdale, a well known photographer for three decades, has photographs included in the famous George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.     

Complete Idiot's Guide to New York City 2009 by Anita Gates is the new version of the best guide to the Big Apple.  Like other Idiot's Guides, this is simple to follow with all your questions answered, whether you live there or are visiting.  Gates, who lives in this, one of America's most expensive cities, give great tips as to how to save money, what is worth visiting and what is not (no matter what you've heard), and easy logistics to getting there in what could be very complicated. Of course, hotels, restaurants, and kep points of interest are included with phone numbers and addresses in boldface.  And Anita includes many tips of how to enjoy yourself while you are there instead of being overwhelmed by logistics.  Of special interest and unique to this book are the two chapters on each of the three areas of the city.  Gates has divided it into East Side plus Queens, West Side plus the Bronx, and Downtown plus Brooklyn and Staten Island. She tells how to familiarize yourself with the area you choose and how to feel comfortable and safe in it. She has prepared walking tours for each area, telling you what you will enjoy.  With her detailed one day itinerary for each of the sections she shows you the simplest way to get from point A to point B and to maximize your time to see as much as possibe along the way.  This is THE BOOK for NYC!     

UTAH by Fred Hirschmann is one of the most exquisite coffee table books I have ever seen!  The large, hardback book has over 200 of the most breath  taking images you can imagine.  In the last few pages of the book Hirschmann, a worldrenowned outdoors and wildlife photographer, tells how he shot the images, which cameras, lenses, and film he used (information for other real photographers.)  For the rest of us, the photographs are given simple labels telling where in Utah they were shot.  Utah is known to have the most unique and the most photographed landscapes in the United States, so it is difficult for a photographer to find views that are different. However, Hirschmann is an intrepid hiker and extremely patient in waiting for the perfect conditions for the photo he imagines.  Most people will think the amazing photos in this book have been enhanced or shot with special filters to get the brilliant colors, but they have not.  Hirschmann is just that great a photographer who knows how to choose the scenes and how to capture the perfect light.  This is an incredible book. Give it to yourself or a friend today     

  Caution: funny signs Ahead by Megan Edwards and Mark Sedenquist is a book I wish I had done.  It is a wonderful collection of hilarious signs seen along the highways and byways all over the USA.   The comments the authors added beneath each photo make the signs even funnier.  This book is full of fun and laughter and is a terrific gift for anyone.        

  Versailles: A Biography of a Palace by Tony Spawforth is an architectural history quite different from most of the dull, dry ones. This book is filled with true stories of incidents within Versailles told by its inhabitants, from servants to kings and queens.  The history of place is derived not only from facts and descriptions but also from writings of people who actually lived there or helped work on the palace and gardens. This is really interesting, sort of like evesdropping on a wicked plot or an unlawful tryst, or the collapse of a kingdom, for which the palace itself plays a huge part as the culprit.  The book is fun to read, captivating, and will fill your mind with images of  an unbelievably  decadent and lavish lifestyle, longgone forever.  You'll find this an interesting read.     

Blue Ice: Travels in Antarctica By Don Pinnock This is a fascinating book telling about Pinnock's dream trip of a lifetime coming to be. He journeyed from South Africa aboard an old ship as the official writer and photographer for an expedition to Antarctica and details his experiences in the white, frigid continent. He also tells in detail about the many expeditions and explorers who have failed or succeeded in past centuries in their exploits at the bottom of the earth. Pinnock writes in beautiful, descriptive language and his enthusiasm and passion for this unconquerable place make the reader both eager and fearful to make the same journey.  A fascinating read!        

Great African Adventures: A Guide to the Mother Continent's Ultimate Outdoor Adventures By Jacques Marias This beautiful book completely changed my impressions of Africa.  Although Westerners think of it as third world dark continent ONLY, there are many, many modern travel adventures of highly sophistocated nature, just waiting for the bold traveler to grab.  Marias, who thrives on adrenaline pumping adventures of the extreme extreme, lives in Africa and writes about his own adventures and experiences in every kind of sport you can imagine, especially those which test endurance, strength, and brave hearts.  Only a few of the adventures and photographs are from other contributors.  The sports include running, mountain biking, paddling, climbing, sailing, swim racing, trekking, rafting, skiing, water sports, snowboarding, game tracking, canopy walks, zip lines, abseiling, mountain climbing, rock climbing, kiteboarding, hot air ballooning, paragliding, shark cage diving, kayaking, dirt road tripping, donkey trekking, elephant riding, running rivers... How does one person excel in and find time and strength to do so many adventures??  The maps, survival guides, and information about finding the best outfitters and guides for each sport cover over twenty places all over the continent. The author is not only a respected adventure writer, this being his fifth book, but also and incredible photographer who stops action with his perfectly sharp photographs that you'll enjoy on every page of this book. This is terrific, even if you could never do one of the extreme sports yourself.  Enjoy!      

 Wai          Nani, High Chiefess of Hawai'i: Her Epic Journey By Linda Ballou This, the author's first book, is a masterpiece and a fascinating read.  The historic novel tells the dramatic and heart warming love story of Wai          Nani. By weaving the ancient legends of Old Hawaii into this compelling story, Ballou captivates the reader with her beautiful descriptions and very real characters, who come alive in your imagination.  The first few pages were a bit hard to read because the author has interjected real Hawaiian words into sentences in which the meaning is evident, but once I got the rhythm I could hardly put the book down. It is an excellent read, especially if you have been or plan to go to Hawaii.          

India The Beautiful  By Anthony Osmond          Evans is a large, beautiful, coffee table book of full          page photographs of India.  The acclaimed photographer was drawn to the magnificent pallette of colors, which subtlely change from one area to another, signifying to those who are aware, which people live there.  The elaborate patterns in the architecture and brilliant hues of clothing, markets, and landscape are perfect subjects for the purpose of this book, which marks the 50th anniversary of India's independence.  Travelers, artists, and photographers will want to own this and everyone who peruses its pictures will be enthralled.      

  Early Amusement Parks of Orange County by Richard Harris is part of the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing.  For  you who love memorabilia and old photos, this is the book to enjoy.  From the brief history of amusement parks I was amazed to learn that the oldest one in the world still in operation dates from 1583 in Denmark.  There is a difference between theme parks and amusement parks and themed amusement parks, which Disney started.  The concept of amusement parks, which first consisted of picnic tables near a trolley stop, has changed through the years as new inventions made people want more for entertainment. The book is filled with old sepia photographs and explanations which you will find quite interesting, especially if you live in or visit Southern California.  

  HIKING IN ISRAEL BY THE EDITORS OF ERETZ MAGAZINE Whether you are Jewish, Christian, or Moslem, or just one who watches the news, you have imagined Israel all your life. Most people who visit go for a religious experience or to see the Holy Land sites mentioned in the world's sacred literature. Most tourists go by bus and see the cities only. But they miss the wonders of getting out in nature in the places trod by the ancients we have read about all our lives.  This little pocket sized book has beautiful color photos and maps and excellent instructions for taking 36 different hikes within Israel's countryside, mountains, river pathways, and valleys, including  a couple of hikes in and around cities.  A unique planning tool for a trip to the Holy Land, this book is worth a read, even if you are not planning to take any of the interesting hikes.  If you are a hiker, heed the careful safety instructions in the beginning of the book.       

Smart Packing for Today's Traveler by Susan FosterSMART PACKING FOR TODAY'S TRAVELER Third Edition By Susan Foster is filled with Traveling Light ideas, Safety and Security Tips, and Packing for Business and Vacation hints.  The new edition this year is even better and more complete with up to date hints that were not in her previous editions.  An experienced travelers herself, Foster tells up to date ideas of products and clothing that is made for easy travel and she suggests specific items for each different kind of trip, itemizing just how many pieces you need and what they should be for camping, cruises, adventure travel, sports, resorts, and business. She has terrific ideas for packing for kids too. She offers suggestions for selecting luggage and for packing each piece. Her safety tips and product knowledge are worth the price of the book. She details worthwhile gadgets to purchase and items that serve as comfort en route. This book is a valuable tool for frequent travelers.  As a travel writer who used to be the world's worst packer, I am grateful for her book and thoroughly endorse it!       

Sailing Down the Moon Beam A Memoir By Mary Gottschalk is a well          written and fascinating book about her and her husband's brave experience of leaving it all behind and following a dream.  They had lucrative jobs with high stress and decided instead of the rat race they would buy a sailboat and spend five years going around the world.  But, not having all the knowledge they wished when they set sail, they had to overcome many problems with the boat along the way.  Mary describes with sailor terms the difficulties and how they solved them, while weaving the story of their interpersonal problems within the long          time marriage while they were confined to the company of just each other in relationship          straining circumstances. The descriptions of the many places they visited and the people they met and the friends who visited them make this story intriguing, poignant, exciting, and WORTH THE READ!!!        

A Walk For Sunshine by Jeff Alt is the story of his 2,160 mile trek          through on the Appalachian Trail, from the southern end in Georgia to the Northern end in Maine.  This is the oldest trail in the United States, started in 1921.  Jeff's dream since childhood was to walk it without interruption, but it was not until the end of his college degrees in marketing that he was able to do so and to accomplish the feat with an extended purpose.  He has a mentally retarded, cerebral palsey brother who is in a care center, Sunshine, in Toledo, and Jeff decided to promote his walk and gather sponsor's money for equipment for Sunshine.  With lectures, slide shows, newsletters, emails, and magazine and newspaper articles he gathered more than his goal of $10,000. He perservered through six months of blistered feet, rain, sleet, snow, heat, varmits, doubts, fears, and lonliness to go all the way to Maine.  His book, a portion of which goes to Sunshine, is the fascinating detailing of the dream trek, which thousands wish to do and only several hundres accomplish.  Jeff now sponsors annual fundraisers and leads short Appalachian hikes to continue to raise funds for Sunshine. He has raised now over $100,000. A really gripping and inspiring book!

Inca Trails: Journey Through The Bolivian and Peruvian Andes by Martin Li is a very well written and fascinating book in which the author describes in great details his ambitious trek through the Andes.  He is an ambitious hiker and made his journey to discover and trace the history of the last great pre          Columbian civilisation in South America, the Incas.  The vast empire the Incas built and the civilized society they formed who built the amazing places such as Cuzco and Machu Picchu was conquered by a small band of Spaniards after only about three generations on the Inca Empire.  Li's journey explores all the history of the Incas, visiting each significant place across the beautiful and rugged terrain of the Andes.  His book is fascinating and informative as well as descriptively beautiful. Anyone going to the Andes should read it first in order to get a lot more out of your trip. We highly recommend it and wish we had had this book before our trip to Machu Picchu. a portion of the proceeds from the book is donated to help finance solar energy and other development projects in Bolivia and Peru.  A MUST READ!        or here www.inca

Along the Templar Trail by Brandon Wilson Along the Templar Trail by Brandon Wilson is another fascinating book about the author's amazing treks across continents. In this book Wilson and his senior French friend Emile whom he had met on a trak in Spain, attempt to walk across two continents on a Peace Mission. Wilson flew from his home in Hawaii to meet Emile in Paris, France. They both bid their wives good          bye for an anticipated seven months' journey, to follow the trail of Crusaders and the original Knights Templar, an historic trail of many warriors, all the way to Jerusalem. Brandon and Emile determined to promote peace and friendship all along the way, attempting to walk from 20 to 50 kilometers each day. They accepted food and modest accommodations from "angels" along the way, and directions from strangers who told him where they might find a hostel or simple food or water, but they refused to accept rides that were offered. They trekked thousands of miles through war          torn lands, over rugged mountains, across barren lands, along seashores, through villages and dangerous highways and busy cities, always pushing onward, exhausted, thirsty, hungry, but determined to speak of peace with everyone they met. In every situation they found people to be the same all over both continents, and all wanted peace. Did they make it all the way in spite of the dangers inherent in the Middle East? You must read the book to find out! This book is a MUST READ. You'll be inspired by the author's amazing determination and fortitude and dedication to his mission. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!        

Along Florida's Expressways, 2nd Edition by Dave Hunter is another of Dave's Excellent travel guides, designed particularly for the fly/drive visitor.  The book is filled with a wealth of information because the author and his wife personally drove every inch of the state's expressways in both directions. The couple tell points of interest you would never find on your own, vital information about rest stops, gas stations, museums, restaurants, and fast food places. But they also include fascinating trivia and fun facts that make the book a good read along the way. The many pages of detailed maps show just 25 miles at a time and tell everything you need to know!  This is a MUST for your drive anywhere in Florida.

 DON'T MIND ME, I'M JUST PASSING THROUGH BY KREG P.J. JORGENSON is a humorous travel memoir written by this well          known columnist who continues to tickle our funnybones with his witty observations.  His descriptions of places and people he encounters all over Europe are brilliant, tongue          in          cheek, intellectual humor for those who have been there or want to go there. He has many classical and literary references which are not understandable to the traveler who is not well          read, but to those who are, this book is a fun, laughing experience. His witticisms and puns and twists of reference are truly brilliant. You'll enjoy this one!  

 TAVUA THE WHITE CANNIBAL BY RICK WILLIAMSON is a fascinating account of the New Zealand author's ten years' experience of living with and intimately experiencing the lifestyle and deeply spiritual and superstitious ways of one of the world's last remaining totally primitive tribes who live in the high mountains of Vanautu's largest Island, Espirito Santo, off the coast of Australia and New Zealand. Because of abuses by Spanish explorers, slave traders, and Christian missionaries in the distant past, these people of  te village of  Winea are hostile to white people and are practicing cannibals.  Rick was in great danger of being killed and eaten when he first arrived, and even though he was adopted by one of the chiefs and taught the extremely secret kastam and tabus , he was constantly in danger for his life as he learned how to walk through the minefield of superstitions and forbidden ways, punishable by being castrated and boiled and eaten.  He endured untold, excruciating torments both physical and mental in order to be accepted, initiated, and taught their secrets.  His story is so fascinating I couldn't put the book down until I had read every word.

The Top 100 Most Beautiful Rustic Vacations of North America, Second Edition by Dusty Dave is a beautiful guidebook of ranches, lodges, cabins and other wonderful places to visit in cozy, woodland settings.  The book was awarded the Bronze Medal for Best Travel Guidebook 2007 at the Independent Publisher Book Awards. None of the places recommended in the book paid to be named but were personally chosen by the author, who has visited thousands of rustic lodges and accommodations around the world. He is the owner of the where you can find also many more of these special places.  This Second Edition of The Top 100 Most Beautiful Rustic Vacations of North America is attractive to thumb through and easy to make selections because the same format with several photos is used on a double page spread for each property.  The indexing is easy to follow with maps showing where each place is. Dave's descriptions are interesting and thorough, telling what activities and amenities are available, what is close by.  Dusty Dave has done a fine job with this enticing travel guide... Makes me want to escape to the woods and enjoy it all!      :

The 100 Best Vacations To Enrich Your Life by Pam Grout is a new National Geographic travel guide book with a special twist: these vacations are not to get away and veg out but to get your creative juices flowing, or to educate you, or to heal you, or to enable you to share what you know to help others. The 100 best vacations book is divided into four sections, each focusing on one of the types of trips mentioned above. The vacation experiences are described in detail, as well as what you will learn, how you can give back, and the type of people who will enjoy such an experience. The trips are within the U.S.A., Canada, and Mexico and the book is written by an outstanding experienced travel writer, published frequently in top publications and the author of 13 travel books. This compilation of tour ideas and opportunities is meeting the needs of the new kind of travelers who want to have a meaningful vacation and give back to the places and people they visit, or to learn away from stresses of their normal environment. The book is EXCELLENT, with all the information you need to choose and sign up for leisure time well spent which will keep you smiling and promises to change you forever.     

 BAD KARMA by Tamara Sheward is the strangest, perhaps funniest, travel book I ever read. This is the Confessions of a Reckless Traveller in Southeast Asia and will keep you shaking your head in amazement. Written by an Aussie, the book has a lingo that is at first difficult to adapt and understand, unless you are also from "Down Under" and a hippie back          packer.  Her tales of  back          packing her way through the underbelly of South East Asia, on an unplanned, wing          it          as          you          go escape from the mundane work          a          day world on a somewhat non          traditional Australian walk          about. She and her friend get into the grimiest places, meet the most undesirable people, and stay in accommodations that give even the reader nightmares, but her tongue in cheek ramblings are twisted and hilarious and often make you want to gag and to be SURE you never go to any of the places they stay or eat.  First published in Australia, the book is one of the most unique travel tales, but definitely NOT for the conservative reader...filled with bad words, slang, and drinking, and getting stoned.          

Eat Smart in Peru by Joan Peterson and Brook Soltvedt, Illustrated by Susan Chwae is a travel guide for food lovers which guides the traveler in Peru through the market and the menu in order to have a savory tasting adventure. The unique concept of this book is one of many in the EAT SMART series. The guides include a history of the culture and development of its unique cuisine. There are many recipes sprinkled through the book to try before making your trip to Peru or to enjoy as a special memory after returning. Especially useful is the chapters about shopping in the market with the needed languages phrases.And every traveler to Peru needs this book even if it is just for the restaurant guide which lists the dishes and food items in alphabetical order with descriptions of what it is, with national and regional Peruvian favorites indicated. With this guide you will no longer be ordering mystery foods when you dine. The book is unique and really well organized. Be sure to pack it for your trip!     

A Quick Guide To Customs and Etiquette is a new series of travel guides which seems so ideal I had to wonder why it has been such a long time coming. Each guide focuses on the customs and etiquette of each specific country and tells pleasure and business travelers what they need to know in order not to make embarrassing or insulting blunders in a foreign country. With a brief overview of the history, geography, and religious customs that helped develop the country, the reader gains an understanding of what to expect and how to respond. There are sections on the land and people, values and attitudes,religion & festivals & rituals, banquets and entertaining, visiting in a home, conducting business, communicating, food and drink, and more. These little guides fit into our purse so you can read one on the plane en route and be familiar with the society's do's and don't's as you arrive. These guides are terrific and important to each of us as the world grows smaller. You may even be visiting a cultural section within your own city, such as China Town, and want to have this guide to help you understand and appreciate another way of life. Excellent! Buy one for each place you travel.     .

  Maui, Lanai & Molokai  by Sharon Hamblin is one of the Hunter Travel Guides and is a necessity for planning a trip to Hawaii.  The book is pleasant to read and gives valuable information from hiking, points of interest, accommodations, dining, to shopping and much more. This is the most complete guide to these islands that you'll find for walking trails, dive sites, boat trips,waterfalls,snorkeling, surfing, and a pony tour to Haleakala Crater.The book is enjoyably readable and well indexed, so it is easy to find information you need, from phone numbers and addresses to websites and prices. This is an excellent value to make your trip perfect.       

The Alaska Wilderness Guide 9th Edition If you are going to be more adventurous than the average tourist visiting Alaska, or if you live and enjoy hiking, camping, etc., this guide is a MUST for you. From the editors of the famous Milepost (the Bible of road travel in Alaska) this is the book your very life, and certainly your success in the Alaskan wilderness experience, depends on. The guide details where to camp, sportfish, sea kayak, fun rivers, hike and anything else you might wish to do in the backcountry. There are detailed descriptions and information about over 250 towns and bush villages. Not only the ease and fun of your trip, but your life could also depend on this book for know          where/how in emergencies that arise in remote, rough landscapes.

Explore Costa Rica by Harry PariserExplore Costa Rica by Harry S. Pariser is another excellent new guide of this Central American Country which is becoming so very popular for tourists. Pariser gives the history, geography, and maps and all the necessary information of a typical tour guide, but this extremely comprehensive book of over 600 pages goes further to detail many out of the way places that are not on the typical tours. He emphasizes the naturalist and outdoor adventures in which Costa Rica takes great pride as being the foremost country in ecology in the world. Pariser includes many illustrations and some excellent full color photographs which will really make you want to go see this country for yourself. Be sure to read this guide before you plan your trip. You'll be very glad you did!      

  Fifty Best Girl Friends Getaways in North America by Marybeth Bond is a new travel book from National Geographic Press by one of America's top travel writers. Geared to the exploding new sector of travelers, Bond has advice and tips for women who want to travel together, in groups large or small, young or old. She had selected fifty locals to describe and tell from her personal experience what to see and do and what to avoid, how to make it easy and fun. She gives several suggestions of places to stay, things to do, and where to find good food. Her getaways are divided into six thematic categories:  Big City Getaways, Spirit Boosters, Birthday blowouts, Female Family Bonding, Adventure Escapes, Friends Reunions, Best Places to Heal When You've Been Dumped, Golf Getaways, Pampering retreats, and Retail Therapy in Small Artsy Towns.  This book is a must for any woman planning a girl holiday.        

ADVENTURES IN FORMOSA BY ANTONIO GRACEFFO details the author's adventurs in Formosa (Taiwan) where he left his life as a New York stock broker to live a very different life in Asia, where he enjoys kick boxing and spiritual practices. He is an excellent and fascinating writer. Order from     

Adventure GUide to Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast by Marina Carter  ADVENTURE GUIDE TO NAPLES, SORRENTO, AMALFI COAST BY MARINA CARTER is another of Hunter Publishing Company's excellent travel guides. This one has a fascinating introduction which gives not only the history, but also breaks down and explains the art and architecture into specific periods of history, which gives you a thorough appreciation for what you will see and experience on your trip.  There is a section of where to go, what to see, places to eat and shop, and sporting activities and entertainment in each area, including phone numbers and websites to contact for each.  The book explores Naples with its history and art, then the 60 mile Sorrento Peninsula as a base for exploring other areas and famous for luring sirens to the treacherous rocks, and finally the less accessible Amalfi Coast with its gorgeous scenery one of the most beautiful in all of Europe.  Reading this guide will tempt travelers to Italy to venture South of Rome.       

Smart Packing for Today's Traveler by Susan FosterSMART PACKING FOR TODAY'S TRAVELER Third Edition By Susan Foster is filled with Traveling Light ideas, Safety and Security Tips, and Packing for Business and Vacation hints.  The new edition this year is even better and more complete with up to date hints that were not in her previous editions.  An experienced travelers herself, Foster tells up to date ideas of products and clothing that is made for easy travel and she suggests specific items for each different kind of trip, itemizing just how many pieces you need and what they should be for camping, cruises, adventure travel, sports, resorts, and business. She has terrific ideas for packing for kids too. She offers suggestions for selecting luggage and for packing each piece. Her safety tips and product knowledge are worth the price of the book. She details worthwhile gadgets to purchase and items that serve as comfort en route. This book is a valuable tool for frequent travelers.  As a travel writer who used to be the world's worst packer, I am grateful for her book and thoroughly endorse it!       

Guide to the Canadian Rockies by Brenda Koller An Adventure Guide to The Canadian Rockies by Brenda Koller from Hunter Travel Guide:  Having been to the Canadian Rockies numerous times and thinking we had seen all the wonderful places before we discovered this book, we now must plan many more trips there to explore all the other incredible places described in detail in this Guide.  With numerous beautiful color photographs, most of which are by the author, this guide is a treasure because the scenery of the Canadian Rockies is some of the most spectacular in the world.   A unique feature of this guide book is that it includes hiking details for each of the areas described. Since we have hiked many of these areas, we know this is a necessary and vaulable tool for planning hikes. With each section Koller has Hikes, Drives, Sights, and Activities, so for nonhikers it is just as valuable, also giving information for booking guided tours.  The Canadian Rockies have so many wonderful places to discover and some are quite hidden unless you know where to look, as you will with this guide. Everything from camping to exclusive hotels and restaurants are catalogued also.     

Pocket Adventures' Costa RIca by Bruce and June ConordPocket Adventures' Costa Rica from Hunter Travel Guides by Bruce and June Conord:  Having gone to Costa Rica before having this book, we wished we had used this guide before we went the first time, and it makes us want to return soon!  Even though we had aleady experienced some of the places and activities we found described in this book, it gave us greater insights that we had missed in the visit. This enriched the trip we had already taken, which is most unusual for a travel guide.  The books outlines the twenty top spots in Costa RIca and has divisions by areas of the country. The first half of the book tells about the eating and culture of what to see in the capital city San Jose, and the second half gives specifics about the other sections of the country, telling what to see and do and where to stay and eat.  Whatever your specific interests and focus for your trip, you'll find where you need to make your reservations.  There are even discussions of cosmetic surgery and legal prostitution.  So whether you have already been to Costa RIca or plan to go or just want to learn about the Costa Rica, this book is a wonderful guide and worth buying.     

Select REgistrySelect Registry, Distinguished Inns of North America  is the travelers' selective perfect guide to plan a luxurious holiday at the most special places inns, hotels, and resorts. Divided into sections by  U.S.A. state and Canadian province, with a good map each, the book has beautiful photographs and descriptions of each of the properties. All the contact information and prices and amenities are clearly listed in a quick reference sidebar for each page.  You can trust that your peaceful vacation will be all you expect and more because each of these carefully selected places have been chosen as the best of the best, based on hospitality, comfort, authenticity, and uniqueness, distinguished because they are not part of the cluttererd and impersonal chains that have become all too prevalent.  A good guide to have at the fingertips for the discerning traveler.  

US VIRGIN ISLANDS ALIVE by Harriet & Douglas Greenberg   US VIRGIN ISLANDS ALIVE! by Harriet & Douglas Greenberg  is the Second Edition and also an excellent Hunter Guide Book.  After an introduction which includes such things as history, climate, food, and various ways to travel to the Virgin Islands, the book gives great detail about three specific Islands: St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.  With numerous color photographs of lovely scenic spots on each of these islands, the book serves as a wonderful memoir of your trip.  You'll also find information about the best beaches, sight seeing, and shopping in addition to the various places to stay and eat. There is a variety of contact information including phone numbers and website addresses for booking your trip.     

Speak French: The Fastest way to learn a language with  michel Thomas Speak French: The Fastest Way to Learn a Language With Michel Thomas         is a EXCELLENT way to learn a language. I have tried several different courses to learn French, but this one had me speaking hundreds of phrases and knowing a huge vocabulary within the first ten hours of listening...and without memorizing or books or writing or drills!  I am sold on this series as the best that exists to date.  Michel teaches from the perception that we who speak English already know a lot of French words that we don't know we know...only the pronunciation is different. Once you grasp the pronunciations tricks and the endings to apply to identify verbs, nouns and adjectives, you discover French is easy!  Great for car travel...turn your driver's seat into your classroom!  Many other languages are available by the same methods (McGraw Hill)         

Yak Butter Dreams by Brandon Wilson YAK BUTTER BLUES BY BRANDON WILSON  is the amazing account of the trek along the Pilgrim's Route from Lhasa to Kathmandu.  The author and his wife were the first Westerners to ever make this trip on foot, and their story of faith, frustration, fatigue, and near starvation is amazing.  Wilson's descriptions are vivid, and his style of writing is charmingly full of unusual similes and whimsical insights that make the book a true adventure for the reader also.  I suffered with him and his wife Cheryl as they trudged their appointed miles each day, resorting to only a liter of water between them each day and only an evening meal.  They were dripping with sweat at times and suffering frostbite at other times, sleeping in their little tent in below freezing weather with gale force winds, or on the dirt and straw floor of villagers' barns at other times. With limited knowledge of the Tibetan and Nepalese languages and Chinese communists strictly in charge and trying to stamp out the Buddhist beliefs and centers of culture, the Wilsons were keenly aware of the pricarious and often dangerous position they were in politically as well as physically.  They could have been arrested or sent back at any checkpoint, or even killed. With their Tibetan horse carrying their few possessions and keeping them company, they made the trip successfully but without baths for forty days, during which they lost nearly more than that number of pounds.  The story is compelling and fascinating reading...and a trip none of the readers will ever want to make!  A terrific travel adventure book!,

Consummate Connecticut: Day Trips With Panache by Stacy Lytwyn Maxwell CONSUMMATE CONNECTICUT: DAY TRIPS WITH PANACHE BY STACY LYTWYN MAXWELL Even reading this delightful book from far away (Texas ) made me want to pick up the phone and make reservations for a trip to Connecticut now! Stacy has a fresh personable way with words and entices you not only with beautiful descriptions of the sights, but also with t he aromas and the feel of the places she describes. Her extensive research into history and customs, festivals, and fun is a wealth of information, and her recommendaitons can be trusted because she has not received payment from any of t he businesses mentioned. For any resident of Connecticut, this book should always be in your car! For any visitor to the area, day trips or longer stays, the book should be your first consultant in planning your trip.        from             

DEAD MEN DON'T LEAVE TIPS by Brandon Wilson DEAD MEN DON'T LEAVE TIPS BY BRANDON WILSON is one of the most engaging travel books we have read. The author and his partner set out to live their dream of crossing Africa from top to tip, not as tourists but as travelers. The difference is that travelers experience the country almost as if they were natives living there, not in full service hotels and fancy restaurants. The author's adventure turned sour in many difficult ways because of the ineptness of the guides they had selected and the group with which they were placed to travel.  The couple's seven month honeymoon dream odyssey   10,000 miles across Africa from top          to          tip. After their "ship of fools" safari turns into a nightmare, they set off across Africa alone. However, being adventurers and seasoned travelers, they perservered through dust, mud, starvation, fever, sickness, being stranded in the desert, and many other situations that are horribly fascinating. We shuddered as they overcame each diffuculty. The trip took over seven months, and they came through it unbelievably in tact to tell their fascinating tales. A must read!        from     or here from the publisher

Key To Rome by Frederick and Vanessa Vreeland Key To Rome by Frederick and Vanessa Vreeland is one of the most beautiful travel books we have seen. It is a complete guide to this Eternal City written by residents of 25 years.... the Vreelands, one an American and one a British citizen, have been in the positions in Rome as Counselor at the U.S. Embassy, Director General of Aspen Institute Italy, and VP of John Cabot University in Rome.   Italy and decided to stay.  They loved Rome and decided to stay. They have divided the book into sections by historic periods: Ancient Rome, Christian Rome, Renaissance & Baroque Era, and Grand Tour & Shopping, telling their favorite places for each period and also describing many more.    The book contains maps, fees & times of opening for all the points of interest, history, and much more than just listing restaurants, hotels, transportation and points of interest, all of which they describe well.  The only problem with it is that some travelers tear pages out of their travel guide to take in their purse on various days to mark the route of each daily venture, and you will not want to do that with this one.  The book is far more than just a travel guide: it is also your Rome souvenir because the photographs and drawings in it make it a wonderful book to keep and display as a coffee table book so you can really share your trip with your friends after returning.      from             

THE MILEPOST 2006, 58th Editon THE MILEPOST 2006, 58th Editon If you are planning a trip to the North Country: Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, you simply cannot go without this amazing guide. It lists the food, gas, lodging, camping, fishing, road conditions, bridges, and ferries... all the way from major access routes in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.  In the remote, sparsely populated Northwest, Milepost is famous as the quintessential guide, the Bible of how to get there and how to handle any problems along the way. Experienced travelers since 1949 have known You gotta have this one! It is as valuable as the early settler's compass!        from     

Everything You Need to Know About RV Travel to Canada By Peggi and John McDonald is on the 'Net someplace, but it takes me a month to pull it all together. And as a Canadian with 21 years of Fulltime RV travel experience, I know what I am looking for. Now is time to let your fingers do the planning for your next trip north of the USA Border. The mega number of websites, phone numbers plus extensive general information in RV Travel to Canada simplifies your planning and adds piece of mind to an RV Adventure in the friendly country to the north . All this for only $12.95. Instant Download PDF file.. This E          Book answers all these questions plus soooo many more.
Here is a sample of all you can find in this E          book :
The Diverse Country to the North – Canada is in reality a world of Nations. A visit is like taking a worldwide tour. Festivals and celebrations from a bevy of nationalities add to the wonder of this expansive hospitable country. This E          Book highlights the majesty of CANADA as well as attractions in each PROVINCE and TERRITORY from east to west to north – ‘Sea to Sea to Sea’.
–"General Information What to expect when I arrive at the border? What food can I have on board? Do I need a passport? NEW technology that affects border crossings is also addressed along with much more.
More Tidbits of Info – All about money – How to convert US$ to Cdn$, Banking access, Credit and Debit card use. Understanding metric, gas/fuel pricing and where to find propane are also covered. What about Day          to          Day costs? Do I have to pay Federal tax?

What Can I Bring With Me?– If this is my home, can I transport homemade wine? How much alcohol, tobacco, gifts etc. can I have on board? What is the ruling on taking my beautiful plants across the border? Do I need a passport or a visas or an identity card? If I have kids and grandkids with me what paperwork do I need? Do you have a criminal record such as DWI (DUI)? Is my driver’s licence and insurance acceptable to drive in Canada? What about leaving cars and boats in Canada? Can I receive a refund for Federal or Provincial tax I paid?
Gun Control – I want to bring my hunting rifle with me, is this possible? I understand I can’t transport my on          board handgun; can I leave it at the border? What is the scoop on a gun licence?
Pet Travel  We travel with four          legged kids, what papers do they need? What shots should they have? Is their rabies shot good for one or three years? Do they have to spend time in quarantine? Can I take my pet bird or other exotic pets with me?
Toll Roads and Ferry Information – Does Canada have many toll roads? What are their costs and where are they located? What about ferries   how do I find prices and sailing times/dates? This section includes in          depth contact info plus websites and phone numbers.
Trivia and Planning Tips – What happens if I get sick or need medical attention? Do I need supplementary medical coverage? Does Canada have different traffic rules than the USA – especially for RV travel such as towing? Do I need a separate driver’s licence/insurance? How do I get mail? Can I use CB/cell phones in Canada? What is the cost and availability of pay phones?
General Recap of Travel to Canada –What’s NEW at the border? Are the roads single or multi lanes, paved or? What is the posted speed? Can I navigate large cities in my RV?
Everything you need to know about campgrounds – type, location, open times, amenities, hook          ups, reservations and much more. Are there ‘Free’ or ‘No          cost’ places to camp? What about public dump stations? What is the best time to visit? What type of climate can we expect?
Since Canada is a Mosaic of Nations what language is spoken? Is Canada a safe place to travel? Can I depend on WiFi connections? Are there any problems with phone and email services/contact? Can I connect to campground modems? I need a ZIP code to set up my satellite TV, how can I do that in Canada?
RV Regulations Several links for the provinces and territories
Valuable Websites   Cross Border Information   and Phone numbers
Provincial Websites and Phone Numbers
National Parks – Canada and USA
US Tourism Websites and Phone Numbers

Mileage Pro, Guide to Frequent Flyer Programs By Randy Petersen and Tim WinshipMileage Pro, Guide to Frequent Flyer Programs By Randy Petersen and Tim Winship could have been named the Bible of Frequent Flyer Programs. It tells you everything you could ever need to know about the ins and outs of getting the most from these programs. All the instructions are informative and easy to apply. You could save a lot by reading this book thoroughly and following the sound advice therein.        from             

Amores  AMORES by Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimento and Antonio Cerveira Pinto is a beautiful book of poetry, art, virtual architecture, and prose. It describes the enormously ambitious project which is beginning in Lisbon, Portugal  Images are by virtual architect, urbanplanner, composer & photographer Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimento, a Portuguese artist living in Switzerland. He has been selected to create a floating island city of the future in the Tagus River near Lisbon and extending to the Atlantic Ocean to be a petroleum free model for future cities. In Amores people, animals, and plants will flourish in an environment which can change forms like an amoeba as conditions require, and the floating city will use all the natural resources of water, wind, and sunlight.  This project, which works closely with the Great Estuary, a work already underway by the architect Carlos SantAna, addresses in concrete and virtual ways how to make a sustainable future for our world and projects this creation, the brainchild of Antonio Cerveira Pinto, to show the world at the 2020 Olympic Games in Lisbon.  The book gives hope to the future of our earth and world communities living in peace. An inspiring read and fantastic project!     .

Secrets of the SIlk Road by Larry AndersonSecrets of the SIlk Road by Larry Andrews is a fascinating book which details the travels of the author, an engineer invited to China to facilitate and guide the building of a water system.  En route he spends time wandering in the Gobi Desert with teachers of ancient Wisdom, as predicted by his own godmother in his youth.  He becomes the carrier of some of these secret and sacred teachings to instruct and inspire the West at a time when hope is most needed. The book makes you want to undertake a journey to this most remote and unmodernized part of the world. His "chance" meetings make you wonder if coincidences are really never coincidental.  The secret wisdom becomes a living entity as he gets to know the ancient teachers who are desert wanderers. The book is very enticing, well written, an intriguing and beguiling travel book, as well as enlightening. Highly recommended! I could hardly put it down!       .

Live Your Road Trip Dream by Phil and Carol White  LIVE YOUR ROAD TRIP DREAM BY PHIL AND CAROL WHITE is the encyclopedia of planning an extended road trip, whether in the United States or other countries. The authors, who had long dreamed of getting away from it all and exploring the US, made their dream happen after retirement in their mid          fifties.  In this well          written book they document their trip, partially as a travel log, but more helpfully, as a record of their extensive planning, budgeting, leaving home and relatives, purchases for the travels, itinerary planning and flexibility, and handling bot foreseen and unforseen events for a year on the road.  They give charts showing their planned and actual expenditures and suggestions for making a tighter budget work. They tell problems and solutions for leaving aging parents, young grandchildren, and grown children for this extended period. They have several suggestions for modes of travel and the pros and cons of each.  They opted for an over          sized van outfitted as a very small RV for camping about four nights a week and choosing budget motels for the other nights.  They have suggestions for time and energy management while on the extended vacation, with the reality that the body cannot take constant over          stimulation, no matter how much fun it is.  Having experienced many of the joys and problems the authors share in this book because of our extensive RV travels, we highly recommend this book for anyone planning a long trip of several months or more.  The authors have made the informative chapters applicable to any type of long and adventurous trip which takes people away from home for several months or more. Their tips will save you many dollars and many tears of frustration along the way. A terrific investment in your vacation!       .

RV LIVING IN THE 21ST CENTURY by Peggi and John McDonaldRV PACKING TIPS by Peggi and John McDonaldRV LIVING IN THE 21ST CENTURY by Peggi and John McDonald is an excellent publication and a MUST for ALL RVers            from those new to the RV lifestyle to seasoned RVers. The book is organized by chapters which guide you through buying an RV or camper to where to stay, how to pack, what to purchase for multiple uses, how to add storage and organize, and many many more tips.  The authors are well qualified for writing this and their other books listed below. They have spent years living in their RV six months in Canada and six months in the United States each year. You can order the print version or download the Ebook at o Order at 1          888          280          7715. They are also authors of 'SPIRIT OF THE OPEN ROAD and RV PACKING TIPS and RV LIFE LESSONS and EASY LIVING HINGS and RV TRAVEL TO CANADA E          BOOK.
Although we have been RV          ers for 30 years, we learned a lot from these EXCELLENT books. A very good investment for life on the road...whether for short or long stints. Highly recommended!

STENCIL GRAFFITI CAPITAL: MELBOURNE by Jake Smallman and Carl NymanSTENCIL GRAFFITI CAPITAL: MELBOURNE by Jake Smallman and Carl Nyman is a fascinating look at the street artists in this vast city which have been decorating abandoned and empty spaces with stenciled art for years. Often arrested, these determined artists returned to decorating the abandoned buildings with their art again and again; sometimes with angry statements, sometimes with simple beauty, always with a thought provoking message through stenciled art. However, after years of this abusive treatment the artists were persistent enough to get the city's attention. Now this year marked the second annual festival of Stencilled Street Art in Melbourne, with artists coming from all over the world to participate in decorating the city. The Stencil Graffitti in this book will be of interest especially to artists. A strangely fascinating book.     .

THE POWDER ROAD By Honora Burnett  is from Stellar Transmedia and is Reviewed by Taylor Mills With the flush of guidebooks, resort guides and instructional books on the market, it is hard to find one encapsulating the raw spirit of the skiing – until the arrival of The Powder Road. The premise of The Powder Road is four friends, two trucks and 10,000 miles. What it accomplishes is far more than a chronicle of a ski          style road trip but rather a documentation of the true dream of ski travel. Between these two covers, readers will find a story of a solid core of friends interacting with characters from Aspen to Anchorage, skiing unparallel terrain and overcoming seemingly insurmountable setbacks, in a tale that will leave no adventure traveler wanting.
With rumors of a big winter in Alaska, four friends from Oregon, Sweden, California and Colorado converged in Boulder in the winter of 2003 to begin an epic cross          country adventure. The caravan moved northward from Colorado, stopped in classic ski towns of Aspen and Jackson Hole before crossing the American/Canadian border and into the ranges of British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska.
The Powder Road project is a breath of fresh air for the oft          stale ski lit of today. It breaks new ground by marrying the physical book with an episodic website or "webumentary.” The website consists of interactive maps, photo galleries, trip member profiles and video episodes. Each week, through November 22nd, a new video segment is released online that chronicles the trip and complements the book’s narrative.
For all those skiers disheartened with watered          down instructional books, take heart. The Powder Road’s descriptive text and sharp photos capture sking’s most core elements; it is a project about skiing, but also travel on the open road. The journey and lifestyle captured in the book and website are set to the theme of a passionate search for the best skiing on earth. This search is something that every skier can relate to, and the passion for finding that untouched expanse is something every adventurer can connect with.

Plan Your Walt Disney World Vacation Now
by Doug IngersallPlan Your Walt Disney World Vacation In No Time by Doug Ingersoll is a book I wish we had had before we spent a week at Disney World and came away wishing we had done this or skipped that to make the most of our wonderful vacation. This book is well laid          out to walk you through three stages: Part 1 gives advice on how to plan getting there and where to stay. Giving basic vacation planning strategies such as how to budget realistically, where to search on the Internet, which exits to take from highways, how to rent a car, etc., this is NOT an advertisement for specific properties or businesses but names each with the price range and outlines amenities, transportation, etc. The same is listed for restaurants in the area.  This section alone will save you lots of money and exhaustion and frustration once you arrive at your dream destination. In the second section you will find each area of Disny World mapped,and a basic description of each ride or performance. There are some MUST SEE notes and for each place there is a rating of 1   5 for each age group from pre          schoolers to seniors. At the back of the book are trip cards so you can make notes of which attractions to do and which to skip, placing these cards in your wallet for on          site use. There is a section to help you plan what to do after dark and the final section is devoted to other attractions in the area outside Disney World. Using this book before you go will assure you make the very most of your money, time, and energy on this trip of a family dream.       

Consummate Connecticut: Day Trips with Panache
 by Stacy Lytwyn Maxwell features 350 pages of the most up          to          date information on popular as well as out          of          the          way and surprising attractions and adventure that 48 Connecticut cities, towns & villages provide for the traveler, whether lifelong resident, newcomer, armchair spectator or tourist seeking a custom          designed, mini          vacation; as well as teacher in need of a field trip.  The book's enthusiasm for the places visited is indicated in its chapter names.  For instance, “Slice          of          Peach Pie:  Brooklyn”; “Rising Starfish of the Seas:  New London”; “What          ta          Wonderful: Waterbury.”  Like no other guidebook, the text is packed with local color; treasured regional quirks and customs.  Describing Washington, CT alone:  On an occasional summer evening, Bryan Memorial Town Hall, mid          way between Washington and Washington Depot, hosts free concerts on the lawn where local celebrity, Papa Joe sells his famous hot dogs off his cart.       

Pursuing A Dream by James R. NelonPursuing A Dream " A Wandering Executive's Journeys Into Indonesia" By James R. Nelon: For the curious armchair traveler who likes to encounter strange cultures that are far removed from the norm of our standard Western Culture, James R. Nelon's "Pursuing A Dream" is a good read. Nelon, who took off a year from the corporate rat race of the business and computer world, gives us a book of detailed descriptions and intimate photography of village life in remote areas of Indonesia. Nelon does a wonderful job of letting the reader see through his descriptions and photos just how different life can be on this planet. From his presence at a festival and burial ceremony in the village of Rantepao, Tana Toraja, to observing the life around Lake Tempe in Sulawesi, to a trip to the mystic Seram Island, to life in a longhouse in West Kalimantan, Nelon emerses the reader in the lives of Indonesians that are far removed from the lifestyles of  today's tourists. His photos of the people are particularly striking and give a face to the culture being described. As a reader, I found myself wishing each picture had been placed in the book beside the descriptive paragraphs; however, today's publishing costs may have forced the photos to their placement in two groups of numbered pictures. Nelon's description is excellent but the reader will find some lack of transition between events or places, as the book is more journalizing than well connected narration. Readers will also want a map of Indonesia and Asia while reading if they are not familiar with that part of the world. Also, I was confused by the insertion of the narrations of the death of his dog Barclay, his approach and relationship to his religious background, and his grandmother. All of these were well written pieces but I couldn't follow their connection to the Indonesian experience. But all in all the book is a valuable look into a faraway culture that seems not of our times.

  Paris Underground Paris Underground By Caroline Archer with photos by Alexandre Parre is a book I wish had been published before my most recent trip to Paris, France.  Little known to the average citizen of or visitor to Paris, the city was built over the quarries from which stone for the buildings was cut. As the city grew, so did the caverns beneath it until on one fateful day during the reign of King Louis XVI  on Dec. 17, 1774, an entire street (near today's Place Denfert          Rochereau )collapsed into the abyss.  The King's council to investigate was formed and the finding were so alarming that within three years architects and inspectors set about building reinforcements in the form of inspection galleries, which ultimately (by the mid 1930's) resulted in 177 miles of underground tunnels within these quarries to make the city safe. Although entering these underground passages is forbidden except with express permission, for three centuries artists, musicians, writers, performers, and curious, daring cataphyles have found the lure into the depths irresistable and have made their way through clandestined passages. Through the centuries, because everyone needed to mark his or her way in order not to be lost, and because the bare walls beckoned to be decorated, the passages and quarries became an underground, daring art gallery.  This book incorporates a remarkable attempt to catalogue the surreptitious art found beneath one of Europe's most thriving cities of the arts.  The historic events, since the earliest graffiti in 1671, have been charted or commemorated, pictured, or commented upon, with drawings, writings, paintings, sculpture, and music created within the labyrinth. While most is primitive art "just for the fun of it," some is quite skilled and reveals great talent. For three centuries the underground has been the location for secret love affairs, hiding criminals, storing beer and champagne, and many other illegal activities, while also providing the stone canvas and dark inspiration for hundreds of artists and performers of all kinds. You'll want to read and study the photographs in this fascinating book.

A YEAR OF SUNDAYS by Edward G. Webster is a must read for not only those who are planning to strike out on an extended stay in a foreign country but also for those who have imagined striking out on their own but never really thought it could be a possibility. Ed relates his year long journey through Europe with his wife Marguerite and cat Felicia from Paris to the Netherlands, Brittany, Austria, Italy, Greece, and Spain in a most informative and entertaining way. The reader quickly finds the Webster's adventure to have several uncommon aspects: traveling with a pet in Europe, staying within a budget of $100 per day on lodging, food and entertainment for the whole year abroad, and, most important, the fact that Marguerite is blind. Marguerite's blindness adds a dimension to the book that you will not find in any other book on travel. The interaction between Marguerite, Ed, and Felicia to communicate what they experience in each their own way makes the reader aware of new ways to grasp the essence of travel through senses and feelings not often used by the average traveler. This all seems to heighten and expand aspects of the places visited and create a new awareness of other ways to experience life in another country or culture. Just as Ed describes how he closes his eyes during a concert at Notre Dame Cathedral so that he does not just see and hear the concert in a beautiful cathedral but feels as Marguerite feels the sound fill the cathedral and echo off the stone pillars, bringing the building to life and filling the evening "with so much more than just sound." The senses of sound, smell, touch, taste become additives to the travel adventure, and the traveler who relies mainly on what they are seeing is more handicapped in grasping the essence of the place than Marguerite without her sight. The book also gives the reader descriptions of out of the way places that have unique character in their surroundings, food, and citizens. The reader can not help wanting to taste the delicious pannenkoekens (pancakes) of Holland after Ed's narration or walk along the cliffs of Brittany experiencing the smells and sounds of the ocean clashing with the land or taste the wine, bread, cheese, olives, and lasagna served up by the owner of a little grocery in Costafabbri, Italy. But the book also gives a realistic look at the downside of traveling for a long time on one's own in a foreign country. The book relates those periods where loneliness sets in because of not speaking the language and longing for contact with family and friends as well as not knowing what lies ahead when they move to another country. The reader can not help but realize the importance of having people and animals by your side that you love at times like this. I found I could not help but be pulled along vicariously with the Webster's year of Sundays throughout Europe. The couple's love for each other, Felicia their cat, world culture, and life comes through loud and clear. Though Ed is the writer, the essence of this book is enhanced by the Marguerite's insights and feelings. Telling themselves that they were right to seize the day and take off on the year long trip, Ed and Marguerite toast Ed's dad saying, "If he hadn't died young, I might not have been smart enough to take the year off in the first place", and then ending with "And to celebrating life!", which is what their book is all about.
Sowerby's Road by Garry Sowerby  SOWERBY'S ROAD by Garry Sowerby. What a fun book about many fun and grueling road trips.  Garry Sowerby is in the Guiness Book of World Records for the record time of driving around the world, and for his other amazing road trips. Since the 1970's he has been making these trips and this book chronicles many of his adventures, the people he meets, and the sometimes bizarre situations and places he gets himself into and out of!  It's a fun read, especially if you like to spend time on the road, as we do. The book is not in day by day order, but is better and more interesting for skipping around through the decades and around the world as he remembers various adventures. You'll enjoy the book and only wish, as I did, that the photos were fewer of his vehicle and more of the sights. Really a fun read!
Images of America: Belton, SC, by Alison Ashley DarbyIMAGES OF AMERICA: BELTON, SC By Alison Ashley Darby is part of a fascinating series which documents the history of towns throughout the country. Belton, SC, is a small, rural town. This excellent visual history was collected and written by a local historian whose skills at unearthing interesting details make it a very enjoyable read , especially for local residents and visitors and even for those who have never heard of Belton!  For today's readers it is difficult to imagine the influence of a train station on the development of a town. This book helps us appreciate how the rail had an enormous impact on the growth of towns in the last century.  The book has hundreds of photos of "then and now," collected from citizens, town records and newspapers, and many sources the author discovered in her quest for this delightful little piece of Americana. A good read to learn about yesteryear in rural America. A perfect gift for any visitor or resident of the area.  

