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Paging Through the Book Stalls

February 09, 1986|DON JAMES | James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer.

"Florida for Free" by Stephen Birnbaum demonstrates imaginative flair for presenting a guide in excellent detail. It's not a monotonous compilation of facts, but rather an above-average text splashed with various sizes of typography and sketches. For only $5.95 you can find many ways to enjoy the state for little cash outlay (Houghton Mifflin).

For 1986-87, Frommer demonstrates "how your money can buy you twice as much" in "How to Do It for Either $30 to $40 a Day" for "Washington, D.C., and Historic Virginia" ($10.95) by Rena Bulkin, "Israel" ($10.95) by Tom Brosnahan, and "Scotland and Wales" ($10.95) by Darwin Porter. For extra savings, try the "Dollarwise Guides" to "The Southeast and New Orleans" ($11.95) by Susan Poole, and "To The Caribbean" ($12.95) by Darwin Porter. How to pinch a penny is well explained in another Frommer book, "A Shoppers Guide to Best Buys in England, Scotland and Wales" ($10.95) by Vicki and Dick Johns.

Fielding's "The Traveler's Photography Handbook" by Julian Calder and John Garrett should help catch the best moments of a vacation. Almost any challenge, cameras, filters, film, climate, et al, is presented with beautiful color photos and explanations (William Morrow: $14.95).

"The Tennessee Sampler" by Peter Jenkins is a delightful down-to-earth expression in text and photos of the Volunteer State. Its music, Civil War sites and historic homes are intermingled with selections of stories and sayings. It includes information on where to stay and eat plus many fun-time events and sports. (Thomas Nelson: $12.95).

Before you get there, pick up a copy of "This is Tucson--A Guidebook to the Old Pueblo" by Peggy Hamilton Lockhard. Resident or visitor will find the information worthwhile (Pepper Publishing: $8.95).

Upon arrival anywhere, the first question is usually: Where's to eat? If you're in Seattle, the city named after an Indian chief, a copy of "Seattleats" by Carol Brown and Scott Glascock will guide you to 129 inexpensive restaurants. Each is described as to richness of ethnic diversity, culinary creativity and edible fun, complete with details (Sasquatch: $6.95).

"Blue Guides" are above average. Their "Literary Britain and Ireland" by Ian Ousby is no exception. It's an informational collection of 180 renowned poets, novelists, literary houses, landscapes and cities. The text, maps, photos and sketches should please the serious traveler (W. W. Norton: $14.95).

Judy Kennedy and Judi Strada have put together the multi-fun resources of where and how to enjoy "The Best of San Diego." It has more than 450 listings in alphabetical order that do not include maps or photos. Vacationers will find the $6.95 tab inexpensive for the data it contains (Metropolitan Press, Del Mar, Calif.).

Anyone into tent or RV camping amid beautiful scenery, special trails or wilderness will enjoy "California State Parks Guide" by Carol Carpenter. It's a large-size compendium of 250 parks with 150 maps, 125 photos and lots of information that includes historic data, facilities and reservation details (Olympus: $12.95).

It's a six-foot fold-out map of the cruise routes from Puget Sound to Glacier Bay. You can get it for $8.95 on board ship or at bookstores by asking for "Alaska & Canada's Inside Passage." It shows the ports of call and city maps including points of interest, culture and history. For $1 more, order direct from Coastal Cruise Tour Guides, 158 Thomas St., Suite 11-NE, Seattle, Wash. 98109.

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