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June 02, 1985|SHARON DIRLAM

ISLANDS by Bill Robinson (Dodd, Mead: $22.95). The editor-at-large of Yachting magazine has compiled a wish list of island destinations, from the Great Lakes to Greece, from the South Pacific to the north of Europe. For anecdotes and vignettes, good-natured tourism and a sense of faraway places, the book is a pleasant diversion. There are also a few fine photographs. Robinson has visited hundreds of islands; his personal commentary seems far more vivid than the passages on culture and history. While 228 pages can't provide much more than a fleeting glance at a variety of places, it was startling to find that the chapter called "The Pacific Coast" omitted all mention of the islands in the Santa Barbara Channel. Robinson admits to thinking that Santa Catalina Island itself was a myth until he saw it with his own eyes. It is not the author's research but his descriptive powers that impress.

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