Wildly AustinVolume I  Wildly Austin: Austin's Landmark Art  by Vikki Loving with photography by Gregg Cestaro is a delightful collection of photos and descriptions and some history behind the funky visual landmarks around the city which have been fondly observed through generations.  Anyone with roots in the city or who attended University of Texas will want this delightful conversation piece/memorabelia book. It is the first of what promises to be a terrific series by Loving and Cestaro who lived in Austin but pursued careers in other places and then returned to re          look at the city they love with new awareness.  You will too!     .

Honey, Let's Get a Boat“Honey, Let's Get a Boat”
 by Ron and Eva Stob

Here is a must read for not only boating enthusiasts but all those who ever imagined themselves pulling up stakes and setting out on a year or more adventure of travel.  Ron and Eva Stob do a wonderful job of recounting their year          long journey on a forty          foot trawler, which began in Florida and circled up along the intercoastal waterway to New York and then up the Hudson River to Lakes George and Champlain to the Saint Lawrence River in Canada and on to the Great Lakes and Chicago and then down the river systems to the Gulf of Mexico and back to Florida.  This route, known as “America's Great Loop,” took them through waterways, locks, scenery, history, and cultures as varied as one could find anywhere.  

Even though the book is written in the first person by Ron as the narrator, I can assure you, on the basis of having had the good fortune of meeting this delightful couple, Eva had a big part in helping relate the experiences encountered throughout their year of traveling these waterways. The book is a great read from start to finish and includes an appendix, which is a guidebook to anyone contemplating a similar venture. From the interesting and humorous aspects of just how this couple took the leap of quitting their jobs and finding and purchasing the trawler to their final encounter with the tropical storm Gordon,( becoming Hurricane Gordon,) as they returned to Florida after their year of cruising, the reader will be fascinated by vivid descriptions of places and cultures, as well as the difficulties and near disasters.  Ron's “tongue in cheek” satire and humor and his honest self          criticism enhance the imagery of the book and bring alive the characters and places.

The book relates as much about the history and culture of the places visited along the way as it does the process of navigating the waterways.  Even though I had been to a number of places mentioned, I was not aware of all the history and cultural aspects the narrator reveals.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in travel, by whatever means, as it is just the thing for the intellectually curious.

This book is published by Raven Cove Publishing of Greenback, Tennessee, and can be ordered at Raven Cove Publishing; P.O. Box 168, Greenback, TN 37742          0168 or phone 865/856          7888.  The book is also available through        Books on the Internet. And the authors are available for speaking engagements.

Reviewed by: Bill Neely

Heart & Soul     Heart and Soul of the Train by Mauris Emeka is a delightful little book for train lovers. In it Mauris tells many tales of his adventures and his everyday experiences in his decades as a train attendant dealing with the public and loving his job.  He describes many rides across the United States.  He has authored another excellent book telling how almost anyone who can observe a careful diet can prevent or cure cancer.  These cures have been know since the early 1900's but are not money          makers for the businesses who are supported by cancer.  Everyone should read Fear Cancer No More.  Order these two self          published books directly from the author by          ing here.

 The Single Parent Travel Handbook by Brenda Elwell   The Single Parent Travel Handbook by Brenda Elwell is the only book available on the subject.  Ms. Elwell is the managing editor of the Single Parent Travel Network, a Website and Newsletter.  She is a veteran of over thirty years in the travel industry, having traveled independently to more than sixty countries, half of them with her two kids in tow.  She has the travel experience to write first          hand the advice and how          to all single parents need to compensate for the lack of consideration of the travel industry as a whole for the needs of single parents.  Also an experienced writer who is witty and down          to          earth in her approach, the author brings all the best combination to this book.  Parents Without Partners said it is  "A 'must          read' for anyone who wants to make family memories to last a lifetime! Whether a single parent, 2          parent family, grandparent, family reunion trip, or a person traveling along, this book is a great research tool for the novice or experienced traveler, with practical tips that really work and suggestions that you know had to come from personal experience. The stories and articles range from entertaining to downright hilarious. Read this book even if you can't afford to travel          it makes you feel as if you are there!"  

The New Honeymoon Planner by Sharon Naylor  The New Honeymoon Planner by Sharon Naylor is perhaps the most thorough and helpful general travel guidebooks I have ever discovered. It is perfect for the groom or couple planning a honeymoon, whether a luxury trip or on a tight budget.  However, it is NOT just for honeymooners!  It has excellent trip planning tips for EVERY kind of trip, and you will save many, many times over the price of the book ($16.95 US) in the first trip Sharon's tips help you plan. She has covered every kind of travel, both domestic and foreign and every kind of trip from luxury cruises to back          packing in the jungles.  And she directs you to a wealth of internet sites that will answer any problem you could ever encounter on a trip or supply any need for the travels. THIS BOOK SHOULD BELONG TO EVERYONE WHO PLANS ANY KIND OF TRIP TO ANYWHERE!  

Nelle's Guide/ SwedenNelles Guide/Sweden by Gerhard Lemmer, Birgit Kramer, and Otto Steiger  not only gives the reader and traveler great information about the country but also is beautifully done with numerous exquisite photographs of all  regions of the country. The layout of the book is very user friendly from its captivating narration of the history and culture of Sweden to it's well organized information on 9 travel areas throughout the country as well as detailed discription and advice on the best way to get around and see all of the metropolis of Stockholm. Throughout each section on the various regions to be explored, excellent maps correlate places and points of scenic interest through numbering in the narrative that corresponds to numbers found on the maps of the region. This along with giving specific distances between places and time needed in travel gives the reader a great orientation. At the end of each section about a particular region the authors have added a helpful cataloging of hotels, restaurants, hostles, nightclubs, and significant points of interest by town or specific area with telephone numbers, dates open, and price range. By coming at the end of each section this information does not break up the flow of the narrative and detract from the enchantment of the area to be explored.

The photography coupled with the narration made this one of the most enticing travel books I have read. I felt lured to Sweden and found myself facinated by the discriptions of what one would see and experience traveling through the countryside. The authors did a wonderful job of bringing in the main historical dates and happenings when describing a town or area without losing sight of the scenic interests. I found other travel books on Sweden did not give me a feeling for the country as this Nelles Guide did. Although some books like Frommer's Sweden gave more overall information, they lacked the wonderful pictures and narrative that bring out the character of the country. My desire to visit Sweden was greatly increased from reading Nelles Guide of the country; whereas, the other travel books on Sweden left me with no feeling for how Sweden might differ from any other European country. I would greatly recommend Nelles Guide to Sweden to those wishing to visit the country as well as anyone that would like to know what the country of Sweden is like.
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