"The California Highway 1 Book" by Rick Adams and Louise McCorkle depicts America's most romantic road. The photos, sketches, sequence maps and text view the highway's past and present. From the Mexican to the Oregon border it guides you through groves, atop high cliffs, through giant redwoods and alongside crashing waves. Travelers or armchair explorers will find it enlightening, comprehensive and exhilarating (Ballentine Books: $17.95).
"Around World--Then and Now" is a good presentation of various old and new graphics. It demonstrates the dramatic change or lack of change of centuries past. The text is limited to explanatory captions interrupted occasionally with a few snapshot-quality photos of the author standing in front of some edifice. If you're a then-and-now buff, you may send $20 to Howard Gregory, 640 The Village, Suite 209, Redondo Beach, Calif. 90266.
"North-East Asia on a Shoestring" combines the efforts of several authors who individually cover China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau and Taiwan. The maps and text for each area are brief but informative. The low-budget traveler should find the guide above average for planning (Lonely Planet: $7.95).
For an inside look at the cruise ships that carry millions of passengers wanting to pursue a languid life, try "Liners to the Sun" by John Maxtone-Graham. It offers a worthwhile, perceptive, authentic revelation including the mystique of shipboard travel. The book is certain to please those who have been or are planning to go on a cruise (MacMillan: $29.95).
Tourist or student interested in the works of one of the most influential Western architects of the 1500s will enjoy "The Palladio Guide" by Caroline Constant. This invaluable reference guide annotates and illustrates every constructed building of Andrea Palladio. There are 250 photographs and original drawings presented chronologically and alphabetically. The in-depth text includes historical sidelights, maps, addresses, hours open etc. (Princeton Architectural Press: $17). Or phone (800) 334-0854, ext. 823.
Step back in time with Fodor's "1936--On the Continent" edited by Eugene Fodor. As a facsimile of their guide published 50 years ago, it's a fun way to compare then to what you may possibly see now.
Political cartoonist Anthony Jenkins has put down his observations and illustrations in "Traveler's Tales." It's a humorous pictorial of his journeys through Australia, Asia, and Africa. It's a delightful compendium of the people, not places, an earthy and fun perception of those parts of the world (Lonely Planet: $8.95).
"Turkey--a Travel Survival Kit" by Tom Brosnahan has details including vignettes of the people, exotic history and culture. There are sufficient maps and photos to pique the interest. The do's and don't's and how-to are above average (Lonely Planet: $8.95).
High drama, heart and quick fortune are rediscovered in "California Ghost Town Trails" by Mickey Froman and Russ Leadabrand. It describes the towns, settlements and mining camps fevered with possible wealth and challenge. The book is an adventure in time from 1849 to 1859, complete with maps and photos (Gem Guides: $5.95). Or send check or money order plus $1 for handling to Gem Guides, 3677 San Gabriel River Parkway, Pico Rivera, Calif. 90660.
A good example of a well-detailed and worthwhile guide is the latest (1986) edition of "The South American Handbook." It is vast with extraordinary information (Rand McNally: $25.95).
James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer.